Alan Finkel, a prominent Australian engineer, entrepreneur and co-founder of COSMOS , will be the next President of the Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering (ATSE).
Finkel, Chancellor of Monash University, will take up his new role on 1 January 2013, succeeding former Australian Chief Scientist Professor Robin Batterham, who completes his term at the end of 2012.
Finkel will lead the ATSE Fellowship of more than 830 members – one of the nation’s four learned academies – with a strong focus on achieving improved public discussion and policy on key national issues where applied science and technology offer solutions.
Finkel, a former member of the Academy Board, will rejoin the board and become its chair from 2013. He was elected by the Academy’s Assembly, which represents the broad Academy Fellowship and includes the Board and leaders of ATSE’s divisions and topic forums.
Batterham, announcing Finkel’s election, said it had been a great privilege to serve in the role.
“Alan Finkel will do a wonderful job as President of the Academy and will bring a range of skills, experience and commitment that will enhance its activities and its impact,” Professor Batterham said.
“His commitment to education – which he backs with strong personal involvement – has been the key to developing our own STELR program in high schools across the country.
“And his understanding of science and technology policy and the ability of our nation’s scientist and technologists to contribute to building a better Australia will position him to make a great contribution to the work of the Academy and the advice it provides to government and industry.
“His unique combination of engineering, entrepreneurship, innovation and management in Australia and overseas will serve the Academy well.”
Finkel said he was honoured to succeed Professor Batterham as the Academy’s eighth President and join the group of distinguished Australians who had led the Academy.
STELR is a national secondary school science education initiative; it is a hands-on, inquiry-based, in-curriculum program designed for Year 9 or Year 10 students, on the theme of global warming and renewable energy. A range of directed and student-designed practical investigations are an integral part of the program.
Background on Alan S. Finkel
Dr Alan Finkel AM FTSE is an engineer, entrepreneur and philanthropist and has served as Chancellor of Monash University since January 2008.
He received his Bachelor of Engineering in 1976 and Doctorate in Electrical Engineering from Monash University in 1981, following which he worked for two years as a neuroscience research fellow at the John Curtin School of Medical Research, located at the Australian National University.
In addition to his role as Chancellor, Finkel is also the Chief Technology Officer of Better Place Australia, a company that will provide clean energy to run Australia’s future fleet of electric cars.
Previously, for 20 years Finkel was CEO of Axon Instruments, a publically-listed American company that made electronic instruments used by pharmaceutical companies in the discovery of new medicines.
Between running Axon Instruments and joining Better Place Australia, Finkel established two magazines. The first, COSMOS , is a literary science magazine that is now Australia’s #1 science publication and seeks to being the wonder of science to a general audience; and the second, G Magazine, was Australia’s first green lifestyle publication and promotes environmental sustainability.
Finkel has a passionate interest in education. He established the Australian Course in Advanced Neuroscience to provide advanced training to early career scientists. He also established a secondary school science program named STELR, administered by ATSE, which is currently running in nearly 300 secondary schools around Australia.
He currently serves as the Chairman of the Australian Centre of Excellence for All-Sky Astrophysics, a research consortium that is preparing to analyse the data from the world’s largest radio telescope that will be built by the end of this decade.