An engineering graduate from Monash University and a neuroscience research fellow at the Australian National University, Dr Finkel’s long and distinguished career includes:
- Establishing a successful business, Axon Instruments, where he commercialised electronic and robotic instruments and software for use in cellular neuroscience, genomics and drug discovery.
- Founding science publication Cosmos and environmental publication G: The Green Lifestyle. He is also a patron of the Australian Science Media Centre.
- Leading a secondary school science program (STELR) running in nearly 400 secondary schools.
- Holding the current Presidency of the Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering and the Chancellorship of Monash University.
Universities Australia Chief Executive Belinda Robinson applauded the decision to appoint Dr Finkel as Australia’s next science champion.
“Dr Finkel’s experience, industry background and expertise make him the ideal candidate to take the baton from outgoing Chief Scientist Professor Ian Chubb,” Ms Robinson said.
“He knows firsthand the challenges and rewards of taking an idea from the lab to the boardroom and understands the crucial role that universities play in the research and innovation ecosystem.
“He is expertly placed to help Australia lift its low levels of industry-university collaboration and researcher mobility between universities and business.
“Dr Finkel is also a proven and passionate science communicator. He will have little problem informing and inspiring everyday Australians about the crucial role of science and research.”
Ms Robinson thanked Chief Scientist Professor Ian Chubb AC for the indelible impact he has had as Australia’s national science and research ambassador.
“Professor Chubb’s engaging presence, formidable intellect and relentless enthusiasm has transfixed policy makers and the public alike,” Ms Robinson said.
“The setting of national science and research priorities and internationally benchmarking Australia’s science and research capability are just a sample of his many achievements.
“We are all in his debt for the tenacity with which he has pursued his mission of having acknowledged science and research as the fundamental building blocks of national prosperity.
“He will go down in Australia’s history as one of the great contributors to public life and we are very lucky to count him as one of our citizens,” Ms Robinson concluded.