Description: Science policy is one of the more popular ‘non-traditional’ careers for graduate students and postdocs looking to leave the lab. However, breaking into the field can be tough. There are fellowships available (the AAAS S&T Policy Fellowships are the best known), but these are extremely competitive and, for those working in the US, usually not open to non-citizens. In this webinar, we’ll look at what working in science policy actually involves (including ‘science for policy’ versus ‘policy for science’), who does it, and how to get a foot in the door. Matt is an Australian scientist who worked in the US and transitioned into science policy before returning to Australia earlier this year. He’ll talk about his career path to date and take questions from participants thinking about moving into science policy.
Bio: Dr Matt Wenham is the Executive Manager, Policy and Projects at the Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering, Australia’s Learned Academy for applied science and technology. Matt leads ATSE’s policy team, which provides independent, evidence-based advice to government and industry based on the expertise of over 800 Fellows of the Academy.
Prior to joining ATSE, Matt was a Senior Policy Associate at the Mitchell Institute for Health and Education Policy, an independent think tank based in Melbourne, Australia. In this role he established a program on early childhood development for the Institute, working with researchers and policy makers from the health and education sectors across Australia. Prior to returning to Australia, Matt was Associate Director with the Institute on Science for Global Policy, a non-profit organization based in Washington, DC that aims to help improve and expand the dialogue between scientists and policy makers on key public policy issues impacted by science and technology. The ISGP was founded by Dr George Atkinson, former science and technology adviser to US Secretaries of State Colin Powell and Condoleezza Rice. As Associate Director of the Institute, Matt was responsible for programs on emerging infectious diseases and biosecurity, food safety and security, and emerging technologies, and managed a team of staff and fellows located throughout the US and overseas.
Before joining the ISGP, Matt was a postdoctoral fellow in the National Institute for Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases at the US National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland. In addition to conducting his research work on the interactions between pathogenic bacteria and mammalian cells, he was the co-chair of the NIH Fellows’ Committee, representing over 4000 fellows in the NIH intramural program. He also held roles as NIDDK representative on FelCom, NIH liaison to the National Postdoctoral Association, and an editor of the NIDDK fellows’ newsletter.
Matt grew up in Adelaide, South Australia and received his Bachelor of Science and Honours degrees in biochemistry from the University of Adelaide. He then worked at the University of Melbourne as a researcher and tutor in biochemistry. In 2005, Matt was selected as a Rhodes Scholar for Australia-at-Large and moved to the University of Oxford to undertake his DPhil (PhD) at the Sir William Dunn School of Pathology. The last two years of his research were performed at the Cambridge Institute for Medical Research, University of Cambridge. After completing his doctorate in July 2009, Matt spent 3 months working as a teacher and teacher trainer in Malawi, before moving to the United States. During his time in Washington, DC, Matt participated in science policy fellowships with Scientists and Engineers for America and the ISGP. Matt has served in the Australian Army Reserve and completed the reserve officer commissioning course at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst, UK. In 2003, he was awarded the Australian Centenary Medal, for services to the community as chair of the South Australian Government’s ministerial advisory council on youth affairs.