Fo­ley ap­pointed CSIRO Chief Sci­en­tist


THE CSIRO’s new Chief Sci­en­tist will be dec­o­rated physi­cist and sci­ence leader Dr Cathy Fo­ley.

Dr Fo­ley is renowned for her work de­vel­op­ing su­per­con­duct­ing de­vices and sys­tems, which have helped un­earth more than $6 bil­lion in min­er­als world­wide.

She is cred­ited with help­ing cre­ate the LANDTEM tech­nol­ogy, which uses su­per­con­duc­tors to de­tect min­er­als deep un­der­ground.

LANDTEM, a highly por­ta­ble ex­plo­ration tool for de­tect­ing highly con­duc­tive ores like nickel sul­phides, gold and sil­ver, uses highly sen­si­tive mag­netic sen­sors known as Su­per­con­duct­ing Quan­tum In­ter­fer­ence De­vices (SQUIDs) to dif­fer­en­ti­ate between ore and con­duc­tive ma­te­rial or over­bur­den; even when the ore body is deeply buried.

The tech­nol­ogy was de­vel­oped and suc­cess­fully com­mer­cialised in col­lab­o­ra­tion with BHP Bil­li­ton and for­mer Cana­dian min­ing com­pany, Fal­con­bridge.

Dr Fo­ley, cur­rently the Deputy Di­rec­tor and Sci­ence Di­rec­tor of CSIRO’s man­u­fac­tur­ing busi­ness unit, will start as Chief Sci­en­tist at the end of Septem­ber.

She said her pri­or­ity will be pro­mot­ing sci­ence, STEM and women in sci­ence.

“Aus­tralia’s fu­ture pros­per­ity will be fu­elled by sci­ence,” Dr Fo­ley said.

“Sci­ence which cre­ates new in­dus­tries, new jobs and shapes the minds and as­pi­ra­tions of our fu­ture lead­ers.

“We can’t keep think­ing about sci­ence as some­thing which is locked away in a lab. It con­nects and drives ev­ery­thing we touch and do.”

Dr Fo­ley has been an ad­vo­cate for women in sci­ence, for the com­mu­ni­ca­tion of sci­ence, and sci­ence ed­u­ca­tion for 30 years, the CSIRO stated.

“I’m look­ing for­ward to not just spread­ing the word, but help­ing shape the sci­ence agenda and rais­ing the pro­file of the role of women in STEM,” she said.

CSIRO chief ex­ec­u­tive Dr Larry Mar­shall said Dr Fo­ley was an in­cred­i­ble leader and sci­en­tist.

“Cathy is a great con­trib­u­tor, with a pas­sion for turn­ing ex­cel­lent sci­ence into pow­er­ful so­lu­tions for Aus­tralia,” Dr Mar­shall said.

“I am look­ing for­ward to see­ing her make this role her own, and bring­ing the voice of CSIRO sci­ence to help Aus­tralia nav­i­gate a path to pros­per­ity through global dis­rup­tion.”

Dr Fo­ley joined the CSIRO Divi­sion of Ap­plied Physics in 1985 as a Na­tional Re­search Fel­low, be­fore being pro­moted to Se­nior Re­search Sci­en­tist in 1991, Prin­ci­pal Re­search Sci­en­tist in 1996, Se­nior Prin­ci­pal Re­search Sci­en­tist in 2000, and Chief Re­search Sci­en­tist in 2008.

Dr Fo­ley has won a num­ber of awards, from a Pub­lic Ser­vice Medal and the Eureka Prize for the pro­mo­tion of sci­ence in 2003 through to Woman of the Year hon­ours in 2013.

In 2015, Dr Fo­ley and her team were awarded the pres­ti­gious Clu­nies Ross award for the LANDTEM in­no­va­tion.

“Cathy is a great con­trib­u­tor, with a pas­sion for turn­ing ex­cel­lent sci­ence into pow­er­ful so­lu­tions for Aus­tralia.”

Im­age: CSIRO.

In­com­ing CSIRO Chief Sci­en­tist Dr Cathy Fo­ley.

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