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Government of South Australia - Department of State Development


    New Chief Scientist for South Australia

    Passionate South Australian, groundwater scientist and respected research leader Professor Craig Simmons FAA FTSE has been appointed to the role of Chief Scientist for South Australia for a three-year term.

    Having first embarked on his studies in South Australia in the 1990s – earning tertiary qualifications in engineering and physics before completing a PhD in hydrology – Professor Simmons’ career has taken him across Australia and around the world, including visits and fellowships with universities across the US, UK, China, and Europe.

    In 2015, he was awarded the title of South Australian Scientist of the Year.

    Professor Simmons will take on the role of Chief Scientist whilst retaining his current position as Pro Vice-Chancellor, College of Engineering, Science and Environment, at the University of Newcastle.

    He says he is commencing at an exciting and important time for science in South Australia.

    SIMMONS Wetland Rock Photo 2crop EXTRA LR

    “We stand on the threshold of energy, climate and health revolutions,” Professor Simmons said.

    “Now is the time for innovators, researchers, academics, government and communities to work together to build a brighter future, and I look forward to playing a role in keeping science front and centre in this collaboration.

    “South Australia has a proud scientific tradition, I will work to ensure we have a bright, inclusive and engaged scientific future.”

    The role of Chief Scientist, first established in 2005, is to provide independent advice to the South Australian Government on matters related to Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM), and research and innovation in the delivery of South Australia’s priority outcomes to support the state’s economic growth and productivity.

    “I see the role of Chief Scientist as bringing people together, building ideas, supporting innovation in STEMM education and training and drawing focus to great work,” Professor Simmons said.

    “Science takes a village. Engaging with communities is vital.”

    The previous Chief Scientist for South Australia was Professor Caroline McMillen, who relinquished the role in August 2023 due to family reasons.

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