Catherine Patricia (Cathy) Foley
Catherine Patricia Foley was born in Sydney, NSW on 10 October 1957. Her parents’ occupations were accountant and architect. Her schooling was at St Anthony’s primary school and Santa Sabina College for high school. Early influences were her mother, who died when Cathy was nine years old, and her older brothers and sister.
Cathy initially planned to be a school teacher as she thought only really smart people were scientists and she says she did not know any. However, when the opportunity arose she enrolled for a PhD in Physics and so commenced her science career. She had always loved nature, was a natural at science at school and had a desire to make a difference.
Her tertiary education was a DipEd, High School Physics, Macquarie University, 1979, a BSc (Hons 1), majoring in Physics from Macquarie University in 1980 and PhD in Physics, Macquarie University, 1984. She spent six months on a scholarship as a Research Fellow, Department of Electrical Engineering, Oregon State University USA in Corvallis while writing up her PhD.
She joined the CSIRO Division of Materials Science in 1985 as a National Research Fellow, being promoted to Senior Research Scientist in 1991, Principal Research Scientist in 1996, Senior Principal Research Scientist in 2000 and Chief Research Scientist in 2008.
Cathy has made distinguished contributions to the understanding of superconducting materials and to the development of devices using superconductors for a number of applications including to detect magnetic fields and locate valuable deposits of minerals.
She was Acting Project Leader, Superconducting Sensors and Technology Project 1995-96; Project Leader, Superconducting Devices and Applications Project, 1996-2009; Stream Leader, Applied Quantum Systems, 2003-04; Theme Leader, Nanoscale Manufacturing, 2005-07 and Research Program Leader from 2007-10.
In September 2018, Cathy became CSIRO Chief Scientist. As a leader in CSIRO, she is working to help Australia to transform to be globally competitive and sustainable by engaging with Australian researchers, government and industry to assist with the translation of research for a healthy and sustainable Australia that is also economically successful.
She was Coordinator, Advanced Materials transformational Capability Platform (August 2008-2011) and served as Acting Deputy Chief-Research from April to July 2009. She was appointed Chief of the Division of Materials Science and Engineering in 2011.
From 1988 to 1993 she was a Science correspondent for ABC 2BL radio evening program and since 1989 has been an Honorary Research Associate of the School of Physics, University of Sydney.
She is also the Chair of the Australian National Fabrication Facility Victorian Node Collaboration Committee and the ARC Steel Hub Advisory Committee as well as sitting on several other committees and boards. She has made significant contributions to the scientific community as president of several scientific societies and as a member of committees such as PMSEIC giving advice to Government on scientific and technological matters.
She was awarded the ‘Woman of the Year’ by the NSW Government in 2013 and the International IEEE Award for Continuing and Significant Contributions to Applied Superconductivity 2014. In 2015 she was awarded the Clunies Ross Medal of the Australian Academy of Technological Science and Engineering and Australian Institute of Physics’ Outstanding Service to Physics Award.
Publications and presentations
By 2010, Cathy Foley had published 83 refereed papers in international journals; 44 papers in conference proceedings, 4 book chapters, 4 provisional patent applications, 1 granted, 43 other publications and reports and had 1 327 citations in ISI Science Citation Index (10 July 2010) with an average of 14.96 citations per paper.
She has been a Keynote Speaker at the AIP Congress – Condensed Matter 2003-05; the Women in Physics conference 2005 and the Australian Science Teachers’ Association Conference in 2008; and an invited Plenary Speaker at 11 international meetings during the period 2002-10.
Honours and awards
|2008||Fellow, Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering|
|1999||Fellow, Institute of Physics, UK|
|2013||NSW Premier’s Award for Woman of the Year|
|Public School Parent of the Year, NSW Department of Education for services to public school education over an extended period of 12 years|
|2009||Winner Telstra National and NSW Business Women of the Year – Innovation|
|2008||One of ‘100 Most Influential People’ in Sydney, Sydney Morning Herald (one of five scientists given this accolade)|
|2007 – 08||IEEE Distinguished Lecturer, Superconductivity|
|2007||CSIRO Medal for Research Achievement – LANDTEM|
|2007||Macquarie University Alumni Award for Distinguished Service|
|2003||Public Service Medal, awarded in the Australia Day Honours list|
|2003||Eureka Prize for the Promotion of Science|
|1984||IUVSTA Welch Foundation Scholarship|
|1981 – 84||Commonwealth Postgraduate Research Award|
|1980||CSIRO Vacation Scholarship|
|1980||Plessey Prize for Proficiency in Materials Science|
|1977 – 80||NSW Education Department University Scholarship|
|1975||NSW Department of Equation High School Scholarship|
|2010||Guest Speaker: Graduation Ceremony, University of Newcastle|
|2007||Public Lectures: Sydney, Devonport, Hobart, Melbourne (Deakin Lecture)|
|2006||Guest Speaker: Graduation Ceremony, Macquarie University|
|2004||Joyce Allen Public Lecture, ANZAS|
|2004||National Youth Science Forum debate and after dinner speaker|
|2010||Co-Chair, 3rd International Conference on Nanoscience and Nanotechnology, ICONN 2010, Sydney|
|2008||Chair, 1st International NanoSQUID Symposium, Sydney|
|2005||Chair, 9th International Superconducting Electronics Conference, Sydney|
|2004||Publication Chair, Applied Superconductivity Conference, ASC 2004, Jacksonville, USA|
|2003||Chair of the International Superconducting Electronics Conference, Sydney|
|2001||Inaugural Convenor of Women In Superconductivity, USA|
|2000||Board Member of Applied Superconductivity Conference, USA|
|1999-||International Advisory Committee, International Superconducting Electronics Conference|
|2009||Guest Editor, IOP journal Superconductor Science and Technology, UK, special editions|
|2008||Appointed Editor, Reviews and Rapid Communications, IOP journal Superconductor Science and Technology, UK|
|2005 – 2006||Guest Editor, IEEE Transactions in Applied Superconductivity, USA|
|2003-||Lead Technical Editor, Electronics, IEEE Transactions in Applied Superconductivity, USA|
|2003||Guest Editor, IOP journal Superconductor Science and Technology, UK, special editions|
|2003-||Editorial Board Member of the IOP journal Superconducting Science and Technology, UK|
|2000 – 2002||Advisory Board of the IOP journal Superconductor Science and Technology, UK|
|1998 – 2003||Technical Editor, IEEE Transactions in Applied Superconductivity, USA|
Boards, Committees and Organisations
|2009 – 11||Member, Prime Ministers Science and Engineering Innovation Council (PMSEIC)|
|2009 – 11||President Federation of Science and Technology Societies (FASTS)|
|2009 – 11||Immediate Past President of the National Executive of the Australian Institute of Physics|
|2009 – 10||Member, Australian Chief Scientist’s Foresighting Committee on Knowledge Generation, Skills and Perception|
|2008-||Member of IEEE Technical Council of Superconductivity, USA|
|2008 – 09||President-Elect Federation of Science and Technology Societies (FASTS)|
|2007-||University Advisory Board, School of Engineering, University of Western Sydney|
|2007-||University Advisory Board, School of Materials Science and Engineering, University of New South Wales|
|2007 – 08||President of the National Executive of the Australian Institute of Physics|
|2007||Appointment to Questacon Advisory Board by the Minister for Science|
|2007||Review Panel of the Facility of Science, University of New South Wales|
|2006-||Member of the Physics Committee, Academy of Science|
|2006-||University Advisory Board, School of Physics, University of Sydney|
|2006||Review Panel of the Facility of Science, University of Newcastle|
|2005 – 06||Vice President of the National Executive of the Australian Institute of Physics|
|2005||Australian National Convenor, Einstein International Year of Physics|
|2001 – 04||Honorary Treasurer of the National Executive of the Australian Institute of Physics|
- Foley CP, 2010, Personal communication.