Gig Guide: Innovation leader Woodthorpe to chair Cicada

Science and innovation leader Dr Katherine Woodthorpe has been appointed as the new chair of deep tech incubator Cicada Innovations.

Dr Woodthorpe replaces outgoing chair Andrew Rothery, who has served in the role for almost eight years alongside chief executive Sally-Ann Williams.

She comes to the role with extensive experience commercialising technology across a broad range of industries, including climate science, renewables and healthcare, and is a serial board director.

Dr Woodthorpe currently sits and chairs several other boards, including the Great Barrier Reef Foundation, AnteoTech, RACE for 2030, and Bioplatforms Australia.

Incoming Cicada Innovations chair Dr Katherine Woodthorpe with chief executive Sally-Ann Williams. Image: Supplied

Announcing the appointment on Thursday, Ms Williams described Dr Woodthorpe as a “female trailblazer” who would elevate Cicada Innovation’s role “not just nationally but also internationally”.

“Katherine understands the architecture, leadership and advocacy needed at a national level to facilitate growth in complex economies founded on science and engineering businesses,” she said.

Dr Woodthorpe, who also recently became the first woman to be elected as president of the Australian Academy of Technology and Engineering, said she was looking forward to the new role.

As reported by, anthropologist and tech industry legend Professor Genevieve Bell has been appointed the 13th Vice-Chancellor of Australian National University.

Professor Bell, who will replace outgoing Vice-Chancellor Professor Brian Schmidt in January, is currently the interim Dean of the ANU College of Engineering, Computing and Cybernetics.

Former mandarins Dr Heather Smith and Richard Maude have been appointed to lead the federal government’s independent review of Australia’s intelligence agencies.

A former Department of Industry, Innovation and Science secretary and deputy director-general of the Office of National Assessments (ONI), Dr Smith has 20 years’ experience in public policy.

Mr Maude, meanwhile, has 30 years’ experience in foreign policy and national security, including as a former director-general of the ONI. He is currently an executive director and Senior Fellow at the Asia Society Policy Institute.

Former New South Wales Liberal MP and research advocate Gabrielle Upton has taken her first post-politics job as a strategic advisor with Australian biotech incubator Proto Axiom.

While in government, Ms Upton led a taskforce investigating pathways to boosting R&D translation in NSW alongside the state’s chief scientist and engineer Hugh Durrant-White and David Gonski.

Gabrielle Upton
Gabrielle Upton

Long-time chair of Australian telco alliance Commpete, Michelle Lim, has announced her intentions to step down from the role, as well her separate roles at Symbio and Communications Alliance.

Ms Lim, who has chaired the industry association since November 2017, will remain in a consultative role during the transition, with a new chair expected to be elected later this year.

Lorraine Chiroiu, the chief executive of AusBiotech, will finish up in the role after five years in the role in December. She has worked at the industry body for 15 years.

Prior to joining AusBiotech in December 2008, Ms Chiroiu worked at the Pharmacy Guild of Australia, the University of Melbourne and global pharmaceutical company Bristol-Myers Squibb.

Munro Farmer wrapped up at Australia Post last week after more than nine years at the national postal service, including three years as chief information officer.

Prior to joining AusPost in February 2014, Mr Farmer also worked at AusPost’s StarTrack and Australia Air Express businesses for eight years.

Australian cyber security company CSO Group has appointed Jamie Hatcher, a 36-year veteran of the Royal Australian Navy, to the role of strategic advisor.

Mr Hatcher has worked in various national security roles during his 36 years of service, including the capability director for Australia’s Air Warfare Destroyer program and, most recently, Australian Defence Force deputy chief of joint operations.

Professor Nilmini Wickramasinghe has been appointed the Optus Chair of Digital Health at La Trobe University, a new role within the School of Computing, Engineering and Mathematical Sciences.

Professor Wickramasinghe has 30 years’ experience in education, research and managing digital health projects.

Do you know more? Contact James Riley via Email.

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