Julia Gillard has been appointed as the next Chair of the Wellcome Trust, a London based organisation that aims to take on big health challenges by supporting researchers and campaigning for better science.
Right now Wellcome is also one of the globe’s biggest investors in medical research, including on the search for a COVID-19 vaccine.
The former Australian Prime Minister starts in the role in April 2021, and will take over from Eliza Manningham-Buller. In a statement on the news, Gillard said she will “relish supporting and speaking up for scientific research into key health challenges.”
Upon announcing the role, Gillard told the ABC that the world must learn lessons from the pandemic and backed the push for an investigation.
“If a major health challenge for the world started anywhere, in any country on earth, then it is good to have a process that enables us to learn every lesson so that we can keep humanity safer for the future,” she said.
“I think that that message applies today to current circumstances, and it will apply for as long as there are shared health challenges for us to combat.”
She said it’s not a matter of pointing fingers, but rather ensuring that “lessons can be learned”.
Gillard said on Twitter she’s “delighted” to be taking on a role in an organisation that’s at the forefront of both COVID-19 and mental health research.
Gillard currently serves as the Chair of Global Partnership for Education, which is dedicated to expanding educational access and quality worldwide, along with Beyond Blue, Australia’s leading mental health awareness body.