Australia's Chief Scientist

Commonwealth Science Council

The Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Minister for Industry, Science and Technology, the Hon Karen Andrews MP, announced the new National Science and Technology Council (NSTC) on 28 November 2018. The NSTC will assume and advance the role of the former Commonwealth Science Council as the preeminent forum for advice to government on scientific and technological developments affecting Australians.

Sep 2016 Commonwealth Science Council meeting

The Commonwealth Science Council provided strategic advice to government on science and technology issues and building stronger collaboration between scientists, researchers and industry.

The Council was Chaired by the Prime Minister, with the Minister for Industry, Science and Technology as Deputy Chair.
Australia’s Chief Scientist, Alan Finkel, was the Executive Officer.

Commonwealth Science Council

Ministerial Members:

  • The Prime Minister (Chair)
  • The Minister for Industry, Science and Technology (Deputy Chair)
  • The Minister for Education and Training
  • The Minister for Health

Executive Officer:

  • Dr Alan Finkel AO, Chief Scientist for Australia

Non-Government Members:

  • Mr Ken Boal, Vice President, Cisco Australia and New Zealand
  • Mr Michael Chaney AO, Chairman, Wesfarmers Limited and Woodside Petroleum Limited
  • Professor Timothy Davis, Head of Unit, School of Medicine and Pharmacology, Fremantle Hospital Unit, University of Western Australia
  • Dr Jackie Fairley, CEO, Starpharma
  • Professor Ian Frazer AC, CEO and Director of Research, Translational Research Institute, University of Queensland
  • Professor Nalini Joshi, Mathematician, School of Mathematics and Statistics, University of Sydney
  • Mr David Knox, CSIRO Board Member
  • Ms Catherine Livingstone AO, Chancellor, University of Technology Sydney
  • Professor Tanya Monro, Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research and Innovation), University of South Australia
  • Professor Brian Schmidt AC, Vice Chancellor, Australian National University

Commonwealth Science Council Communiques:

To access the full Commonwealth Science Council Communique archive, click here.
Alternatively, direct links to each communique are listed below.

Commonwealth Science Council: Fifth meeting communique

This meeting discussed potential directions for Defence engagement with the Australian Innovation, Science and Research system, the upcoming Australian Council of Learned Academies Horizon Scanning reports, and the progress of the Innovation and Science Australia 2030 Strategic Plan. Members were updated on the progress of the STEM Partnerships Forum, and  presented with a proposal for a three year pilot of an Australian science policy fellowship program. 

Commonwealth Science Council: Fourth meeting communique

This meeting discussed the need for a National Science Statement, Australia’s STEM workforce, a need for STEM-specific teacher development programs, the progress of the National Research Infrastructure Roadmap, and the need to identify emerging trends in science and technology.

Commonwealth Science Council: Third meeting communique

This meeting discussed a range of measures relating to the National Innovation and Science Agenda, as well as the outcomes of the Chief Scientist’s Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics: Australia’s Future report. The Prime Minister thanked outgoing Chief Scientists Professor Ian Chubb AC for his service.

Commonwealth Science Council: Second meeting communique

This meeting discussed government STEM policy, and the government’s science and research priorities. Members were updated on the progress of the Industry Innovation and Competitiveness Agenda, ATSE research engagement metrics, the Review of the Australian Curriculum, and work on Commonwealth competitive research funding programmes. Members also discussed the Cooperative Research Centres Program and the research infrastructure review.

Commonwealth Science Council: First meeting communique

This meeting agreed to Terms of Reference for the Council and the new National Science, Technology and Research Committee. It noted two reports from the Office of the Chief Scientist, and discussed the Government’s Industry Innovation and Competitiveness Agenda, Boosting Returns from Research discussion paper, and the Medical Research Future Fund.