Professor Bronwyn Fox – “Working with CSIRO scientists throughout her entire career”

September 29th, 2020

CSIRO, Australia’s national science agency, has appointed Professor Bronwyn Fox as Chief Scientist, close to 30 years after she began her career with CSIRO as a research assistant.

Bronwyn has stayed in touch with many CSIRO colleagues both personally and professionally and has many current collaborations.

Bronwyn started at CSIRO as a research assistant in the newly created Cooperative Research Centre for Polymer Blends. She found the community at CSIRO fantastic and worked in a great cohort of early career scientists who became friends for life.

“The community at CSIRO was fantastic. I made friends for life from that time.” 

One of her proudest moments was attending her first ever international conference presentation where she won the Treloar Prize for the best presentation from a scientist under the age of 30. Bronwyn reflects that it was a defining moment where she first thought that she could actually have a career in science.

Even when she officially left CSIRO, she has continued to work with CSIRO scientists throughout her entire career. She studied a PhD in Engineering at ANU focused on carbon fibre composites, and was co-supervised by the wonderful Jonathan Hodgkin at CSIRO in Clayton who was leading cutting edge projects with Boeing at the time. After her PhD, she joined Deakin University and purchased a new rapid cure process from a start up with three employees called Quickstep. That was 2001 and Quickstep are now Australia’s largest independent manufacturer of composite materials and exporting aerospace components globally. Bronwyn continues to work with them even now.

In 2006, the relationship with CSIRO and Quickstep led to her taking a sabbatical at the University of Manchester which then seeded the inspiration to create a research facility focused on the manufacture of the raw materials that comprise carbon fibre composites. Carbon Nexus was created as part of a the Australian Future Fibres Research and Innovation Centre, a precinct in partnership with CSIRO focused on the development of new polymer based high strength fibres,based in Geelong.

The combined efforts of Deakin University, CSIRO and industry partners including Quickstep and Carbon Revolution has had an enormous impact on the community in Geelong. It has led to the creation of almost 1000 jobs.

“This demonstrates what can be achieved when the depth of scientific research at CSIRO is combined with a creative, innovative university and focused on meeting the needs of industry.” 

Bronwyn has stayed in touch with many CSIRO colleagues both personally and professionally and has many current collaborations. CSIRO and Swinburne have launched a strategic partnership and together we are embarking on some truly world leading new research areas that will benefit Australia.

Bronwyn has now returned to CSIRO as our Chief Scientist!