VC named next Chief Scientist for South Australia

Friday, 10 August 2018


The University of Newcastle’s Vice-Chancellor, Professor Caroline McMillen has been announced as South Australia’s next Chief Scientist – a role that will see her provide independent, high-level advice to the Premier, the Minster and Cabinet on matters of science and research, technology and innovation.

Professor Caroline McMillen

Professor McMillen announced her retirement as the University of Newcastle’s Vice-Chancellor last year and was due to depart the University in late 2018. She said she had not been thinking of taking on another major leadership role.

“Sometimes the best laid plans are derailed by an unexpected turn of events and after a lot of thought I decided that this was a role I could not turn down,” Professor McMillen said.

“While looking forward to the next challenge is intriguing, there is always that moment of recognition of how hard it is to leave. There is something absolutely unique about the spirit of the University of Newcastle that will make it very difficult to part with.”

As the SA Chief Scientist, Professor McMillen will lead the development of strategies to ensure science drives innovation, supporting new industry development, job creation and economic growth - a duty she is well-equipped for having championed the link between science and industry during her tenure as University of Newcastle Vice-Chancellor.

“As research and technology evolves, so do the opportunities and challenges within Australia and well beyond. Scientific input will help to powerfully address these challenges and seize the enormous opportunities presented to us to grow new jobs and new businesses,” Professor McMillen said.

As a biomedical expert, Professor McMillen is internationally recognised for her work into the impact of the nutritional environment before birth on the risk of developing cardiovascular disease and obesity in adult life.

During her time as Vice-Chancellor, she oversaw the ambitious expansion of the University into the Newcastle CBD and guided the institution towards its unprecedented ranking* in the top one per cent of the world’s universities.

Professor McMillen said she would draw on these two careers as she embarked on the new role.

“My experience of being a VC, coupled with that of my ‘other’ career as a scientist, educator and researcher, should hopefully serve me well for this next challenge,” Professor McMillen said.

Professor McMillen will assume her role as South Australia’s fifth Chief Scientist on 15 October 2018, filling the position left by outgoing Chief Scientist Dr Leanna Read. Her last day at UON will be Friday 21 September.

*2017/18 QS World University Rankings