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New Australian Science Minister

Christopher Pyne is Australia's new science minister, ScienceInsider reports.

Pyne, it adds, was appointed to the post as part of a reshuffling by Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, who took over that post from Tony Abbott last week following an internal party struggle. Many in Australian scientific circles had criticized Abbott, who cut more than AU$3 billion from the science, research, and innovation budget.

The community is now expressing "guarded optimism" upon Pyne's appointment, ScienceInsider adds.

"After the weirdness of Abbott and the obtuse ideology of the hard right, we all hope for a better day," says Peter Doherty, a Nobel laureate and the University of Melbourne researcher. "But as of now, [the new government] should be given the benefit of the doubt."

Still Pyne, when he served as education minister, oversaw cuts to university research grants, research training programs, and the Australian Research Council, ScienceInsider notes.

In a statement, Pyne applauds Australia's "world-leading" researchers and institutes. "We have a major agenda in the commercialization of research outcomes," he adds.