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Welcome to the July 2023 CSIRO Alumni network newsletter.

In this month’s newsletter you can read about our new Chief Executive, the latest events, feedback from our alumni survey, our alumni volunteers and find out about free courses and opportunities to get involved.

WEHI's Professor Doug Hilton appointed as CSIRO Chief Executive
The Board of Directors of CSIRO have appointed Professor Doug Hilton, AO, as Chief Executive, commencing on 29 September 2023.

Professor Hilton is a molecular and cellular biologist, Director of the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research (WEHI), the Lorenzo and Pamela Galli Chair in Medical Biology and head of the Department of Medical Biology in the Faculty of Medicine, Dentistry and Health Sciences at the University of Melbourne.

GenCost: Wind and solar remain the lowest cost new build electricity generation sources despite inflationary pressures
Renewables, led by wind and solar, have retained their position as Australia’s cheapest new-build electricity generation despite a 20 per cent average rise in technology costs, according to the latest GenCost report.

Forget Barbie: Meet CSIRO's real-life STEM role models

Meet our inspiring women in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) with Barbie's job titles.

Help grow our alumni network
We now have over 4,800 members but we know that there are many more former colleagues out there. Help us build the alumni network and forward this newsletter on or share the link to alumni registration

Calling out to alumni in the US

Your US colleagues would like to connect with you! Since leaving CSIRO in Australia, we know you are continuing to do important and innovative work, and we would love to learn about it. The newly appointed Australian Ambassador Kevin Rudd wants to learn about Australian expatriates, especially the CSIRO scientific community and the work you continue to do globally. Whether it's for insights, intelligence gathering, invitations to events, speaking opportunities or just a coffee - we want to be a meaningful part of your community. Please reach out to Dawn and we can reconnect in a way that works for you.

CSIRO Alumni 2023 Survey

Thank you to everyone who participated in our 2023 survey. We value our former staff and want to ensure our alumni program is relevant for you, so these answers will help shape our activities and events.

Please note, if you left a comment on the survey, the responses were anonymous, so we have no way of replying to you directly. There were some lovely offers of help and support for the alumni network – so please get in touch with

Here’s a summary of the key motivators for joining the alumni and our plans to ensure we deliver to your expectations:

Keeping up to date on CSIRO news
We will continue our regular newsletters and update the alumni news pages each week. The alumni news is separated into topics, so you can read about the area of science that is of interest to you.

Keeping in touch with former colleagues:
Although many events are online, we understand there is demand for some smaller in-person gatherings – some of the comments we received included calls for Christmas BBQs, reunions for old departments and more regional events for those who can’t make it to the capital cities. If you are interested in helping with any of these types of events, please contact

If you are looking for a former colleague, please contact us and we can search our membership database and help you reconnect.

Receiving event invitations
One of the other key reasons to join the alumni is to receive event invitations. Our survey showed that over 60% would prefer to join an online event for a CSIRO or external speaker, whether that be an individual or panel event. We will continue to organise these events and send out invitations. You can also check the alumni calendar where we promote a wide range of events from CSIRO and beyond.

If you would like to share your knowledge and expertise and host an online talk, please get in touch – we have had some fantastic alumni speakers at our events and welcome anyone who would like to promote their research.

Many of our respondents were keen to volunteer their time to mentor CSIRO teams and CERC Fellows. We encourage you to explore the wide range of volunteering options and read more about our programs


Many presentations and seminars are now being held online – so you can attend from the comfort of your own home. Our alumni calendar lists both CSIRO and external events, so you can find out about a wide range of events.

Promote your own events
To help connect alumni with one another, we encourage you to list your own events on our website. Let us know if you are organising, presenting or attending events and we can help promote it to the alumni network – please email

News from alumni

We feature a range of alumni stories on our website celebrating the achievements of our members. We encourage members to get in touch and send in their stories of trials and tribulations – all in the name of scientific research!
So, if you have received an award, written a book or have any stories that you’d like to share with the alumni network, please email

Celebrating our alumni volunteers
Volunteers play an important role in all aspects of society, from supporting junior sport to caring for animals and organising cultural and arts events. Volunteers also make a huge contribution to Australian science.

Annie Lane is Chair of the Australian Citizen Science Association, the peak body for citizen science in Australia. Now retired, she began her career with CSIRO, working on the bio-control of weeds in the Northern Territory.

“We know that volunteering provides direct benefits to people’s wellbeing. There’s a lot of positives in connecting with like-minded people and connecting with your community and with nature. The power of place can’t be underestimated,” said Annie.

Dr Anna Liu is another CSIRO alumnus who is passionate about giving back. She said she benefited from many good mentors while employed by CSIRO.
After transitioning into the private sector, Anna now works as Amazon Web Services’ Head of Innovation for Australia and New Zealand.
Anna is a mentor for our ON Prime 12 cohort. Designed to help research teams take their projects to the next level, teams get advice on topics such as creating a new start-up venture.

“I became a volunteer with the ON program because I wanted to give back. I wanted to share what I have learned with a new generation of scientists,” said Anna.

Read more about our volunteers and how you can get involved.

On a sadder note, if you would like to let the alumni network know about the passing of one of our members, please email us and we can post a notice to the news page and also feature an obituary within our stories section.

Vale Dennis Watson
Denis Watson was a Program Manager, Site OIC and Head of Laboratory in CSIRO Division of Animal Health at Armidale in the 1980s and 1990s. Ian Colditz has written this eulogy in memory of his admirable career with CSIRO and beyond.

Vale Beverly Cotton
Beverley Cotton was the chief’s PA for many years

Courses and offers

Join a new frontier of plastics innovation with the Indo-Pacific Plastics Innovation Network

With 90 billion tonnes of primary materials used globally for plastics each year and only 9% of them being recycled, there is an urgent need for action. The Indo-Pacific Plastics Innovation Network (IPPIN), forms part of CSIRO's Ending Plastic Waste Mission and is helping researchers re-think research and how they can commercialise plastics research for impact. We offer a range of completive online entrepreneurial programs and will be launching our Accelerator program in September 2023.

Career Opportunities

Stay in touch

We love to hear from our alumni members, so get in touch and let us know what you are up to – reach out to the network for help or promote your events, research or successes. Please email