Board members

This page provides detailed biographical information about the Innovation and Science Australia Board members.

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Mr Bill Ferris AC

Portrait picture of Mr Bill Ferris

Chair

State

New South Wales

Current position

Founder and Co-Chair CHAMP Private Equity Group

Expertise/qualifications

Mr Ferris was appointed as Chair of the Innovation and Science Australia Board in November 2015. He has been the Executive Chairman of CHAMP Private Equity since its formation in 2000, and of its predecessor, Australian Mezzanine Investments Pty Ltd (AMIL), which he co- founded in 1987 with Joseph Skrzynski. Mr Ferris is a 45-year veteran of private equity in Australasia, founding Australia’s first venture capital firm in 1970.

Mr Ferris’ current directorships include Co-Chairman; CHAMP Private Equity group and Member of the Harvard Business School Asia Pacific Advisory Council.

Former recent directorships include: Chairman; Garvan Institute of Medical Research and Chair of the of the Federal Government’s Health and Hospitals Fund Advisory Board. Other former directorships include: Chairman; Accolade Wines Australia and UK, Austar United Communications, Australian Trade Commission (Austrade), Macquarie University Asia Pacific Council, and Director; Garvan Research Foundation, Austal Ltd and Australian Institute of Management (NSW) Ltd. Mr Ferris joined the expert panel for the Federal Government's Strategic Review of Health and Medical Research in October 2011.

Mr Ferris was made an Officer of the Order of Australia in 1990 for services to the export industry and in 2008 was made Companion in the Order of Australia for his philanthropic activities, as a leader in support of medical research and his role in the establishment of the private equity sector in Australia.

Awards honouring Bill's contribution to the private equity sector include the most recent award: Leader of the Year, Asia-Pacific, in the Private Equity International Awards 2013 announced on 1 March, 2014. Past awards include: the first Asian Venture Capital Journal Lifetime Achievement Award (November 2008), the first AVCAL Lifetime Contribution Award (September 2008) and Entrepreneur Champion in the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award 2005.

Mr Ferris holds an Honours degree in Economics from the University of Sydney and a Master of Business Administration from Harvard Business School where he graduated as a Baker Scholar in 1970.

Mr Ferris is the author of three books:

“Really Making a Difference” published December 1993, “Nothing Ventured, Nothing Gained” published March 2000, and “Inside Private Equity”, published January 2013.

Dr Alan Finkel AO

Portrait photograph of Dr Alan Finkel

Deputy Chair

State

Victoria

Current position

Australian Chief Scientist

Expertise/qualifications

Dr Alan Finkel AO commenced as Australia's Chief Scientist on 25 January 2016. He has an extensive science background as an entrepreneur, engineer, neuroscientist and educator.

Prior to becoming Chief Scientist, he was the Chancellor of Monash University and President of the Australian Academy of Technology and Engineering (ATSE).

Dr Finkel founded Axon Instruments, a California-based, ASX-listed company that made precision scientific instruments used at pharmaceutical companies and universities for the discovery of new medicines. After Axon was sold, Dr Finkel became a director of the acquiring company, NASDAQ-listed Molecular Devices. Returning to Australia he undertook a wide range of activities: leading the amalgamation that formed the Florey Neuroscience Institutes; he became Chair of the Australian Centre of Excellence for All-Sky Astrophysics (CAASTRO) and was a director of the ASX-listed diagnostics company Cogstate Limited. He was Executive Chair of the educational software company Stile Education, Chair of Manhattan Investment Group, Chief Technology Officer of Better Place Australia and Chair of Speedpanel Australia.

Committed to science education, Dr Finkel co-founded Cosmos Magazine, which in addition to magazine publishing operates a secondary schools science education program. At ATSE, he led the development and implementation of the STELR program for secondary school science, which has been adopted in nearly 500 Australian schools. Dr Finkel also established the Australian Course in Advanced Neuroscience to train early career neuroscientists.

He is also Chair of the Prime Minister's Prizes Selection Committee.

Dr Finkel was awarded his PhD in electrical engineering from Monash University and worked as a postdoctoral research fellow in neuroscience at the Australian National University.

Dr Bronte Adams AM

Portrait photograph of Dr Bronte Adams AM

State

Victoria

Current position

Managing Director Dandolo Partners International

Expertise/qualifications

Dr Adams AM leads a management consultancy firm focused on the public sector. She 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.

A former McKinsey & Co consultant, Dr Adams currently advises a wide range of clients in the innovation, industry, health, technology, science & research, startup, cultural, and education sectors.

She has chaired and sat on numerous public and private sector entities including the Rhodes Trust in Australia and Victorian Education Research Network (current), Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, Melbourne University Publishing, VICSTART Technology Commercialisation and Victorian Science Technology Innovation Infrastructure Grants Program.

Dr Adams obtained her DPhil from Oxford University which she attended as a Rhodes Scholar, and her undergraduate honours degree from the University of Western Australia. She is a GAICD and IPAA Fellow. In 2016 she was made a Member of the Order of Australia for significant service to the community through executive roles in business, publishing, health and industry innovation, and cultural organisations.

Dr Michele Allan

Portrait photograph of Dr Michele Allan

State

Victoria

Current position

Chancellor, Charles Sturt University

Expertise/qualifications

Dr Michele Allan has strong leadership experience across many facets of the food industry including a CEO/MD position in a publicly listed food company.

Dr Allan was appointed as Chancellor of Charles Sturt University in December 2014. Her 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.

Dr Allan has held senior executive positions with Amcor Limited, Bonlac Foods, Bioinformatics Centre of Excellence Tasmania, Kraft Foods and ICI. Until September 2008, Dr Allan was Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director of Patties Foods Limited a manufacturer and marketer of frozen food.

Dr Allan currently holds board positions at Grains and Legumes Nutrition Council (Chair), CRC Hearing (Board of Directors), Meat and Livestock Australia (Chair Board), Apple and Pear Australia Limited (Non-Executive Director), Cooperative Research Centres Advisory Committee (Member), Nuffield Australia and Grain Growers (Board member). Dr Allan has previously held board positions in both the private and public sectors.

Dr Allan has a Bachelor of Applied Science from University of Technology Sydney, Master of Management of Technology from Melbourne University, Master Commercial Law Deakin University and Doctorate from RMIT. She is a graduate and Fellow of the Australian Institute of Company Directors and a professional member of Australian Institute of Food, Science and Technology.

Mr Paul Bassat

Portrait photograph of Mr Paul Bassat

State

Victoria

Current position

Co-founder of Square Peg Capital

Expertise/qualifications

Mr Paul Bassat is one of the founders of Square Peg Capital. Square Peg Capital is a venture fund investing in early stage and growth stage technology companies in Australia, South East Asia and Israel. He is passionate about mentoring management teams that are building outstanding businesses.

Prior to founding Square Peg, Mr Bassat co-founded SEEK, the world's largest online employment business and in 14 years went from a start up to one of Australia's top 100 companies. SEEK has operations in numerous markets throughout Australasia, Asia and Latin and South America and has consistently been ranked as one of Australia's best employers.

Mr Bassat is a director of Wesfarmers Ltd, Commissioner of the Australian Football League (AFL) and Director of AFL Sportsready Pty Ltd. He is on the board of a number of not for profit organisations including The Prince's Charities Australia Trust, the Peter MacCallum Cancer Foundation, the Mount Scopus College Foundation and the P&S Bassat Foundation.

Mr Bassat holds a Bachelor of Laws and a Bachelor of Commerce from The University of Melbourne.

Dr Rufus Black

Portrait photograph of Dr Rufus Black

State

Victoria

Current position

Master of Ormond College, President of Museum Victoria and Deputy Chancellor of Victoria University

Expertise/qualifications

Dr Rufus Black brings together extensive private, public and social sectors experience at both management and governance levels. His private sector experience includes 9 years at McKinsey & Company where he was a partner serving clients in Australia and Asia. He played leadership roles in the Firm’s Asia-Pacific Organisational Practice and Australia Public Sector Practice. He continues his commercial interests as a Director of law firm Corrs Chambers Westgarth.

Dr Black’s public policy work has included working with Hospital and Healthcare Reform Commissions in 2009, leading the Accountability and Governance Review of the Department of Defence (The Black Review) in 2010 and the Prime Minister’s Independent Review of the Australian Intelligence Community in 2011. He was the Strategic Advisor to the Secretary for Education in Victoria from 2012 to 2014.

His social sector experience includes Chairing the Teach for Australia Board and he is a Director Emeritus of the New York based Teach for All. Dr Black is a Principal Fellow in the Department of Management and Marketing in the Faculty of Business and Economics and Principal Fellow in Philosophy at the University of Melbourne. He teaches in the University of Melbourne’s new Master of Entrepreneurship degree.

He holds degrees in law and politics from the University of Melbourne and degrees in moral theology from the University of Oxford, where he studied as a Rhodes Scholar.

Ms Maile Carnegie

Portrait photograph of Ms Maile Carnegie

State

New South Wales

Current position

Group Executive Digital Banking, ANZ

Expertise/qualifications

Previously Ms Carnegie was Managing Director of Google Australia/NZ.  She also held the position of Managing Director at Procter & Gamble Aust/NZ, having worked for P&G for over 20 years in many capacities.  Ms Carnegie has global industry experience and experience on advisory boards of the University of Technology, Sydney, ASIC, the NSW Treasurer and the B20.

Ms Carnegie holds a degree in Business Administration in Finance, Economics and Marketing from the University of Technology, Sydney.

Ms Elizabeth Comstock

Portrait photograph of Ms Elizabeth Comstock

State

Overseas

Current position

Vice Chair, GE
President and Chief Executive Officer, GE Business Innovations

Expertise/qualifications

Ms Elizabeth Comstock operates GE Business Innovations, which develops new businesses, markets and service models; drives brand value and partners to enhance GE’s inventive culture. This unit includes GE Lighting, GE Ventures & Licensing and GE sales, marketing and communications.

Since 2008, she has served as GE’s chief marketing and commercial officer. From 2006 Ms Comstock was President of Integrated Media at NBC Universal where she oversaw ad sales, marketing and research, and led the company’s digital efforts, including early development of hulu.com, Peacock Equity, and acquiring ivillage.com. In 2003 Ms Comstock was named the company’s first chief marketing officer in more than 20 years. She has previously held a succession of roles at GE, NBC, CBS and Turner Broadcasting.

Ms Comstock is also a member of Nike’s Board of Directors and Trustee President of the Cooper-Hewitt Smithsonian Design Museum.

She graduated from the College of William and Mary with a degree in biology.

Mr Scott Farquhar

Portrait photograph of Mr Scott Farquhar

State

New South Wales

Current position

Co-Founder and Co-CEO of Atlassian

Expertise/qualifications

Mr Scott Farquhar is the co-founder and co-CEO of Atlassian, a collaboration software company that helps teams organise, discuss and complete shared work. More than 51,000 large and small organisations - including some of the biggest names in media, manufacturing and technology such as Citigroup, eBay, Coca-Cola, Visa, Proctor & Gamble, BMW and NASA - use Atlassian's tracking, collaboration, communication, service management and development products to work smarter and deliver quality results on time. Mr Farquhar is co-founder of the Pledge 1% movement, with the vision of helping make the world better. The company contributes 1% of annual profits, 1% of employee time and 1% of company equity to the Atlassian Foundation.

Mr Farquhar is a widely sought-after keynote speaker and has addressed audiences at conferences and events in Australia and around the globe. He actively participates in the Sydney startup scene, contributes to Australian seed fund StartMate and venture capital fund Blackbird Ventures and lectures on entrepreneurship at the University of New South Wales.

Mr Farquhar was awarded the 'Australian IT Professional of the Year' in 2004, and in 2006 was the youngest person ever to be awarded the 'Australian Entrepreneur of the Year' by Ernst & Young alongside co-founder and co-CEO Mike Cannon-Brookes. He was also awarded the Corporate Social Responsibility Award in 2011 by the Young Presidents' Organization (YPO) - Atlassian donates 1% of profit, product, equity and employee time to charity, helping thousands of children in developing countries receive an education.

Mr Farquhar holds a Bachelor of Science in business information technology from the University of New South Wales and is a member of YPO and the Australian School of Business Alumni Leaders Network.

Professor Bronwyn Harch

Portrait photograph of Professor Bronwyn Harch

State

Queensland

Current position

Executive Director, Institute for Future Environments, QUT

Expertise/qualifications

Professor Bronwyn Harch (FTSE, GAICD, AStat) is an applied statistician and research leader with two decades of experience working across the agriculture, environment, health, manufacturing and energy sectors. She is very passionate about making an impact by generating knowledge, technology and practices that make our world more sustainable, secure and resilient.

Professor Harch is the Executive Director of the Institute for Future Environments (IFE) and Professor of Applied Statistical Science at QUT, Brisbane. Before joining QUT in June 2014, Professor Harch was the Chief of CSIRO’s Division of Computational Informatics and previously the Deputy Director of CSIRO’s Sustainable Agriculture Flagship. She worked at the CSIRO for 18 years as a researcher and research strategist.

Professor Harch’s own research has focused on the statistical design of landscape-scale sampling protocols and monitoring programs, as well as the statistical modelling of complex systems, particularly agri-environmental systems. She has developed transdisciplinary research, engagement and commercialisation strategies and partnerships with state and federal governments and their agencies, Australian and multinational companies, and other research organisations.

Professor Harch is a Fellow of the Academy of Technological Science and Engineering (ATSE), an Elected Member of the International Statistical Institute, a Graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors (GAICD), an Accredited Member of the Statistical Society of Australia Inc., and Past President of The International Environmetrics Society.

Professor Harch holds a joint Science Degree (Honours) in Environmental Science and Secondary Teaching (Mathematics and Science) from Griffith University/QUT and a PhD (funded by the Grains Research and Development Corporation) from The University of Queensland.

Mr Daniel Petre AO

Portrait photograph of Mr Daniel Petre

State

New South Wales

Current position

Partner and Co-Founder AirTree Ventures

Expertise/qualifications

Mr Daniel Petre AO has been at the forefront of the technology industry in Australia for more than 25 years. Currently Mr Petre is a founding partner at AirTree Ventures, a technology-focused venture capital company.

Prior to Airtree Ventures Mr Petre was the Founding Chairman of netus (a technology investment company) and prior to this role he founded Australia's largest internet investment company, ecorp, (a subsidiary of PBL; Publishing and Broadcasting Limited).

Mr Petre spent nine years with Microsoft where he held a range of roles both in Australia and the US. He was managing director of the Australia subsidiary for three years before moving to the US as the Development Group Vice President then returning to run the Asia-Pacific region for Microsoft.

Mr Petre has served on many corporate and not-for-profit boards and currently serves on the Sydney Theatre Company Board and the boards for the Garvan Institute of Medical Research, McGraths Property and Smart Sparrow.

Mr Petre is also an adjunct professor at the Business School of the University of Sydney and the Business School of UNSW Australia. He holds a Bachelor of Computer Science and a Master of Business Administration.

Dr Christopher Roberts AO

Portrait photograph of Dr Christopher Roberts AO

State

New South Wales

Current position

Non-Executive Director ResMed Inc
Alliance Professor: University of NSW, King's College London and Arizona State University

Expertise/qualifications

Dr Chris Roberts AO has over 40 years of experience in international medical device businesses, including renal (dialysis), orthopaedics (electrical bone growth stimulation), cardiology (pacemakers), respiratory/sleep medicine (CPAP and ventilation) and otology (cochlear implants and acoustic implants).

Dr Roberts is a Plus Alliance Professor which is a position across three universities: UNSW, King's College London and Arizona State Univeristy. Dr Roberts is the former Chief Executive Officer/President of Cochlear Limited. Cochlear is the market leader in implantable devices for the hearing impaired.

Dr Roberts served as ResMed's Executive Vice-President, until he became Chief Executive Officer of Cochlear. He remains on the ResMed Inc board as a Non-Executive Director. Dr Roberts was a member of the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) he was also Chairman of Research Australia a non-profit organisation promoting the importance of health and medical research.

He serves on the 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 (MICA), NSW Innovation and Productivity Council, University of Technology Sydney VC's Industry Advisory Board, University of New South Wales Faculty of Medicine Advisory Council.

Dr Roberts holds a Bachelor of Engineering with Honours in Chemical Engineering from the University of NSW, an MBA from Macquarie University and a PhD from University of NSW. He has been awarded Honorary Doctor of Science degrees from both Macquarie University and UNSW.

Mr Saul Singer

Portrait photograph of Mr Saul Singer

State

Overseas

Current position

Editorial Board Member, the Times of Israel; and Author

Expertise/qualifications

Mr Saul Singer is the co-author, with Dan Senor, of the best-selling book ‘Start-Up Nation: The Story of Israel's Economic Miracle’. The book has reached #5 on the New York Times and Wall Street Journal business bestseller lists, and is also a bestseller in Israel, India, and Singapore.

He has given numerous keynotes relating to Israel and innovation, including in Beijing, London, Zurich, Singapore, Sydney, Sao Paolo, Bogota, Buenos Aires, Brussels (at the European Parliament), Berlin (at the German Ministry of Economics and Technology) and widely throughout the United States.

In Israel, Mr Singer has briefed visiting executives from or spoken at the Israeli headquarters of companies such as: Johnson & Johnson, Proctor and Gamble, Xerox, Mars, General Electric, IBM, AT&T, Medtronic, Microsoft, and Dupont. He has also briefed numerous delegations of Members of the United States Congress and visiting journalists, academics, and business leaders.

Mr Singer is an editorial board member at the Times of Israel and 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

Portrait photograph of Dr Heather Smith

Ex-officio member

State

Australian Capital Territory

Current position

Secretary, Department of Industry, Innovation and Science

Expertise/qualifications

Dr Heather Smith was appointed Secretary of the Department of Industry, Innovation and Science in September 2017. She previously held the positions of Secretary of the Department of Communications and the Arts and Deputy Secretary in the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet. Dr Smith was responsible for innovation policy and public data policy and headed the Prime Minister's Taskforce on Innovation. In October 2013 she was appointed by Prime Minister Abbott as Australia's G20 Sherpa, a role she held during Australia's Presidency. Prior to this Dr Smith had responsibility in the Department for economic, industry, infrastructure, environment and strategic policy matters in her role as Deputy Secretary Economic and Strategy.

From August 2010 to May 2013, Dr Smith was Deputy Secretary in the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade with responsibility for the Americas and Africa, North Asia, international security issues, G20 and the international economy, and information technology issues. She also served as an advisory member of then Prime Minister Gillard's Australia in the Asian Century White Paper.

Between February 2005 and August 2010, Dr Smith was Deputy Director-General, Office of National Assessments (Australia's peak intelligence assessment agency) with responsibility, at various times, for North Asia, South Asia, the Pacific, transnational issues, international economic issues, corporate issues, and foreign intelligence coordination.

Between 2003–2005, Dr Smith held positions at the Australian Treasury as General Manager, G20 and APEC Secretariat and General Manager, International Economy Division.
From 2000–2003, she was Assistant Director-General, International Economy Branch, Office of National Assessment.

Before joining the public service Dr Smith was an academic working on North Asia at the Australian National University, holding various positions from 1994–2000. She also worked at the Reserve Bank of Australia from 1988–1990.

Dr Smith holds a Bachelor of Economics (First Class Honours) from the University of Queensland and a Masters and PhD in Economics from the Australian National University. She has been a visiting scholar at the Brookings Institution in Washington D.C. In 2012, Dr Smith completed the Advanced Management Program at the Harvard Business School.

Dr Marlene Kanga AM

Portrait of Dr Marlene Kanga

State

New South Wales

Current position

Chair, Department of Industry innovation and Science, R&D Incentives Committee
Director, iOmniscient Pty. Ltd.
Director, Sydney Water Corporation
Director: Hearing CRC
Director: Asialink

Expertise/qualifications

Dr Kanga is a Special Advisor to the ISA Board. She is an experienced company director and a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Company Directors and the Academy of Technology and Engineering. She has degrees in chemical engineering and has a PhD in Finance from Macquarie University.

She has been a champion for innovation, especially in the engineering sector through hera leadership roles as a National President of Engineers Australia and as President Elect of the World Federation of Engineering Organisations. She is a director of a company that has commercialised Australian research to develop a platform for intelligent video analytics technologies.

Contact

Email: secretariat@isa.gov.au
Phone: 02 6213 7400

Documents

Membership of Innovation and Science Australia - Terms of appointment

Membership of Innovation and Science Australia - Terms of appointment

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