CSIRO’s new chief scientist says she will push for more diversity in the research sector.

Dr Cathy Foley, a world-renowned physicist and science leader, will soon take the top job at the national science agency.

She says that without a new injection of diverse talent; “We're just not going to get to where we need to go”.

Dr Foley says one of her first goals is to break down the walls between different parts of the science sector, so that they can better understand each other’s work.

She says Australia's scientists should compete globally and collaborate locally.

“Australia's future prosperity will be fuelled by science,” Dr Foley said.

“Science which creates new industries, new jobs and shapes the minds and aspirations of our future leaders.

“We can't keep thinking about science as something which is locked away in a lab. It connects and drives everything we touch and do.

“I'm looking forward to not just spreading the word, but helping shape the science agenda and raising the profile of the role of women in STEM.

“If you have the culture right, women will come and join, and stay.”

CSIRO chief executive Larry Marshall said Dr Foley would improve the organisation.

“Cathy is a great contributor, with a passion for turning excellent science into powerful solutions for Australia,” he said.