QUT sustainability champion is Queensland’s new Chief Scientist

QUT Pro Vice-Chancellor (Sustainability), Professor Kerrie Wilson, has been named Queensland’s next Chief Scientist.

Queensland Environment Minister the Hon Leanne Linard announced the appointment during a Parliamentary Estimates hearing in Brisbane on Friday.

The whole-of-government appointment will see Professor Wilson play a lead role in Queensland’s response to the threat of climate change on the environment and the state’s continued focus on renewable energy.

“We are pleased to see Kerrie appointed to this role,” QUT Vice-Chancellor Professor Margaret Sheil AO said.

“As QUT Pro-Vice Chancellor (Sustainability), Kerrie has embedded sustainability into everything we do at the university, championing our commitment to sustainability by encouraging students, staff and the broader community to better understand how individuals and the university can become more sustainable.

“She has also been a driving force behind the QUT commitment to a low-carbon future and reduce activities that result in greenhouse gas emissions.

“As a true leader in her field, we know she will make a lasting impression in her new role.”

Professor Wilson will take up her position in November, replacing interim Queensland Chief Scientist, QUT statistician and data scientist Adjunct Professor Bronwyn Harch, who moved into the role in October following the departure of Professor Hugh Possingham from the position after two years.

“Professor Wilson has had a distinguished career in leadership positions with some of our most respected scientific institution and, as a reputable environmental researcher, makes an ideal appointment as our Chief Scientist,” Ms Linard said.

“As Chief Scientist, her expertise and track record in driving collaboration with national and international stakeholders will ensure Queensland remains at the forefront of science.”

Professor Wilson was an Australian Research Council (ARC) Future Fellow at The University of Queensland and the Director of the ARC Centre of Excellence and Environmental Decisions before joining QUT in 2019.

She has received numerous awards, including the Prime Minister’s Prize for Life Scientist of the Year, the Australian Academy of Science Nancy Millis Medal for Women in Science, two ARC Research Fellowships, an Australian Museum Eureka Prize for Outstanding Young Researcher, and the Research Leader Science Award at the 25th Women in Technology awards.

“As a Queenslander, and an environmental researcher, I am delighted to take up the role of the state’s Chief Scientist,” Professor Wilson said.

“All Queenslanders can be proud of our leading-edge scientific strengths, across the many fields of science, and our outstanding strengths in both fundamental and applied research.

“Our collaborations with many national and international scientific organisations, dealing with global issues such as sustainability, renewable energy, and combating the effects of climate change, will deliver benefits on a local, national, and international level.

“I am determined that as Queensland Chief Scientist I will play a significant role in building Queensland’s reputation for leading science that deliver solutions to local and global issues.”

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