Interim Queensland Chief Scientist
Professor Bronwyn Harch
Professor Bronwyn Harch has had a long and distinguished career working as an applied statistician and data scientist focused on the monitoring and modelling of environmental systems – within Queensland, across Australia and globally. She has significant research and innovation leadership experience, including, most recently in her role as the Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Vice-President (Research and Innovation) for The University of Queensland. Born in Queensland, Professor Harch is passionate about scientific and innovation endeavours that make our communities more secure, resilient and sustainable.
Her scientific career started with a joint Bachelor's Degree in Science (with Honours) in Australian Environmental Studies at Griffith University and a Graduate Diploma in Secondary Teaching (Science & Mathematics) from QUT in 1991. She followed this with an industry-funded doctorate (PhD) at The University of Queensland using statistics to study the biology of agricultural plant collections.
She led significant research and scientific initiatives for CSIRO for 18 years focused on the ICT, environmental and agricultural sectors. In 2014, Professor Harch joined QUT in the joint role of Deputy Executive Director of the Institute for Future Environments (IFE) and the Associate Dean of Research in the Science and Engineering Faculty. Professor Harch then took on the role of Executive Director of IFE in 2016, where she focused on delivering transdisciplinary research impact engaging all areas of the university and supporting researchers through world-class access to research infrastructure at QUT and beyond. While at QUT she co-led the successful bid and funding for the Food Agility Co-operative Research Centre.
In her most recent role as the Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Vice-President (Research and Innovation) at The University of Queensland she supported three successfully funded Australian Research Council Centres of Excellence in 2019 and a Strategic University Research Fund on Agrifood Innovation in 2021. Additionally, she facilitated a Trailblazer Commercialisation Program investment for a Food and Beverage Accelerator in 2022, the largest research funding ever awarded to the university.
Sharing her expertise, Professor Harch has served on multiple boards and advisory committees including the Federal Government Industry Innovation and Science Australia, the Federal Government Future Drought Fund Hubs Advisory Committee, the Great Barrier Reef Foundation Science Advisory Committee, the Federal Government Co-operative Research Centre Advisory Committee, the Queensland Government Innovation Advisory Council, and the Queensland Museum Network.
In 2015, Professor Harch was elected as a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering. That same year she was also inducted into the “Hall of Fame” of the secondary school she attended for her excellence, influence and impact across science, technology, engineering and mathematics.