Former prime minister Julia Gillard has been appointed chair of the UK-based Wellcome Trust, one of the world’s largest investors in medical research.
Former prime minister Julia Gillard has been appointed chair of the UK-based Wellcome Trust, one of the world's largest investors in medical research.
Ms Gillard, who served as prime minister from 2010 to 2013, will take on the new role in April next year.
Ms Gillard said she was honoured by the appointment and had been constantly inspired by the quality and dedication of the research community.
"As the coronavirus pandemic reminds us, science matters to everyone in our interconnected world. We are all indebted to those whose expertise and hard work enables us to be safer and healthier," she said.
The announcement on Friday comes as the company continues its work on tackling the coronavirus outbreak, with Ms Gillard backing the federal government's calls for an inquiry into its origins.
"If a major health challenge for the world started anywhere, in any country on earth, then it is good to have a process which enables us to learn every lesson so that we can keep humanity safer for the future," she told the ABC.
"Wellcome has directly invested in the therapeutics accelerator ... that's all about trying to ensure we get as many treatments and options to deal with COVID-19 as possible."
Ms Gillard, who will succeed Baroness Eliza Manningham-Buller as Wellcome chair, also serves as the chair of Global Partnership for Education, which works to expand access and quality education worldwide, and Beyond Blue, Australia's leading mental health awareness body.
Professor Sir Michael Ferguson, Deputy Chair of Wellcome's Board of Governors, who led the recruitment process, said the board was "delighted" with the appointment, describing Ms Gillard as "an inspirational and visionary leader".
Ms Gillard said the role was "a dream come true" and that she had "big shoes to fill".
"I will relish supporting and speaking up for scientific research into key health challenges," she said.
In 2017, Ms Gillard was awarded a Companion of the Order of Australia.
She has held multiple leadership roles across the globe and received worldwide attention for her 2012 parliamentary speech on the treatment of women in professional and public life.
Ms Gillard, who was born in Wales, will spend a substantial amount of her time in the UK to fulfil her role.
Source: 9News https://www.9news.com.au/national/julia-gillard-named-chair-wellcome-trust-large-medical-trust-funding-coronavirus-treatments/efbc83e4-75eb-460a-af12-b5d3a5248ffc