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BHERT Governance


The BHERT Board is comprised of vice-chancellors and senior representatives from industry. The current Board of Directors are:

Susan Bannigan, BHERT President

Susan Bannigan, President
Chief Executive Officer, Westpac Foundation

"An environment where industry and academia actively engage will accelerate the path to technological, scientific and economic breakthrough for Australia."

Susan has over 25 years' experience in the financial services industry in Europe and Australia. She joined Westpac in 1995 and has held senior roles in finance, treasury and business leadership across the Westpac Group.

From 2007-2012 Susan was the Chief Financial Officer of RAMS with responsibility for the IT, finance, legal and compliance functions. Susan became Executive Officer of the Westpac Foundation in February 2012 where she worked closely with community groups, social entrepreneurs and the business sector.

In 2014 she was appointed CEO of the Westpac Bicentennial Foundation. The Westpac Bicentennial Foundation has an exclusive focus on the education of Australia's next generation of leaders. Leaders who will address the key challenges and opportunities facing our nation by backing research, innovation and social change that will shape a better future for Australia.

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Jason Bamert, BHERT Board Member

Jason Bamert
National Education Lead, Singtel Optus

"Optus has joined BHERT to work with Australia’s leading companies and universities to facilitate and improve collaboration. I believe industry must play a leadership role and I am delighted to join the BHERT Board to drive real change."

Jason Bamert has more than 25 years’ experience in the ICT Industry and currently hold the position of National Education Lead for Singtel Optus’ Australian Operations. His role is to help develop Optus’ Brand and value proposition through a National Industry based Education strategy in addition to creating a capacity to commercialise and extract value from innovation and research partnerships across Higher Education and Vocational Education institutes.

Having spent many years working across Enterprise, Wholesale and Public Sector channels in Sales Leadership, Corporate Strategy and Industry partnership roles, he brings a deep understanding on how technology and digitisation can drive business transformation and how Academia and Industry can collaborate to deliver on game-changing partnership outcomes.

His experiences are particularly relevant when looking at how educational institutes can use digital means to augment and transform existing processes and practices to become more relevant across industry, government and communities in the global economy.

He is a past and current student of both the Macquarie Graduate School of Management (MGSM) and LaTrobe University (MBA).

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Professor Colin Stirling, BHERT Board Member

Professor Colin Stirling
Vice-Chancellor, Flinders University

"Universities are a vital part of the innovation ecosystem but must do more to connect with business in order to maximise their impact."

A highly awarded academic who has taught and researched at some of the world's leading universities, Professor Colin Stirling joined Flinders University in January 2015 for a 5 year term as its eighth Vice-Chancellor.

Professor Stirling has more than 12 years' experience of university senior management, including Vice-President of the University of Manchester (UK) and Provost and Senior Deputy Vice-Chancellor of Curtin University, Western Australia.

Born and educated in Scotland, Professor Stirling's qualifications include a Bachelor of Science (Microbiology) with first class honours from the University of Edinburgh and a PhD in genetics from the University of Glasgow, Scotland.

He consolidated his distinguished academic career as Professor of Genetics at the University of Manchester where he was awarded several prestigious research fellowships and prizes.

Throughout his academic career, Professor Stirling has established a record of leadership, innovation and successful change management in Higher Education.

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Professor Deborah Terry AO, BHERT Board Member

Professor Deborah Terry AO
Vice-Chancellor, Curtin University

"By being exposed to business and industry during their studies, students can expect to graduate career-ready with highly sought-after knowledge, skills and experience."

Professor Deborah Terry was appointed Curtin University’s Vice-Chancellor in February 2014 and is a Fellow and the immediate past President of the Academy of Social Sciences in Australia (ASSA), as well as Deputy Chair of the Board of Universities Australia.

She is also a member of the Australian Research Council Advisory Council, Committee for Perth Board, St Hilda’s Anglican School Council, Australia and New Zealand School of Government Board and Australia's Academic and Research Network Board, and a past Chair of the Australian Council of Learned Academies and the Australian Research Council's College of Experts in the Social, Behavioural and Economic Sciences.

Professor Terry completed her PhD in Social Psychology at the Australian National University in Canberra. She had a distinguished career at the University of Queensland, initially as an internationally recognised scholar in psychology, before progressing through a number of senior leadership roles, including Senior Deputy Vice-Chancellor.

She was made an Officer in the General Division of the Order of Australia (AO), the country’s highest honours system for achievement and service, in June 2015 for distinguished service to education in the tertiary sector.

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Ken Boal, BHERT Board Member and Past President

Ken Boal
Vice-President, Cisco Systems Australia Pty Ltd

"If you’re a business leader and … you’re not tapping into the science and research capacity in our research ecosystem, you’re going to miss out"

As Vice President of Cisco Australia and New Zealand, Ken sets out a clear roadmap for customers and partners to take advantage of market transitions, such as the Internet of Everything and cloud, increase productivity and create competitive advantage through the innovative use of technology.

On joining Cisco in 2004 Ken led the company’s public sector engagement with Australia’s federal, state and territory governments, defence, education and healthcare. This role was then expanded to include growth and development in the private sector.

Ken is committed to working with the higher education sector to enhance Australia’s role in the knowledge economy. He has also held a leadership position within Cisco’s primary education initiative, the Cisco Networking Academy, where he manages the team responsible for the delivery of an ICT training program that helps to improve the career and education opportunities for over 20,000 Australians and New Zealanders annually.

Ken holds a Bachelor of Electrical Engineering (Communication & Electronics) from the University of Queensland.

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Prof Ian Jacobs, BHERT Board Member

Professor Ian Jacobs
President and Vice-Chancellor, University of New South Wales

"Building strong and sustainable links with business is an essential component of a university's strategy, a 'value bridge' not only to industry and commerce but to all of Australian society."

Professor Jacobs came to Australia from the UK, where he had a distinguished career as a leading researcher in the area of women’s health and cancer and in university leadership. Immediately prior to joining UNSW he was Vice President and Dean at the University of Manchester and Director of the Manchester Academic Health Science Centre, a partnership linking the University with six healthcare organisations involving over 36,000 staff. He was previously at University College London, where he created and led the Institute for Women’s Health, was Research Director of UCL Partners and Dean of the Faculty of Biomedical Sciences.

Professor Jacobs qualified at Cambridge University and the Middlesex Hospital, obtained accreditation in obstetrics and gynaecology working at the Royal London Hospital and Rosie Maternity Hospital Cambridge and specialist accreditation as a surgical gynaecological oncologist at Bart’s and The Royal Marsden Hospitals. He was Head of Department of Gynaecological Oncology and then Obstetrics and Gynaecology at Queen Mary University of London from 1996 to 2004 and created and directed the UCL Institute for Women’s Health between 2004 and 2009. He set up and directed the UCL Biomedical Research Centre (2006-2009) and secured NIHR funding for the Centre.

Professor Jacobs is the Principal Investigator for the Cancer Research UK and Eve Appeal funded PROMISE (Prediction of Risk of Ovarian Malignancy Screening and Early Detection) programme and on several large multicentre clinical trials including the UK Collaborative Trial of Ovarian Cancer Screening involving 202,000 participants in 13 collaborating UK centres and the UK Familial Ovarian Cancer Screening Study. He has an H-Index of 64 and has published more than 200 scientific papers with over 15,000 citations including 8,000 in the last 5 years.

In 2005 Professor Jacobs established the Uganda Women’s Health Initiative, which he still chairs and which conducts a series of projects in Uganda including a cervical screening programme. He has been President of the British Gynaecological Cancer Society (2001-2004) and of the European Society of Gynaecological Oncology (2005-2007). He is Medical Advisor to the Eve Appeal charity (also known as the Gynaecology Cancer Research Fund) which he founded in 1985, a Patron of Safehands for Mothers, founder and non-Executive Director of Abcodia Ltd and patent holder of the ROCA (Risk of Ovarian Cancer Algorithm).

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David Sacks, BHERT Board Member

David Sacks
Partner, National Education Leader, PwC

"Building the capacity and capability of industry & universities to meaningfully collaborate at scale across our research ecosystem is critical to Australia's success in the 21st century."

As the National lead for PwC's Education & Skills practice, David leads a team that advises universities and industry partners on strategy, operating models, employability, student experience, funding, digital and disruption.

David has worked in the sector since 2004, and in that time, has worked with over half of Australia's universities and also participated in a number of sector wide projects such as the Bradley review, the University Workforce of the Future and the future of work.

David is deeply committed to the future of Australia's higher educaiton sector. He has led on a range of initiatives such as STEM education, the university workforce of the future, research commercialisation and industry / university partnerships.

David holds a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Melbourne.

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Beau Leese, BHERT Board Member

Beau Leese, LLB MMktg MAICD
Co-founder / Co-CEO Practera

"Facilitating meaningful and systematic collaboration across sectors is important - collaboration is a proven driver of innovation, human capital development and opportunity for people."

Former Head of Strategy & Innovation CSIRO, Director Deloitte Consulting

Beau Leese is an innovator with a track record of positive impact and collaboration across Higher Education, startups, business and R&D.

As co-founder & co-CEO of Practera, Beau leads a fast growth edtech startup creating opportunity through experiential learning technology. Practera is a platform enabling Universities around the world to deliver experiential learning apps, programs and credentials which accelerate the development of students real world skills for the jobs of tomorrow. Practera has enabled award winning, collaborative programs linking more than half of Australian Universities and tens of thousands of students with Government, Business and Community organisations.

Prior to joining Practera full time, Beau was Head of Strategy, Performance & Innovation for the CSIRO, Australia's national R&D Agency with a budget of >$1.4bn pa. Beau led the development of CSIRO's Strategy 2020, "Australia’s Innovation Catalyst", major organisational reform programs, and co-founded CSIRO's innovation and entrepreneurship program - CSIRO ‘ON’ – now Australia's leading deep tech innovation accelerator operating across Australia's research system. Beau led the strategic investment process for CSIRO across all science & technology domains, the impact & performance functions and was a member of CSIRO's Executive Management, Strategy & Investment and Commercial committees.

Beau was formerly national lead Director for Higher Education with Deloitte Consulting, helping build innovation and organisational capacity for large companies and Universities, co-founded two other technology startups and worked for an Australian University.

Beau holds a Bachelor of Laws, Masters of Marketing, is a Member of the AICD and was an AFR Boss Young Executive of the year. Beau is a member of the Business Higher Education Roundtable (BHERT) Board, and the Queensland Government’s International Education Innovator in Residence for 2018/19. He is a regular speaker and panellist on skills, innovation, collaboration and the future of work.

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Dr Peter Binks, CEO B/HERT

Dr Peter Binks

Peter’s broad experience in the corporate and university sectors has informed his understanding of the value of innovation, and shaped his commitment to collaboration.

Peter was trained as a scientist, and gained a PhD in astrophysics at Oxford University. He has maintained close affiliations with universities while working in global businesses, technology start-ups and education not-for profits.

He has spent most of his career in Australia, and also worked in England, Canada, the USA, Japan and China. For 5 years he served on the assessment panel for the BHERT Awards, under the chairmanship of Dr Peter Laver.

Under his leadership, the Melbourne BHP Research Laboratory successfully transitioned into new commercial vehicles, and Telstra Mobile repositioned to take advantage of new data products. He was the inaugural CEO of start-up Nanotechnology Victoria, and ‘NanoVic’ led Australia in educational, public awareness, and policy initiatives to support development of nanotechnology.

During his tenure as CEO, the General Sir John Monash Foundation developed into one of Australia’s most prestigious Scholarship Foundations. He also played important roles at listed technology company CFCL and at the defence laboratories DSTO, and currently sits on the Advisory Board of education venture In2science.

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BHERT Patron

Professor Ashley Goldsworthy, BHERT Patron

Professor Ashley Goldsworthy AO OBE KM
Director, GTA Human Resources Ltd

"There's an enormous potential for industry and business to derive increased value from links with universities, and for universities similarly to benefit from increased clarity on the needs and motivations of its relevant stakeholders."

Ashley has an extensive business career extending over 50 years, as a CEO, Chairman, or Director of large companies, both domestic and international, covering banking, insurance, finance, housing, construction, information technology, property development, hospitality and gaming.

He is a past member of the Business Council of Australia and Former Director of Economic Statistics for the Australian Government. In 1996 the Peoples Republic of China honoured him by electing him a Fellow of the Chinese Institute of Electronics.

His extensive career in information technology includes serving as the World President of the International Federation for Information Processing.

Currently Chairman of companies in finance, education and training, information technology, and human resources, Ashley was also Former Dean of the School of Business and Professor of Leadership at Bond University.

He was Past Federal President of the Liberal Party of Australia and Founder of B/HERT in 1990 and Past President and Executive Director.

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BHERT Fellow

The role of the BHERT Fellow is primarily to raise awareness on issues related to collaboration between the higher education sector, business and industry.

Dr Russell Howard BHERT Fellow

Dr Russell J Howard

Russell Howard is Head of Commercial Strategy for the Kinghorn Centre for Clinical Genomics (KCCG) at the Garvan Institute of Medical Research and Executive Chairman of NeuClone Pty Ltd.

In his role at KCCG, he brings broad experience in fundamental medical research, executive management, strategic leadership, corporate financing, governance and commercialization. Russell's experience derives from his work in the US Federal Government, several biotechnology companies in California including start-ups and NASDAQ listing, global Pharmaceutical companies and as a current Director of Life Science companies in the USA and Australia.

Russell was awarded his PhD in 1975 from the University of Melbourne. After his PhD in plant metabolism he worked for 18 years on research into the molecular basis for micro-vascular occlusion of blood vessels in children infected with human malaria. He established the molecular relationship between malaria parasite virulence and antigenic variation that allows evasion of specific host antibody responses. After 13 years of persistence and an innovative process to prove protein structure-function, his laboratory eventually identified and cloned the malarial gene family encoding a protein responsible for both antigenic variation at the surface of malaria-infected red cells and attachment of infected red cells to endothelium. This work began in Australia, continued at the NIH in Maryland and then moved with him to California through his time at two pharmaceutical companies (Schering Plough and GlaxoWellcome).

While at the NIH, Russell developed a rapid, inexpensive, human malaria diagnostic test marketed worldwide in the tropics for >17 years. Although an imperfect diagnostic test of low commercial value, he is most proud of this small contribution to world health. This test saved lives and stretched medical budgets, allowing doctors in impoverished hospitals to immediately confirm the presence of the most lethal human malaria in a child's blood, and immediately use the right drugs to treat a comatose child with fever.

As CEO of Maxygen in Silicon Valley, CA (NASDAQ: MAXY), Russell had 15 years of experience leading a platform technology-based, life science company. He raised >$250MM on the US public equities market, led >30 corporate deals and established a track record of driving technology development from laboratory discovery to product development and partnering. He also led corporate development by identification of key product assets for internal growth versus those for sale or spin-off in derivative companies. His teams generated >40 very diverse life science products marketed worldwide today in the chemicals, agriculture & pharmaceuticals industries (products from Verdia, Codexis and Perseid, companies created by Dr. Howard).

Russell has 9 issued patents and >150 peer-reviewed scientific publications. In 2013, as an expatriate Australian, he was awarded the Advance Global Australian Award for Biotechnology and the Overall Advance Global Australian Award. Since late 2012, Russell resides in Sydney after 34 years in the USA (East & West coast).

With this broad experience, Russell is committed to help grow technology-based businesses in Australia. His roles in commercial strategy at KCCG and his role as Executive Chairman role at NeuClone (a company dedicated to bring lower cost biosimilar monoclonal antibodies to vast underserved markets) share important features. Both companies have potential to leverage novel technology for disruptive change in patient access to the best of modern medicine.

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