First statement from new Chief Scientist

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Dr Alan Finkel has delivered his first statement as Australia's Chief Scientist.

Dr Finkel, a renowned engineer, neuroscientist, entrepreneur and philanthropist, began his three-year term as Australia’s Chief Scientist last week, succeeding Professor Ian Chubb.

"I believe our future can be better than the present; human history is testament to that. I welcome an age in which entrepreneurship flourishes, educational opportunities expand, and nations collaborate scientifically to drive progress," said Dr Finkel in a statement.

"As Australia’s eighth Chief Scientist, I want to tell Australia’s great success stories. I have witnessed many firsthand, as a researcher, entrepreneur and advocate. I hope to uncover and help inspire many more.

"I want to put important topics on the table, such as sustainable energy use, to help Australians understand and weigh up the options. We will count the benefits of innovation in prosperity shared, jobs created, lives saved and opportunities uncovered; but only if we pursue a new conversation."

Dr Finkel said the Government's National Innovation and Science Agenda brings "new responsibilities" to the role of Chief Scientist, including contributing to the review of the R&D Tax Incentive programme.

The popular and highly-regarded Incentive has faced constant scrutiny and change.

Last year, the Government secured parliamentary support from the now diminished Palmer United Party to cap claims under the program. It has so far failed to secure support for its proposed 1.5 per cent cut to the Incentive.

Dr Finkel also praised predecessor Professor Chubb for leaving a "great legacy".

"In taking the baton, I recognise that we have to be resilient, to keep going when we stumble. To start up, and then to scale up. To back our potential today, and to build new potential through education for tomorrow.

"It’s a mission as important and as challenging as it’s ever been. I’m proud to have this chance to take it on," he added.