In what is believed to be the first such appointment in an Australian university, Swinburne University of Technology has appointed Professor Virginia Kilborn as the inaugural Swinburne Chief Scientist.
Currently Swinburne’s Dean of Science, Professor Kilborn is a leader of Swinburne’s scientific community and is known as a champion of women in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). The new position of Swinburne Chief Scientist will provide leadership in science within and outside the university, driving scientific relationships and policy with government, industry and schools.
Professor Kilborn is a radio astronomer whose research interests include tracing galaxy evolution by studying the neutral hydrogen gas in galaxies. She joined Swinburne’s Centre for Astrophysics and Supercomputing in 2003 and has taught undergraduate and postgraduate astronomy at Swinburne for more than a decade. From 2015-2018 she was Chair of the Department of Physics and Astronomy and was appointed Dean of Science in 2019.
Commenting on the appointment, Swinburne Vice-Chancellor Professor Pascale Quester said: “I am delighted to appoint Professor Kilborn as the inaugural Swinburne Chief Scientist.
“Professor Kilborn is an experienced leader who understands how science can help solve the world’s greatest challenges. She is a champion of women in STEM and has brought greater opportunities for young people in science through the Swinburne Youth Space Innovation Challenge.
“Professor Kilborn is perfectly positioned to play a leading role in evolving Swinburne’s science and technology focus and helping guide our learners, educators and industry partners on the path to a digital, tech-rich future,” Professor Quester said.
“I am excited by the opportunities this reinvigorated focus on science and technology will bring to Swinburne, as well as the opportunities it will open for our students, colleagues and partners,” Professor Kilborn said.
“There has never been a more important time to be involved in science. As we step into the critical challenges of our nation and the world, the scientific voice must be more present. I am looking forward to representing that voice and continuing to spearhead the great work that fellow scientists are performing at Swinburne and more broadly,” she said.
Professor Kilborn’s appointment is part of Swinburne’s Horizon 2025 vision to bring people and technology together to build a better world.
The appointment is effective 31 May 2021 and reports to Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research and Enterprise) Professor Bronwyn Fox.