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Renowned physicist Cathy Foley named Australias chief scientist

Renowned physicist Cathy Foley named Australia's chief scientist

 November 11, 2020

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"I think it's really important for us to make sure that our youth realise the importance of science and technology."

These are the words of Cathy Foley, who has been appointed as Australia's next chief scientist. She is the second woman to hold the job following astronmer Professor Penny Sackett, Australia's first female chief scientist between 2008 and 2011.

"I am confident that Cathy will continue to be an influential voice in providing the best scientific advice to government, for the benefit of us all, and I congratulate her wholeheartedly," wrote current chief scientist Dr Alan Finkel in an online statement.

A role model for the next generation of STEM experts

Cathy wants to inspire the next generation to pursue STEM careers, and her experiences makes her an important role model for aspiring young scientists.

A world-renowned scientist, Cathy has enjoyed a successful career at the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO), an Australian Government agency responsible for scientific research. 

Cathy's 36-year career with CISRO work has given her a wide exposure to a range of scientific disciplines, including climate change, stem cells, health and biosecurity, mineral resources, manufacturing, astronomy and energy.

"Cathy is an inspirational role model for her peers and the next generation," said Australian Academy of Science President John Shine in Brisbane Times.

A champion for greater diversity in STEM

For Cathy, diversity in the STEM industry paramount in unearthing new knowledge and helping to tackle current issues, such as climate change.

"There's a huge opportunity for us to really dig into Indigenous scientific knowledge and learn from the tens of thousands of years of understanding of sustainability. We've been pretty arrogant not recognising what is there for us to learn from," she explains to ABC News. "I would hope that we get to a point where we will have an Indigenous Australian chief scientist in the future."

Cathy is also a strong advocate for women in STEM, and was named Member of the Order of Australia for her efforts to advance women in physics.

"I hope that I'm going to be in a position to support the government to be able to find the best information, the best knowledge from across all the science sector in Australia," adds Cathy.

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