2020-21 Australian Science Policy Fellow: Neda
Neda, Department of Health
What were you researching before you started as a Science Policy Fellow?
My research has been focused on the development of novel gold-based anticancer drugs, with properties superior to the clinically used therapeutic agent cisplatin. The incidence of cancer is rapidly increasing and with it the search for the most acceptable treatment. Platinum-based anticancer agents, despite their market acceptance and steady use for more than 40 years, cause undesirable side-effects in patients. These emerging class of gold-based anticancer drugs offer three main advantages including: effectiveness towards a range of cancer cells, effectiveness towards cisplatin-resistant cells and high selectivity, meaning they have minimal side effects.
What policy area are you working on through the Science Policy Fellowship Program?
I work in the Department of Health, in the Technology Assessment and Access Division, where I can apply my analytical skills to evaluate the effectiveness of some medical related policies and to advise on developing new policies. As a Science Policy Fellow, I am engaged with a variety of projects within the Department to deepen my understanding about the dynamic landscape of policy making in Australia.
How has your research background helped you contribute to policy development?
My strong critical thinking/analysis and communications skills have been transferable and invaluable in the role of policy maker to develop evidence-based policies and achieve the best results for the Australian community and the Government.
The foundation of policy making is rigorous research and data collection from various resources before synthesising them to draw an informed solution, a set of activities I have successfully practiced through my research career. My strength is consultation with a variety of stakeholders and presenting the results of the research outcomes, in the form of draft policies, papers, reports, seminars and other types of presentations; these have been extremely helpful in my role as policy maker.
How has the program changed your career aspirations?
My vision has always been to create an impact through research and science. Now I am looking to my next challenge to deploy my substantial scientific expertise, and continue creating impact through the lens of policymaking. My career aim now is to make my contributions to policies that make improvements in Australia and also from an international perspective, be references for policy developments that may take place overseas.
What is your favourite part about working in a policy role in the Australian Public Service?
Working in a collaborative government, which strives to ensure the prosperity of Australia, is a privilege. I am fascinated by the collaborative approach that is required to ensure timely progress of projects. I enjoy using my analytical, critical thinking, and stakeholder management skills in the role. The immediate day to day insight across various divisions and departments I find is engaging along with the high quality of expertise found in those with whom I communicate.