Dr Finkel - currently chancellor of Monash University and President of the Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering (ATSE) - succeeds Professor Ian Chubb AC who has served as chief scientist since May 2011. Professor Chubb's term concludes at the end of the year.
The Minister for Industry, Innovation and Science, Christopher Pyne, said today Dr Finkel is a prominent engineer, respected neuroscientist, successful entrepreneur and philanthropist with a personal commitment to innovation and commercialisation, and was selected from a high calibre field following an international search.
"Dr Finkel is renowned for his outstanding research, industrial and entrepreneurial achievements in Australia and overseas, his leadership and service in the university and education sector, the academies and national science bodies, and his experience in providing high-quality expert advice to government," Minister Pyne said.
Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said Dr Finkel’s experience in science and the commercial sector means he is uniquely qualified to act as one of the Government's key advisers on science and innovation, “and on ways to translate our great scientific research into real, tangible outcomes for Australians and the economy.”
The Prime Minister noted that science and innovation are at the centre of the Government's agenda and key to Australia remaining a prosperous, first world economy with a generous social welfare safety net.
"The Australian Government recognises the importance of science, innovation and technology to our future prosperity and economic security as a nation in a rapidly expanding and diversifying global economy."
The new Chief Scientist will provide independent high level advice to the government on science, innovation and commercialisation and help the government to lift the profile of Australian scientific endeavour domestically and internationally.
Dr Finkel said he was thrilled with the opportunity to contribute to framing Australia's participation in the “agile 21st century”. "My personal experience across research, business and STEM education will guide my ability to formulate relevant advice."
Christopher Pyne praised the current Chief Scientist, Professor Ian Chubb, for his landmark achievements in the role.
"Professor Ian Chubb has made an incredible contribution to science in Australia and we thank and commend him on his outstanding contribution as Australian Chief Scientist, but also as an eminent university administrator and academic over the course of his distinguished career.”