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 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 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 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.

Dr Rachel Chiaroni-Clarke

Senior research and policy analyst

Rachel is a senior research and policy analyst. 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

Research analyst and writer

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.

Ellen Rykers

Research analyst and writer

Ellen is a research analyst and writer. An award-winning science journalist, her work has appeared in National GeographicNew 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.  Prior to joining the team, she worked in the Communications and Outreach team at the Australian Academy of Science in Canberra.