Professor Hugh Durrant-Whyte
Professor Hugh Durrant-Whyte is the NSW Chief Scientist & Engineer.
Office of the NSW Chief Scientist & Engineer
Professor Durrant-Whyte manages the Office of the NSW Chief Scientist & Engineer (OCSE), which has four distinct functions:
OCSE is tasked with delivering evidence-based scientific advice to government on a range of difficult challenges. In compiling this advice, OCSE assembles panels and committees comprised of eminent academics and experts in relevant fields. Examples of recent work includes independent reports on Mining in the Sydney Water Catchment, the NSW Koala Strategy, Bottled Water in the Northern Rivers and Tunnel Air Quality.
OCSE manages the NSW Government’s Research Attraction and Acceleration Program, which ensures that NSW attracts and retains researchers and research infrastructure. Support is provided to NSW facilities successful in receiving funding at the Commonwealth level through programs including the Australian Research Council’s Centres of Excellence, National Collaborative Research Infrastructure Strategy and Cooperative Research Centres. OCSE also provides sponsorship support to research conferences held in NSW and manages investment in targeted research, including the Quantum Computing Fund and Macquarie University’s Synthetic Biofoundry.
OCSE brings academia, government and industry together to drive the commercialisation of research excellence, with the aim of producing prosperous outcomes for the state. The $5 million Physical Sciences Fund, which supports the translation of research-led devices and systems, is a recent example. Advice is provided to government to assist in the development of new high-tech precincts, including the Western Sydney Aerotropolis and Tech Central, and in new industries, particularly advanced manufacturing.
Science Outreach and Education
OCSE is committed to ensuring that both students and the general public are given the opportunity to engage with science and scientists. The Office offers funding to NSW high school and tertiary students participating in science-, technology-, engineering- and mathematics-related courses, competitions and events through several programs including the Science & Engineering Challenge, the Supporting Young Scientists Program and the STEM Student Competition Sponsorship Program. OCSE funds the appointment of the Inspiring Australia NSW Manager, tasked with coordinating the presentation of both National Science Week and Year-Round Science Events throughout NSW and is a Foundation Sponsor of the Australian Science Media Centre, which supports science journalism across Australia. Lastly, OCSE manages the NSW Science & Research Breakfast Seminar Series and the annual NSW Premier’s Prizes for Science & Engineering.