STATEMENT: Time to back our potential

Dr Alan Finkel has released a statement on his commencement as Australia’s Chief Scientist.

The statement can be read below, or downloaded as a pdf.

Time to back our potential

As an engineer you approach the world with a particular mindset. Problems are there to be solved and every challenge is an opportunity.

I believe our future can be better than the present; human history is testament to that. I welcome an age in which entrepreneurship flourishes, educational opportunities expand, and nations collaborate scientifically to drive progress.

Some would describe me as a techno-optimist, and it is true that I have every confidence in the ambition and ability of Australians.

As Australia’s eighth Chief Scientist, I want to tell Australia’s great success stories. I have witnessed many firsthand, as a researcher, entrepreneur and advocate. I hope to uncover and help inspire many more.

I want to put important topics on the table, such as sustainable energy use, to help Australians understand and weigh up the options. We will count the benefits of innovation in prosperity shared, jobs created, lives saved and opportunities uncovered; but only if we pursue a new conversation.

I also look forward to the new responsibilities that the National Innovation and Science Agenda brings to the role of Chief Scientist, including chairing the expert group to map long-term research infrastructure needs; contributing to the review of the Research and Development Tax Incentive programme; and serving as Deputy Chair of Science and Innovation Australia as it develops its critical 10 to 15 year plan.

Professor Ian Chubb was a trailblazer and leaves behind a great legacy. In taking the baton, I recognise that we have to be resilient, to keep going when we stumble. To start up, and then to scale up. To back our potential today, and to build new potential through education for tomorrow.

It’s a mission as important and as challenging as it’s ever been. I’m proud to have this chance to take it on.

Dr Alan Finkel AO

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