Profile: Allison Britt’s career combines science, communications and a love of minerals

April 27, 2023

“My most satisfying job is helping to ensure that Australia understands its own national minerals inventory.”

Allison Britt unlocked the synergy of her science and communication skills at university.

You could say that, in the 1990s, Allison was a step ahead of her time. She took an interest in the confluence of geoscience and environmentalism at a moment when the possibility that the two could, or indeed should, coexist was  a bit of a novelty.

“I studied at ANU under some of Australia’s leading geologists,” she says. “The program was academically rigorous, and the thought at the time was that ANU geology students would have a solid grounding in all the major science subjects that could then be applied to whatever career path they chose.

“That kind of thinking and the scientific thought processes  — these just get passed down the generations.”

As she was leaving, ANU established the School of Resource and Environmental Management, making Britt’s area of interest the crest of an environmental land management wave we’re still surfing today.

“As I was leaving university, jobs were just becoming available in the mining industry for environmental management,” she recalls. “Some of my university colleagues went into that career path. We were right on the cusp of that shift.”

Britt herself joined the CSIRO, where she worked as a science communicator changing public conception of the mining industry as environmentally irresponsible and destructive. That revelation was not received so warmly by some of the old blokes in industry, she says, but her managers at the CSIRO supported her and that understanding has driven the rest of her career.

She spent several years overseas, and returned to Australia in 2008, when she joined the government body Geoscience Australia.

“My most satisfying job is helping to ensure that Australia understands its own national minerals inventory,” she says. “It is now my great privilege as the director of mineral resources, advice and promotion to be helping lead Australia’s critical minerals program.” 

– Rachael Bolton

[PATH]

  • Bachelor of Science, ANU
  • Research Scientist, CSIRO
  • Commodity Specialist, Geoscience Australia
  • Director of Mineral Resources, Advice and Promotion, Geoscience Australia

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