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Professor Caroline McMillen

The South Australian Science Teacher’s Association has the privilege of having Caroline McMillen, Chief Scientist for South Australia, as our Patron.

Caroline was born in Belfast and grew up in England, completing her higher education there. She graduated from the University of Oxford with a Bachelor of Arts (Honours) and Doctor of Philosophy, and then completing her training at the University of Cambridge with a Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery. Moving to Australia in 1983, she lectured at Monash University before heading to the University of Adelaide and being appointed as head of physiology.

Much of Caroline’s early research focused on the effects of prenatal nutrition on adult diseases and was a member of the PMSEIC Working Group on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health focusing on maternal, fetal and post-natal health. Her research was funded for two decades by the Australian Research Council and the National Health and Medical Research Council.

Caroline served as Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Vice President of Research and Innovation at the University of South Australia from 2005 to 2011, and then was appointed as Vice-Chancellor and President of the University of Newcastle. Much of her career has been focused on building connections between universities, government, industry and communities, and she has spoken nationally and internationally about the critical role of STEMM in driving innovation, and the role of universities as catalysts of positive economic, social and cultural impact.

In 2018 Caroline became the fifth Chief Scientist of South Australia. This role provides advice on matters of science and research, technology and innovation. She was appointed an Officer of the Order of Australia in 2020 in recognition of her service to medical science and tertiary education, and the social equity of South Australia.