Chief Scientist meets new Australian Science Policy Fellows

Thursday, 06 July 2023
Australia's Chief Scientist, Dr Cathy Foley, standing with nine Australian Science Policy Fellows, either side of a screen with a further seven Fellows displayed.
Australia's Chief Scientist, Dr Cathy Foley, with the 2023–24 Australian Science Policy Fellows.Standing left of screen: Dr Michele Fullarton, Dr Matthew Hewnry, Dr Monica Espinosa Gomez, Dr Pegah Maasoumi and Dr Cathy Foley (left to right).
Shown on screen: Dr Kun Zhang (top); Dr Jibriil Ibrahim, Dr Jason Wells, Dr Margaret Boettcher, Dr Donna Savigni and Dr Louis Gbayan (left to right).
Standing right of screen: Dr Penelope Hill, Dr Elizabeth Stout, Dr Sundara Mawalagedera and Dr Jenny Fisher (left to right).

Australia’s Chief Scientist, Dr Cathy Foley, has welcomed the latest cohort of Australian Science Policy Fellows at an event in Canberra to mark the start of their fellowships.

The Australian Science Policy Fellowship Program is an initiative of the Chief Scientist that provides early to mid-career scientists with the opportunity to work as policy officers, for a period of up to 12 months, within the Australian Public Service (APS).

The Fellowship aims to grow the diversity of expertise in the APS workforce and provides a pathway for scientists with a PhD to become skilled policy practitioners. Many Fellows remain within the APS beyond their fellowship; those who return to academia do so with a practical understanding of government processes and policy making.

Dr Foley met with many of the 18 new Fellows whose scientific backgrounds span the disciplines of bioengineering, physics, public health, biochemistry and genetics, chemical engineering, geophysics, biology, chemistry, nanobiotechnology, earth and planetary sciences, organic chemistry, physiology, materials science and engineering, pharmaceutical services, synthetic organic chemistry and petroleum engineering.

Dr Monica Espinosa Gomez is one of the new Fellows, placed with the Office of the Chief Scientist. She studied biotechnology at the University of Queensland and did her PhD in metabolic engineering and synthetic biology at Macquarie University.

“I have always been interested in the role of science in the policymaking process and I’m excited to be able to work as a scientist on biotechnology policy as well as Australia’s upcoming STEM Career Pathways Report”, Dr Espinosa Gomez said.

The new Fellows are hosted by the: Department of Health and Aged Care; Attorney-General’s Department; Department of Industry, Science and Resources; Office of the Chief Scientist; Australian Research Council; Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Communications; Services Australia; Defence Science and Technology Group within Defence; Department of Climate Change, Energy, the Environment and Water; and the departments of Education, Finance, and Home Affairs.

During the Fellows’ induction, Dr Foley explained the three parts to her role as Australia’s Chief Scientist: providing evidence-based scientific advice to government, championing Australian science and research, and improving the efficiency and effectiveness of Australia’s research sector.

“Australia does amazing science”, Dr Foley said. “And the Australian scientific community is so willing to step up and give advice.”

Dr Foley said science was important across government and urged the new Fellows to use their strong analytical skills, research and networks calling on them to “always look for the evidence”.

Learn more about the Australian Science Policy Fellowship Program.

Last updated: Friday, 07 July 2023