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Australian Science Chief Named

Australia's next chief scientist is to be neuroscientist Alan Finkel, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has announced. Finkel is the president of Australia's Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering and is the former chancellor of Monash University.

As chief scientist, Finkel's role is to provide the government with independent advice and boost the profile of Australian science, ScienceInsider says. Finkel says two of his priorities will be to enhance the country's innovation record and nudge Australia away from using fossil fuels like coal.

As ScienceInsider notes, this new appointment comes after a trying time for Australian science as former Prime Minister Tony Abbott enacted deep funding cuts, closed a climate panel, and didn't appoint a science minister for more than a year.

Finkel replaces Iain Chubb, and Finkel adds that he plans to extend Chubb's efforts to promote STEM education.

"We need a vision of the kind of economy and society we want to be," he tells ScienceInsider.