Australia’s Chief Scientist Dr Alan Finkel awarded Doctor of Letters by Macquarie University

17 December 2018
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Emma Casey
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Macquarie University has presented Australia’s Chief Scientist Dr Alan Finkel the award of Doctor of Letters honoris causa in recognition of his contributions to science, medicine and innovation in Australia, recently at the 7th International Yeast 2.0 and Synthetic Genomes Conference.

The award was presented by Macquarie University’s Vice-Chancellor, Professor S Bruce Dowton.

Dr Finkel was previously the Chancellor of Monash University and President of the Australian Academy of Technology and Engineering. Dr Finkel was awarded a PhD in electrical engineering from Monash University and worked as a postdoctoral research fellow in neuroscience at the Australian National University before founding Axon Instruments in 1983.

Since commencing as Chief Scientist in 2016, Dr Finkel has contributed to a number of national reviews. He led the Expert Working Group which developed the 2016 National Research Infrastructure Roadmap and was Chair of the Expert Panel for the 2017 Independent Review into the Future Security of the National Electricity Market (the “Finkel Review”). He also led this year’s STEM Industry Partnership Forum for the COAG Education Council and serves as the Deputy Chair of Innovation and Science Australia.

Throughout his career, Dr Finkel has made major contributions to Australian education. He co-founded Cosmos Magazine, which operates a secondary schools science education program. At the Australian Academy of Technology and Engineering, he began the STELR program for secondary school science, which has been adopted by more than 600 Australian schools.

As Chief Scientist he has led the development of the STARportal information web site for extracurricular STEM activities. In 2005, Dr Finkel was a Clunies Ross Award recipient for his work on the development of an instrument to record the electrical activity of excitable cells such as nerve cells and cardiac cells. In 2015, he received the Mountbatten Medal from the United Kingdom Institution of Engineering and Technology for his outstanding contribution to the promotion of electronics and its application. And in 2016, he was named Victorian of the Year.

Dr Finkel was also recently awarded the Peter Nicol Russell Memorial Medal Career Achievement Award in Engineering by Engineers Australia ‘for his inspiring leadership abilities and the broad spectrum of his many achievements and contributions that have impacted on the engineering profession, technology and the community’.

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