27 September 2016
IIASA, Laxenburg, Austria

Australia's Chief Scientist visits IIASA

Alan Finkel, Australia’s Chief Scientist, former Chancellor of Monash Univeristy and former President of the Australian Academy of Technology and Engineering (ATSE) met with IIASA Director General and CEO Professor Dr. Pavel Kabat to discuss strengthening collaborations between Australia and IIASA.

Finkel, who was appointed Australia’s Chief Scientist in January 2016, was introduced to IIASA, its work and activities with Australia when he made an official visit to IIASA on 27 September 2016. Australia has been a member of IIASA since 2013 through Australia’s Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO).

Finkel, was accompanied by Sabine Richter, Group Executive Science, Technology and Landmark Infrastructure at the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation (ANSTO) and Elisabeth Jaquemar, Senior Bilateral Policy Officer and Public Diplomacy Manager at the Australian Embassy in Vienna.

Collaborations between Australia and IIASA

Alan Finkel Australia's Chief Scientist met with IIASA Director General and CEO Professor Dr Pavel Kabat at IIASA.

Research collaborations between IIASA and Australia date back to the 1980’s and since formal membership of IIASA began in 2013, collaborations have been significantly increased.

Recent research on internationally significant projects include developing sustainable livestock systems, creating land cover maps and data, the Integrated Assessment Modeling Consortium whose work supported the IPCC’s Fifth Assessment Report, the Global Carbon Project, the Global Energy Assessment, and the World Futures and Solutions Initiative. Such global networks share energies, expertise, and skills in developing and applying advanced systems science as well as strengthening the Australian research communities’ global connections. Significant potential remains to grow the relationship between IIASA and Australia’s scholarly community.

Opportunities for additional research collaboration have been identified in the fields of sustainable agriculture and biodiversity, energy, water, and critical resources. Areas for future mutual development could also include research on tropical deforestation, extreme events, and global health. Capacity building through greater scientific exchange via researching at or visiting IIASA, or taking part in IIASA’s programs for young scientists, will also be a priority for the partnership. 

About Dr. Alan Finkel AO

Alan Finkel commenced as Australia’s Chief Scientist on 25 January 2016. He is Australia’s eighth Chief Scientist.

Finkel has an extensive science background as an entrepreneur, engineer, neuroscientist and educator. Prior to becoming Chief Scientist, he was the chancellor of Monash University and President of the Australian Academy of Technology and Engineering (ATSE). Finkel was awarded his PhD in electrical engineering from Monash University and worked as a postdoctoral research fellow in neuroscience at the Australian National University.

In 1983 he founded Axon Instruments, a California-based, ASX-listed company that made precision scientific instruments used at pharmaceutical companies and universities for the discovery of new medicines. After Axon was sold in 2004, Finkel became a director of the acquiring company, NASDAQ-listed Molecular Devices.

In 2006, he focused his career in Australia and undertook a wide range of activities. He led the amalgamation that formed the Florey Neuroscience Institutes; he became Chair of the Australian Centre of Excellence for All-Sky Astrophysics (CAASTRO) and was a director of the ASX-listed diagnostics company Cogstate Limited. He was Executive Chair of the educational software company Stile Education, Chair of Manhattan Investment Group, Chief Technology Officer of Better Place Australia and Chair of Speedpanel Australia.

A winner of the Clunies Ross Award for facilitating international neuroscience research, Finkel is committed to science education. He co-founded Cosmos Magazine, which in addition to magazine publishing operates a secondary schools science education program. At ATSE, he led the development and implementation of the STELR program for secondary school science, which has been adopted in nearly 500 Australian schools. Finkel also established the Australian Course in Advanced Neuroscience to train early career neuroscientists and is patron of the Australian Science Media Centre.

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Last edited: 30 September 2016


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