Prime Minister announces New Chief Science Advisor

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern visited the Science Centre today to announce Professor Juliet Gerrard, Faculty of Science Associate Dean (Research), will replace Professor Sir Peter Gluckman as the Prime Minister's Chief Science Advisor.

Leigh Gerrard, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, Professor Juliet Gerrard and Vice Chancellor Stuart McCutcheon

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern visits the University of Auckland today to announce Professor Juliet Gerrard will take up the role of Prime Minister’s Chief Science Advisor.

Professor Gerrard, Associate Dean of Research at the University’s Faculty of Science, says she is delighted to take up the role. She replaces outgoing Chief Science Advisor and University of Auckland Distinguished Professor Sir Peter Gluckman.

In the first weeks of her appointment, Professor Gerrard says she will connect with the Departmental Science Advisor network and key stakeholders and visit scientists around the country to listen to a range of views on the opportunities that science, in its broadest sense, offers New Zealand.

“I have always been strongly in favour of supporting students who are unfamiliar with the university environment so it’s not just about focusing on student scholarship but looking at anything in a student’s situation that could be impeding progress such as being the first in their family to go to university.”

Professor Juliet Gerrard School of Chemical Sciences

“I am very much looking forward to connecting with a cross section of scientists from all types of institutions, especially emerging scientists,”
Professor Gerrard says.

She is enthusiastic to hear views on the difference science can make for New Zealand, and on promoting science to young people.

“New Zealanders owe Sir Peter Gluckman a great debt of gratitude for his tireless work as the country’s first PM Chief Science Advisor and he
will continue to make a contribution through his highly respected international and academic roles.”

Professor Gerrard trained at Oxford University where she completed both Honours and Doctorate degrees in Chemistry and Biological Chemistry. A scientist at Crop & Food Research, she was appointed Lecturer in Biochemistry at the University of Canterbury in 1998 where she became Professor and Director of the Biomolecular Interaction Centre until 2014.

She is a Professor of Biochemistry at the University of Auckland where her research interests cut across biochemistry, health, agriculture, food science and biomaterial design. Her interdisciplinary and collaborative research incorporates both fundamental and applied research.

In order to maintain independence, she will not be applying for research funding in New Zealand during her term, and has resigned her board roles.

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