Professor Penny Sackett is a Distinguished Honorary Professor at the Fenner School of Environment and Society and the ANU Institute for Climate Energy and Disaster Solutions.
Professor Sackett is a physical scientist with a strong background in research, policy advice, and the synthesis and communication of climate science and its relationship to energy systems. Her continued interests include sustainability, transdisciplinary research, team building, sub-national climate change action, complex systems, effective communication, quantitative analysis, and leadership during change and uncertainty.
With broad national and international networks, Professor Sackett has advised national and sub-national governments on effective climate action. Some of her current work is devoted to providing expert reports to courts and consent authorities on the climate impacts of new or continued fossil fuel developments.
Trained in the United States, Professor Sackett has held positions at the Princeton Institute for Advanced Study, Kapteyn Astronomical Institute in the Netherlands, and the Australian National University (ANU). As a Research School Director, she led the multi-million dollar effort to rebuild the world-renowned Mt Stromlo Observatory after it was destroyed in 2003 by bushfires, re-establishing it as an international centre for research, training, and high-tech instrumentation at ANU, and initiating its partnership in the Giant Magellan Telescope.
As Chief Scientist for Australia (2008-2011), Professor Sackett provided independent advice to the Australian government on matters of science and innovation, and was a vocal champion of evidenced-based decision making. She spearheaded the effort to introduce long-term, cross-portfolio and cross-disciplinary foresight into the Prime Minister’s Science, Engineering and Innovation Council, and opened new channels of communication to the Australian public on matters of science, particularly those related to sustainability such as energy, water, climate change, food security, global epidemics, and life-long learning.