Dr Alan Finkel
Dr Finkel commenced as Australia’s Chief Scientist on 25 January 2016. He is Australia’s eighth Chief Scientist.
Prior to becoming Chief Scientist, he was the Chancellor of Monash University and President of the Australian Academy of Technology and Engineering (ATSE).
Dr Finkel has an extensive science background as an entrepreneur, engineer, neuroscientist, educator and philanthropist. Dr Finkel won the Clunies Ross Award for contributions to science education; he was Chief Technology Officer of Better Place Australia, and Chair of Speed Panel Australia. He had also been involved in a variety of fund raising exercises for the benefit of Monash University. His commitment to science education was demonstrated when he founded Cosmos magazine, published to promote science programs in secondary schools and is patron of the Australian Science Media Centre.
In 2006, he returned to Australia and undertook a wide range of activities. He led the amalgamation that formed the Florey Neuroscience Institutes; he became Chair of the Australian Centre of Excellence for All-Sky Astrophysics (CAASTRO) and was a director of the ASX-listed diagnostics company Cogstate Limited. He was Executive Chair of the educational software company Stile Education, Chair of Manhattan Investment Group, Chief Technology Officer of Better Place Australia and Chair of Speedpanel Australia.
Dr Finkel was awarded his PhD in electrical engineering from Monash University and worked as a postdoctoral research fellow in neuroscience at the Australian National University.
In 1983 he founded Axon Instruments, a California-based, ASX-listed company that made precision scientific instruments used at pharmaceutical companies and universities for the discovery of new medicines. After Axon was sold in 2004, Dr Finkel became a director of the acquiring company, NASDAQ-listed Molecular Devices.
Committed to science education, Dr Finkel continues to support the ATSE, he led the development and implementation of the STELR (Science and Technology Education Leveraging Relevance) program for secondary school science, which has been adopted in nearly 500 Australian schools. Dr Finkel also established the Australian Course in Advanced Neuroscience to train early career neuroscientists.
Dr Finkel’s commitment to science, education and philanthropy is well known in Victoria and he is a fine example of how the work of one Victorian can have fair reaching effects nationally and internationally.