Jana, 2020–21

Headshot of Janna Fabris


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

I have been involved in the composites manufacturing innovation ecosystems in Australia and Canada since 2006. As both a professional engineer and doctoral researcher, I have contributed to advancing the composites manufacturing state of art using digital manufacturing tools and performing translational research work that enables the composites industry to more readily adopt science-based practices to reduce their development time, cost and production risk.

What policy area are you working on through the Science Policy Fellowship Program?

During my Fellowship, I have been assigned two rotations with the Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources. I am currently working with the Industry Growth Division (IGD) on projects covering a diverse range of industry policy and priority areas, including work that supports the implementation of the Modern Manufacturing Strategy (MMS). My next rotation will be with the Australian Space Agency.

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

I am fortunate to be in a position to lean into my technical and research experience given the policy areas that I am currently working in. While the ability to think critically is a useful skill in policy development, I find that communicating effectively is most important. Whether this is writing a departmental response to correspondence, drafting Ministerial briefs, speaking with industry or discussions with colleagues; stakeholder engagement and being able to bring the public along with you is key to achieving successful outcomes.

How has the program changed your career aspirations?

I consider the Science Policy Fellowship Program a ‘boot camp’ for a potential career pivot into the public service. This program enables me to build on my professional engineering and interdisciplinary research experiences, allowing me to leverage my strengths in synthesising and communicating complex issues, and establish meaningful collaborative relationships with stakeholders from government, academia and industry.

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

I am working with many talented and dedicated people at the Department. I’m excited to learn from them and to also share my expertise and technical knowledge as we work towards growing Australia’s industrial capabilities in areas of comparative advantage and strategic importance.