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Innovation and Science Australia board members

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Get to know Innovation and Science Australia’s (ISA) Board. Our 12 members and special advisor are high-profile entrepreneurs, investors, researchers and educators with extensive local and global experience.

Mr Bill Ferris AC

Title: Chair

State: New South Wales

Expertise:

  • Founded Australia’s first venture capital firm in 1970.
  • Current directorships: CHAMP Private Equity, Member of the Harvard Business School Asia Pacific Advisory Council.
  • Former directorships: Chairman of Garvan Institute of Medical Research, Chair of the Australian Government’s Health and Hospitals Fund advisory board, Chairman of Australian Trade Commission (Austrade), Director of Garvan Research Foundation.
  • Joined the expert panel for the Australian Government's Strategic Review of Health and Medical Research in October 2011.
  • Made Companion in the Order of Australia for his philanthropic activities as a leader in support of medical research, and his role in establishing the Australian private equity sector in 2008.
  • Made an Officer of the Order of Australia for services to the export industry in 1990
  • Author of 3 books: ‘Inside Private Equity’ published January 2013, ‘Nothing Ventured, Nothing Gained’ published March 2000, and ‘Really Making a Difference’ published December 1993.

Qualifications:

  • Honours degree in Economics, The University of Sydney (USYD).
  • Master of Business Administration, Harvard Business School (HBS), where he graduated as a Baker Scholar in 1970.

Dr Alan Finkel AO

Title: Deputy Chair

State: Victoria

Current position: Australia’s Chief Scientist

Expertise:

  • Extensive science background as an entrepreneur, engineer, neuroscientist and educator.
  • Former Chancellor of Monash University and President of the Australian Academy of Technology and Engineering (ATSE).
  • Current directorships: Chair of the Prime Minister's Prizes Selection Committee.
  • Former directorships: Chair of the Australian Centre of Excellence for All-Sky Astrophysics (CAASTRO), Director of the ASX-listed diagnostics company Cogstate Limited, Executive Chair of the educational software company Stile Education, Chair of Manhattan Investment Group.
  • Founded Axon Instruments, a California-based ASX-listed company that made precision scientific instruments used in the discovery of new medicines.
  • Established the Australian course in Advanced Neuroscience to train early career neuroscientists.
  • Co-founded Cosmos Magazine, which operates as a magazine, and a secondary school’s science education program.
  • Read Dr Alan Finkel’s full biography on Australia’s Chief Scientist website.

Qualifications:

  • PhD in Electrical Engineering, Monash University.
  • Worked as a postdoctoral research fellow in neuroscience at the Australian National University (ANU).

Dr Bronte Adams AM

State: Victoria

Current position: Managing Director, Dandolo Partners International

Expertise:

  • Previously led the Victorian Government’s technology arm, reforming government through the use of technology, managing major procurements, attracting foreign investment and stimulating the uptake of technology across commercial, public and community sectors.
  • Current and former directorships: Rhodes Trust, Australia, Victorian Education Research Network, UNESCO Australian National Commission, VicStart Technology Commercialisation, Victorian Science Technology Innovation Infrastructure Grants Program.
  • Made a Member of the Order of Australia in 2016, for significant service to the community through executive roles in business, publishing, health and industry innovation, and cultural organisations.
  • Read Dr Bronte Adam’s full biography on the Dandolo Partners website.

Qualifications:

  • DPhil from Oxford University, where she attended as a Rhodes Scholar. 
  • Undergraduate honours degree, University of Western Australia (UWA).

Dr Michele Allen

State: Victoria

Current position: Chancellor, Charles Sturt University (CSU)

Expertise:

  • Areas of expertise include governance, leadership, strategy, agricultural systems innovation, organisational strategy, risk and insurance leadership, food safety systems implementation, food packaging innovation and IP commercialisation.
  • Current directorships: Chair of Meat and Livestock Australia, Non-Executive Director of CSIRO, Chair of Apple and Pear Australia Limited, Non-Executive Director of Food Innovation Australia Limited, Non-Executive Director of Food Agility CRC, member of Cooperative Research Centres advisory committee, Non-Executive Director of Nuffield Australia and Grain Growers Limited.
  • Has held senior executive positions with Amcor Limited, Bonlac Foods, Bioinformatics Centre of Excellence Tasmania, Kraft Foods and Imperial Chemical Industries (ICI).
  • Read Dr Michele Allen’s full biography on the University Chancellors Council website.

Qualifications:

  • Bachelor of Applied Science, University of Technology Sydney (UTS).
  • Master of Management of Technology, The University of Melbourne.
  • Master Commercial Law, Deakin University.
  • Doctorate, RMIT University.

Mr Paul Bassat

State: Victoria

Current position: Co-founder of Square Peg Capital

Expertise:

  • Co-founder of SEEK.com. In 14 years went from a startup to one of Australia's top 100 companies and the world's largest online employment business.
  • Current directorships: Wesfarmers Ltd, Commissioner of the Australian Football League (AFL), Director of AFL Sportsready Pty Ltd, The Prince's Charities Australia Trust, the Peter MacCallum Cancer Foundation, the Mount Scopus College Foundation, the P&S Bassat Foundation.
  • Read Mr Paul Bassat’s full biography on the Square Peg Capital website.

Qualifications:

  • Bachelor of Laws, The University of Melbourne.
  • Bachelor of Commerce, The University of Melbourne.

Ms Maile Carnegie

State: New South Wales

Current position: Group Executive Digital Banking, ANZ

Expertise:

  • Extensive career leading business innovation programs in large corporations, with particular expertise in how large mature organisations stay competitive in the face of digital disruption, and applying a fresh approach to complex problem solving.
  • Formerly the Managing Director of Google Australia/New Zealand.
  • Current directorships: Chair of the University of Technology (Sydney) Vice Chancellor advisory board, member of the Federal Treasurer’s FinTech advisory board.
  • Former directorships: Vice-Chair ASIC advisory board, Director B20, Director Australia Food and Grocery council, Director NSW Treasurer advisory board.
  • Read Ms Maile Carnegie’s full biography on the Chief Executive Women’s website.

Qualifications:

Degree in Business Administration in Finance, Economics and Marketing, UTS.

Mr Scott Farquhar

State: New South Wales

Current position: Co-Founder and Co-CEO of Atlassian

Expertise:

  • Awarded the Corporate Social Responsibility Award in 2011, by the Young Presidents’ Organization.
  • Helped spearhead Pledge 1% in 2015, a corporate philanthropy movement dedicated to making the community a key stakeholder in every business.
  • Youngest person ever to be awarded the ‘Australian Entrepreneur of the Year’ in 2006 by Ernst & Young.
  • Named on the 2017 Forbes Global Game Changers list for his part in reshaping the world.
  • Read Mr Scott Farquhar’s full biography on the Atlassian website.   

Qualifications:

  • Bachelor of Science in Business Information Technology, The University of New South Wales (UNSW).

Professor Bronwyn Harch

State: Queensland

Current position: Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research), University of Queensland (UQ)

Expertise:

  • An applied statistician and research leader with two decades of experience working across the agriculture, environment, health, manufacturing and energy sectors.
  • Led the Institute for Future Environments (IFE)—a transdisciplinary research institute—at the Queensland University of Technology (QUT).
  • Worked at CSIRO for 18 years as a researcher and research strategist, was the Chief of CSIRO’s Division of Computational Informatics, and previously the Deputy Director of CSIRO’s Sustainable Agriculture Flagship.
  • Read Professor Bronwyn Harch’s full biography on the UQ website.

Qualifications:

  • Holds a joint Science Degree (Honours) in Environmental Science and Secondary Teaching (Mathematics and Science), Griffith University/QUT.
  • PhD (funded by the Grains Research and Development Corporation), The University of Queensland (UQ).

Mr Daniel Petre AO

State: New South Wales

Current position: Partner and Co-Founder AirTree Ventures

Expertise:

  • Was the founding Chairman of Netus (a technology investment company).
  • Founded Australia's largest internet investment company, eCORP, (a subsidiary of Publishing and Broadcasting Limited).
  • Current directorships: Sydney Theatre Company Board, Garvan Institute of Medical Research Board, McGraths Property Board, Smart Sparrow Board.
  • Adjunct Professor at the Business School of USYD, and the Business School of UNSW.
  • Read Mr Daniel Petre’s full biography on the UNSW Business School website.

Qualifications:

  • Bachelor of Computer Science.
  • Master of Business Administration.

Dr Christopher Roberts AO

State: New South Wales

Expertise:

  • Over 40 years of experience in international medical device businesses.
  • Former Chief Executive Officer/President of Cochlear Limited.
  • Served as ResMed's Executive Vice-President.
  • Current directorships: Non-Executive Director ResMed Inc, Cochlear Foundation, Jobs NSW Board, Health Innovation Advisory Council of the NHMRC, Centenary Institute of Cancer Medicine and Cell Biology Board of Governors, Monash University Industry Council of Advisers, NSW Innovation and Productivity Council, UTS VC's Industry Advisory Board, UNSW Faculty of Medicine Advisory Council.
  • Read Dr Christopher Robert’s full biography on the UNSW Engineering website

Qualifications:

  • Bachelor of Engineering with Honours in Chemical Engineering, UNSW.
  • Master Business Administration, Macquarie University.
  • PhD, UNSW.
  • Awarded Honorary Doctor of Science degrees from both Macquarie University and UNSW.
  • Plus Alliance Professor, across three universities: UNSW, King's College London and Arizona State University.

Mr Saul Singer

State: Overseas

Expertise:

  • Co-author of the best-selling book ‘Start-Up Nation: The Story of Israel's Economic Miracle’.
  • Editorial board member at the Times of Israel.
  • Serves on the advisory boards of Vintage Investment Partners (an Israeli fund of funds), and Tevel B’Tsedek (an Israeli NGO working in Nepal, Haiti, and Burundi).

Dr Heather Smith PSM

Title: Ex-officio member

State: Australian Capital Territory

Current position: Secretary, Department of Industry, Innovation and Science

Expertise:

  • Held the position of Secretary of the Department of Communications and the Arts.
  • Held the position of Deputy Secretary in the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet and the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.
  • Held the position of Deputy Director-General, Office of National Assessments.
  • Worked at the Reserve Bank of Australia, the ANU and the Australian Treasury.

Qualifications:

  • Bachelor of Economics (First Class Honours), UQ.
  • Masters and PhD in Economics, ANU.

Dr Marlene Kanga AM

Title: Special Advisor to the Board

State: New South Wales

Expertise:

  • Current directorships: Chair Department of Industry innovation and Science, R&D Incentives Committee, iOmniscient Pty. Ltd, Sydney Water Corporation, Air Services Australia, the Hearing Cooperative Research Centre.
  • National President of Engineers Australia and President Elect of the World Federation of Engineering Organisations.

Qualifications:

  • Degrees in Chemical Engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology Bombay and Imperial College, University of London.
  • Doctorate in Finance, Macquarie University

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Last updated: 19 July 2018

Content ID: 26771