Our office

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


Professor Dame Juliet Gerrard FRSNZ HonFRSC

Prime Minister’s Chief Science Advisor
Kaitohutohu Mātanga Pūtaiao Matua ki te Pirimia

Juliet has held the position of Chief Science Advisor since July 2018. Juliet’s vision for the role centres around four qualities: rigour, inclusivity, transparency and accessibility.  She aims to create a trusted bridge between science, society and government.

Juliet is also a Professor at the University of Auckland. Her academic research is in protein biochemistry, investigating protein-protein interactions and applied research in the food industry.

Juliet’s executive assistant, Jacqui Barclay, can be contacted at EA@pmcsa.ac.nz

Dr Susie Meade

Principal Advisor

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.


Dr George Slim


George provides policy advice to the PMCSA 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.

Colson Verdonk

Dr Rebecca Benson

Senior Research and Policy Analyst 

Rebecca is a Senior Research and Policy Analyst. Her background is in quantitative social science, and she has worked at the intersection of research and policy at University College London, King’s College London, and Queen Mary University of London. Rebecca earned her PhD in Public Policy at the University of Texas at Austin, and has an MPH from the University of Otago.

Dr Emma Brown

(Ngāpuhi, Ngāti Maru, Ngāti Pūkenga, Ngāi Te Rangi)
Senior Research and Policy Analyst

Emma is a Senior Research and Policy Analyst. She has a background in Chemical & Materials Engineering. Emma completed her BE(Hons) at the University of Auckland in 2013. She went on to work in the steel industry as a process engineer across various business units. In 2017 Emma returned to the University of Auckland to complete a PhD in the Chemical & Materials Engineering department, with a specific focus on biological tissue mechanics. Her PhD was completed in 2021. While carrying out her PhD studies she was also employed by the department as a Professional Teaching Fellow with the majority of her teaching involvement focused on engineering communication, innovation and project management. 

Emma is on maternity leave until April 2024.

headshot of Jacques smiling

Dr Jacques de Satge

Senior Research and Policy Analyst

Jacques is a Senior Research and Policy Analyst. He has a background in environmental sciences and completed his PhD in Conservation Biology at Massey University in 2023. Prior to his PhD, Jacques worked and studied in Belgium, Germany, and South Africa, in disciplines spanning conservation, ecology, science communication, and media studies. Trained in systems-thinking, Jacques is adept at problem solving across multiple scales and contexts.

headshot of Jacques smiling

Carolle Varughese

Research analyst and writer

Carolle is a research analyst and writer. Having worked at high schools, universities, and not-for-profit organisations, she blends her public policy, education, and physics expertise as a science communicator and outreach specialist. Carolle completed her Master of Public Policy at the University of Auckland, focusing on space policy in New Zealand.