Victoria's Lead Scientist

Victoria's Lead Scientist works across the Victorian Government to foster linkages and identify opportunities for economic outcomes by engaging with business, the research sector, government and the broader Victorian community.

The priorities of the Lead Scientist as outlined in the Strategic Plan 2018 - 2020 are to:

  • advocate the importance of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) to Victoria's economic future
  • enhance university/business engagement and identify opportunities to build scale of activities by facilitating partnerships
  • scan the horizon for new technologies and provide high level strategic advice on potential social and economic impacts
  • advocate to improve the innovation capacity of the public sector.

The Lead Scientist is supported by the Department Jobs, Precincts and Regions and reports to the department's secretary.

The Lead Scientist's role in Victoria’s coronavirus response

The Lead Scientist is working with Victorian universities and the Forum of Australian Chief Scientists to coordinate and connect new technologies and partnerships to tackle coronavirus (COVID-19).

Across the Victorian research community, people are coming together in a myriad of different ways to answer questions about coronavirus (COVID-19) infection and how to address the public health and economic challenges it represents. The value of years of investment in research infrastructure, people and the broader ‘innovation’ ecosystem is coming to the fore as we apply the knowledge, expertise and relationships nurtured through this process.

I am proud of the way the Victorian university sector is mobilising their considerable capability and capacity in health, engineering and social sciences to support the coronavirus (COVID-19) response. The role of the Office of the Lead Scientist is to align and connect this activity with the areas of government and business who can act on this information. From 3D printed devices, resterilisation of face masks, digital health platforms to potential therapies, we have seen a broad range of design solutions emerging from Victorian universities contributing to the response.

Nationally and internationally, we also have seen a surge in collaboration to respond to coronavirus (COVID-19). The willingness of competitors to join forces to accelerate the development of vaccines and plasma products is a great demonstration of leadership centred on saving lives and livelihoods. Closer to home, I have been contributing to the Forum of Australian Chief Scientists. Chaired by Dr Alan Finkel, Chief Scientists across Australian states and territories have been meeting regularly to contribute to the national response effort.

I want to give you assurance that while we will continue to have coronavirus (COVID-19) response as a priority, the business-as-usual activity – delivery of National Science Week and the VicSTEM Alliance, and the development of global opportunities to partner in emerging technologies (Space 2.0 and quantum technologies) are continuing.

Our world has changed and every person is experiencing a new challenge in some way. We can be confident that science and technology will continue to be the most powerful drivers of human progress now and in future.

Contact details

Telephone: (03) 9651 9038

Email: lead.scientist@ecodev.vic.gov.au

Follow on Twitter: @Vic_LeadSci

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Page last updated: 6 May 2020