Dr Jyah Strachan, 2021–22

Jyah Strachan

Dr Jyah Strachan

Jyah is a materials chemist and who is interested in the intersection of chemistry, energy, and sustainability. His PhD was devoted to researching cheap and renewable catalysts to produce hydrogen from water with the goal to replace the costly platinum-based materials that are currently used. He comes to the fellowship fresh from postdoctoral research and teaching roles and is excited by the opportunity to contribute his scientific perspective to the public service.

What were you researching before you started as a Science Policy Fellow?

I trained as a materials chemist and am interested in the intersection of chemistry, energy, and sustainability. I completed my PhD on catalytic molybdenum sulfides at the University of Sydney. Between my PhD and the fellowship, I was a postdoctoral researcher investigating materials that can split water using sunlight.

How has your research background helped you contribute to policy development?
In both research and policy, the ability to find and absorb new information quickly and thoroughly is crucial. My years spent keeping up with a large body of research literature have helped me quickly get up to speed during these first 6 weeks and begin to identify policy gaps and solutions with my team.

How has the program changed your career aspirations?

The program has opened my eyes to the range of possible career paths available to chemists and researchers, not just in the public service, but also in the industries of our stakeholders. I’m really enjoying my time in the Department of Industry; there is a tangible sense of impact in the work and I am enjoying the challenge of a new environment. I will definitely be looking to stay on after the program!

What is your favourite part about working in a policy role in the Australian Public Service?

I’m part of a fantastic team of brilliant people and have been enjoying working with and learning from them. I have found the learning about the policy process and machinery of government fascinating. I’ve been relishing the opportunity to sneak a peek behind the curtains and have a new appreciation for how collaborative and rigorous the process is.