Nuclear scientist and new member of the National Science and Technology Council Mahananda Dasgupta welcomes what she calls a political "sense of dependence or trust in science", but acknowledges the science community could to be more "savvy" in public communication.
Professor Dasgupta, an ANU Canberra-based international leader in accelerator-based nuclear fusion and fission, has been appointed to the government's advisory council to provide scientific advice to the Prime Minister, Science and Industry Minister Ed Husic and other ministers.
The trailblazing scientist joins Professor Reuben Bolt, a proud Yuin man, and Professor Mark Hutchinson in joining the council for a three year term.
Professor Dasgupta said it is an "exciting era" and she is thrilled to be helping to bring together science, regulation and policy to fix complex issues.
"The people at the science level and research level see the real push of this current government, but also there is a sense of dependence or trust in science, which was there even the COVID-times in the previous government, right?" she told The Canberra Times.
"I feel that the trust in science and the fact that the science helps us progress is building up and I hope it continues to do so.
"It is ultimately the scientists who came to the rescue with the vaccines and all those benefits that we, as a society, we benefit from those discoveries."
Professor Dasgupta also acknowledges the politicisation of science, particularly over climate change, but she said there was also an onus providing better science communication.
"Let's say the truth has to be out there and the Australian Academy of Science has done a lot of work towards that in that direction in particular," she said.
"Perhaps that's where we need to be more savvy as a scientific community and as a nation."
She was the first woman to be tenured in the ANU's Research School of Physics.
Her heavy-ion accelerator facility, which recently celebrated 50 years, attracts international visitors groups. The lab is one of just three in the world.
She said her area of nuclear science underpins a range of Australian national priority sectors.
"It's managing natural resources, our environment, health. We are getting the first proton therapy accelerator in the country. Modern manufacturing like making quantum qubits, national security and health," Professor Dasgupta offered.
"Nuclear science underpins, and infrastructure underpins, all these issues. And they are right now of very high importance for the nation."
The Science Minister has welcomed the appointments.
"Their exceptional scientific expertise will be of tremendous benefit to the council, particularly in areas such as indigenous education, health sciences, research commercialisation, nanotechnology, and nuclear physics," Mr Husic said in a statement.
"These appointments are also a step towards achieving greater diversity within the Council and support its mission to provide timely and tangible advice to government."
Professor Dasgupta will start on the council on February 18.