Dr Nina Prince, 2022–23

Nina Prince

Dr Nina Prince

A geneticist by training, Nina is an accomplished scientist with more than 10 years of experience in molecular diagnostics, biomedical translational research and regenerative medicine. Nina holds a PhD in translational medicine and has a passion for advancing scientific research through evidence-based science policy. She is looking forward to contributing to the new research commercialisation initiative of the Australian Government.

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

My clinical work was in the stem cell field and contributed to novel cell therapy development through translational medical research in oncology and haematology. It also improved existing life-saving therapies and clinical outcomes for patients undergoing chemotherapy. Previously, I worked in academia and private industry. My laboratory provided genetic testing for diagnostics, molecular genotyping and we trained undergraduate and postgraduate students.

How has your research background helped you contribute to policy development?

The transferrable skills I developed around communicating clearly and succinctly, critical thinking, data analysis and evaluation, improving practices, project management and versatility across diverse, complex areas have all been very helpful. Further to that, having a fresh perspective on things and demonstrating strategic oversight, having attention to detail and being able to work well in a large, complex organisation are other research skills appreciated in the APS. While my knowledge of the higher education policy work was limited before joining the Department of Education as part of my Fellowship, I have been able to draw a lot from my research experience and to fully appreciate the complexities of the sector. 

How has the program changed your career aspirations?

It has given me first-hand experience in science policy and the process of public policy making. There are complex problems to be solved, strategies to be developed. Additionally, the Fellowship program is helping us build up our networks around the APS which is incredibly useful for mentoring and future career prospects. The Fellowship experience is broadening my appreciation for the diversity of career options that are available within government where you can still be contributing to science, research, and innovation.

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

Translating research and data into evidence-based policy is the application of scientific knowledge for the greater good. Through policy development, I can contribute to creating positive impact for people in ways not possible from the clinic or a laboratory. Compared to the career in research and academia, the impact of the work I do now is far larger in scope.