Office of the Prime Minister’s Chief Science Advisor

The Prime Minister’s Chief Science Advisor is supported by a small staff, most of whom are based at the University of Auckland.

Christine Price

Christine Price

Christine Price is the Executive Assistant to Juliet Gerrard. Christine brings enormous experience to the role, and has worked as an EA in New Zealand and the United Kingdom.

Dr Jono Barnsley

Jono Barnsley

Jono has a background in physical chemistry and recently finished his PhD involving the study of highly coloured materials.

He is working on ‘insect decline’ and the potential impacts it has for New Zealand industry and biodiversity. Working alongside the Chief Scientists at Ministry for Primary Industries, MPI, and Department of Conservation, Jono is conducting research into the trends and the state of monitoring efforts both nationally and internationally.

Jono is with the team until January 2020 and is pursuing an analytical career in industry or in government.

Dr Rachel Chiaroni-Clarke

Rachel Chiaroni-Clarke

Rachel is a research analyst and acting director. After her undergraduate studies at the University of Otago, Rachel worked as a research assistant at the Rockefeller University in New York before completing her PhD in medical genetics at the University of Melbourne and Murdoch Children’s Research Institute. Prior to joining our team, Rachel was a writer for a healthcare marketing communications agency in Melbourne and has broad communications experience.

Celia Cunningham

Celia Cunningham

Celia is a research analyst and writer. Prior to joining the office, she spent six years in risk management consulting, with a focus on high-consequence safety risks. Celia has also worked as a policy analyst for the Ministry for Primary Industries, considering issues such as food fortification, usage of agricultural compounds, and food safety. Celia undertook her undergraduate degrees in biological sciences, philosophy and English literature at the University of Auckland. She also completed a research scholarship at the Centre for Applied Philosophy and Public Ethics at the Australian National University and has undertaken scientific internships in government and private sectors.

Dr Susie Meade

Susie Meade

Susie is the Principal Advisor to Juliet Gerrard. Susie’s role also supports the Forum of Chief Science Advisors. She has a rural background, having been bought up on a sheep and beef farm in rural Nelson. Susie completed her PhD in Chemistry at the University of Canterbury. She has over 20 years’ experience in the Aotearoa New Zealand science system as a researcher and in science management. Immediately prior to joining the team, Susie was the manager of a Centre of Research Excellence, QuakeCoRE. Susie will be spending time in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch.   

Ellen Rykers

Ellen Rykers

Ellen is a research analyst and writer. An award-winning science journalist, her work has appeared in National Geographic, New Zealand Geographic and North & South, among other publications. Ellen completed her undergraduate degree in chemistry at the Australian National University. She went on to study a Master of Science Communication at the University of Otago. Here, she specialised in creative non-fiction writing and undertook research on conservation detection dogs. In 2019, she worked in Communications and Outreach at the Australian Academy of Science in Canberra.

Dr George Slim

George Slim

George provides policy advice to the PMSCA and maintains a presence in Wellington for the office.

George is a consultant with Rhadegund Life Sciences ltd working with organisations to provide policy advice, access to science knowledge, assist with funding sources, and consulting on strategy in the management of research and intellectual property.

George has over 30 years’ experience in the science system in New Zealand and offshore. He has worked in academia, the government research sector and government. He obtained his PhD in Chemistry from the University of Otago then left for work in the United Kingdom, at the University of Cambridge and the Medical Research Council’s Laboratory for Molecular Biology. He returned to New Zealand as a researcher at the Crown Research Institute, Industrial Research Ltd, where he stayed for eleven years. Since then he has been with New Zealand Trade and Enterprise and the Ministry of Research Science and Technology before starting Rhadegund Life Sciences. As a consultant he has had major contracts with companies, universities, government agencies, Crown Research Institutes, and industry organisations, including NZBio and Science New Zealand.

He is fluent in Academic, Bureaucrat and Commercial, and an able translator between them.


  Phone: + 64 9 923 6318

Mailing Address

Office of the Prime Minister's Chief Science Advisor
The University of Auckland
Private Bag 92019
Victoria Street West
Auckland 1142
New Zealand