Interim Chief Scientist appointed

17 October 2022

Minister for the Environment and the Great Barrier Reef and Minister for Science and Youth Affairs

The Honourable Meaghan Scanlon


A globally-renowned statistician and data scientist has been appointed interim Queensland Chief Scientist.


Professor Bronwyn Harch begins her appointment this week, after former Queensland Chief Scientist Professor Hugh Possingham retired in August.


Science Minister Meaghan Scanlon said Professor Harch had a long and distinguished career enhancing high quality and impactful research, and driving collaboration with stakeholders, both nationally and internationally. 


“Queensland’s huge Energy and Jobs Plan, coupled with significant investments in science and innovation in our latest budget has put the sunshine state in a leading place when it comes to scientific research, commercialisation and the good jobs that come with it,” Minister Scanlon said.


“I’m also excited to have such an accomplished woman in STEM take on the role, because I know it’ll inspire even more young Queensland women to give science a go.


“Professor Harch’s research has focused on agriculture, environmental systems monitoring and modelling in Queensland, across Australia and internationally. 


“As well as her significant research and innovation leadership experience at The University of Queensland, Professor Harch has also held key leadership roles at both QUT and CSIRO.


“A Queenslander with degrees in science and teaching (science and mathematics) and a PhD in statistics, evaluating germplasm collections for agriculture, Professor Harch is passionate about science and innovation making our communities more secure, resilient and sustainable.


Professor Harch was previously the Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Vice-President (Research and Innovation) of The University of Queensland.


Professor Harch currently serves on several Australian and Queensland boards relating to science and innovation and was elected a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering in 2015. 


Included in Professor Harch’s work has been her input as a member of the independent Scientific Advisory Panel for the Great Barrier Reef, the international Scientific Advisory Committee for the Great Barrier Reef Foundation, the Queensland Government Innovation Advisory Council, CSIRO Oceans and Atmosphere, and the Queensland Museum Network.


“Professor Harch knows just how important Queensland’s scientific capabilities are both on a local and global scale, and I look forward to working with her."


Minister Scanlon said the Palaszczuk Government would undertake an extensive recruitment process to have a permanent Chief Scientist appointed by the end of April 2023.




Media contact: Francis Dela Cruz - 0420 592 078