2020-21 Australian Science Policy Fellow: Daniel
Daniel, Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment
What were you researching before you started as a Science Policy Fellow?
I was working as a researcher at the University of Eastern Finland in the field of high-temperature process chemistry. My studies focused on developing practical solutions for major operational and environmental problems faced by heat and power plants. While working in Finland I developed and patented a process for recovery of valuable metals from ashes produced at waste-to-energy plants. I also developed processes for detoxifying processing residues that contain harmful heavy metals such as cadmium and chromium. My research is helping energy companies recycle their processing residues and reduce their environmental impacts.
What policy area are you working on through the Science Policy Fellowship Program?
I am developing policies to improve Australia’s climate science capability and to provide relevant climate information in actionable formats to different Australian communities, such as farmers.
How has your research background helped you contribute to policy development?
Many of the stakeholders of the policies that I am working on come from scientific organisations. My research background helps me to relate to them and the issues that they are encountering. While working as a researcher I developed strong foundations in the physical sciences, advanced data analysis capabilities, and the ability to succinctly communicate complex scientific concepts to different audience types. Since commencing the fellowship I have used these skills to: critically review scientific reports, such as those produced by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change; analyse datasets, such as those produced by the Australian Bureau of Statistics; and improve the communication of environmental science results in government communication materials.
How has the program changed your career aspirations?
The program has shown me that science is just one of many factors effecting government decisions. This has made me aspire to use my influence to increase the weight of science in government decision-making.
What is your favourite part about working in a policy role in the Australian Public Service?
The Australian Public Service employs a diverse range of people. I enjoy listening to and learning from colleagues who have different skills, interests, and backgrounds from my own.