Renowned physicist Dr Cathy Foley AO has been appointed Australia’s next Chief Scientist.

Dr Foley, who has spent the last two years as the CSIRO’s Chief Scientist, will take over from Dr Alan Finkel AO whose tenure comes to an end in December 2020.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison said Dr Foley had the background needed to deliver during such a pivotal time in history.

“As we recover from COVID-19 and look to rebuild a brighter future, the role of the Chief Scientist has never been more important,” Prime Minister Morrison said.

“Dr Foley has a big task ahead to drive collaboration between industry and the science and research community, as we look to create jobs for the COVID-19 recovery and for the future.

“I would like to thank Dr Alan Finkel AO for his outstanding contribution as Chief Scientist over the past five years. He has been a valued and respected voice to Government, and I know he will continue to make a significant contribution to the Australian and international science communities.”

Minister for Industry, Science and Technology Karen Andrews also thanked Dr Finkel for his service and said Dr Foley would bring a unique mix of experience to the role.

“Dr Foley is highly regarded in the scientific community, has extensive experience working with government, but most importantly understands how to drive collaboration between industry and researchers,” Minister Andrews said.

“We know science will play a crucial role in helping to create jobs at this critical time, and Dr Foley’s skills as a talented science communicator will help sell that important message.

“Like me, Dr Foley is also a strong advocate for women in science, technology, engineering and mathematics and her lived experience will make her an important role model for aspiring young scientists.”

Dr Foley is the second woman to be named Australia’s Chief Scientist, after Professor Penny Sackett, who held the role from 2008-2011.

Dr Foley is a Fellow of both the Australian Academy of Science, and the Australian Academy of Technology and Engineering. She is an accomplished scientist who has made significant contributions in the area of physics relating to superconductors.

Her appointment as Australia’s Chief Scientist is for three years, starting in January 2021.