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Biographical entry Finkel, Alan (1953 - )


17 January 1953
Chief Scientist and Engineer


Alan Finkel was appointed Chief Scientist in the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet in January 2016. He has an extensive reputation as an entrepreneur, engineer, educator and philanthropist. As a post-doctoral Fellow at the John Curtin School of Medical Research he designed equipment to support research programs. Realising the commercial possibilities, in 1983 he founded Axon Instruments in California, to make precision scientific instruments used by researchers in the discovery of new medicines. After the company was sold Finkel returned to Australia in 2006 and became involved in a number of enterprises. These include the establishment of the Florey Neurosciences Institutes, educational programs for secondary school science and the training of neuroscientists, electric vehicle infrastructure, and the publication of the magazine Cosmos. He was Chancellor of Monash University from 2008 to 2015 and President of the Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering from 2013 to 2015.



Education - BEng (Hons), Monash University
Education - PhD, Monash University
1981 - 1982
Career position - Research Fellow, John Curtis School of Medical Research, Australian National University
1983 - 2004
Career position - Founder and CEO, Axon Instruments
1984 - 1987
Career position - Consulting Assistant Professor of Surgery, Stanford University, California
2000 - 2003
Career position - Adjunct Professor, School of Biomedical Sciences, University of Queensland
2000 - 2003
Career position - Member, Strategic Advisory Committee, John Curtin School of Medical Science, Australian National University
Career position - Founded Cosmos magazine
2004 - 2005
Career position - Senior Vice-President and Chief Technical Officer, Molecular Devices Corporation (formerly Axon Instruments)
Career position - Member, Clunies Ross Foundation Board of Governors, Australian Academy of Technological Science and Engineering
Award - Clunies Ross Award for facilitating international neuroscience research, Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering
2005 - 2012
Career position - Chair, Management Committee, Australian Course in Advanced Neuroscience (ACAN)
2006 -
Career position - Fellow, Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering
Award - Member of the Order of Australia (AM) for service to biomedical science, particularly through the design and manufacture of a range of electronic instruments, and to support for medical research and education
2006 - 2007
Career position - Chair, Amalgamation Committee, Florey Neurosciences Institutes
Career position - Board Member, Florey Neurosciences Institutes
2008 - 2015
Career position - Chancellor, Monash University
2010 - 2015
Career position - Chair, Australian Centre of Excellence for All-Sky Astrophysics (CAASTRO)
2012 - 2013
Career position - Foundation Chair, Steering Committee, 'Securing Australia's Future Project, Australian Council of Learned Academies
2012 - 2015
Career position - Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Stile Education
2013 -
Career position - Patron, Australian Course in Advanced Neuroscience (ACAN)
Career position - Patron, In2Science School mentoring program, Australian Science Media Centre
2013 - 2015
Career position - President, Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering (ATSE)
Award - Honorary Bragg Member, Royal Institution of Australia
Award - Officer of the Order of Australia (AO) for distinguished service to science and engineering, and to tertiary education administration, as an advocate for the protection of children, and to philanthropy
Award - Mountbatten Medal, Institution of Engineering and Technology
2016 -
Career position - Chief Scientist, Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet

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Helen Cohn