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UNSW has announced the appointment of Professor Emma Johnston as Dean of Science.

Currently Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Research) at UNSW, Professor Johnston brings an exceptional combination of research, leadership and communication skills to the role of Dean, which she will take up in May 2017.

Professor Johnston is a leading authority in marine ecology and her research has been recognised with numerous awards, including the 2014 Australian Academy of Science Nancy Millis Medal for Women in Science, the 2012 NSW Science and Engineering Award for Excellence in Biological Sciences and the Hynes Award from the Canadian Rivers Institute (2016).

In 2012, Professor Johnston was appointed the inaugural director of the Sydney Harbour Research Program at the Sydney Institute of Marine Science. As head of the Applied Marine and Estuarine Ecology Lab at UNSW, she has led more than 20 major research projects for industry, government, the Australian Research Council and the Australian Antarctic Science Program.

It is an honour to lead the Faculty of Science, which is a living treasure and recognised nationally as a symbol of curiosity and creativity.

Professor Johnston is a high-profile science communicator, winning the 2015 Eureka Prize for Promoting Understanding of Australian Science Research. She is a regular media commentator and, as co-presenter for the Foxtel/BBC television series, Coast Australia, has helped take Australian marine science to an international audience.

As a leading authority in her field and a skilled communicator, Johnston has engaged with government and industry to influence policy. She is also an effective advocate for gender equity in science and is currently Vice-President of Science & Technology Australia.

For her leadership achievements, she was last week honoured with the Emerging Leader Award in The Australian Financial Review 2016 Higher Education Awards.

UNSW President and Vice-Chancellor Ian Jacobs congratulated Professor Johnston on her new role.

“I am very excited by Emma’s appointment as Dean and I believe her vision, proven leadership ability and participatory approach will ensure that Science is at the forefront of implementing the UNSW 2025 Strategy.

“Through her research and knowledge transfer activities, Emma embodies our University’s academic excellence, social engagement and global impact priorities,” Professor Jacobs said.

Professor Johnston said she was thrilled to take up the position of Dean.

“It is an honour to lead the Faculty of Science, which is a living treasure and recognised nationally as a symbol of curiosity and creativity.

“I relish the opportunity to be given guardianship of this science powerhouse to help us grow in our discovery and our impact, and to inspire our staff and students to even greater achievements.

“The 21st Century is a time of profound, science and technology-led global disruption and change. We have an unprecedented opportunity to play a key role in finding solutions to many of the challenges we face,” Professor Johnston said.

The Vice-Chancellor thanked Professor Peter Lovibond for taking on the role of Acting Dean during 2016, and for "leading superbly, in the very best interest of the Faculty and UNSW".

"Peter made it clear some months ago that he did not wish to be a candidate for Dean. I am enormously grateful that he has agreed to continue in the role of Acting Dean until Emma commences in May 2017 and then continue as Deputy Dean.”