Gig Guide: New lead at Curtin Uni-led Trailblazer

Brandon How

Rohan McDougall is the new director of the Curtin University-led Critical Minerals and Resources Technology Trailblazer, after former director Dr Ross Waring resigned.

Mr McDougall will retain his role as Curtin University’s executive director of commercialisation. He is also director for accelerators/incubators at industry body Knowledge Commercialisation Australasia, as well as medical manufacturer REX Ortho. He has been at Curtin University since December 2008. Before that he served as chief operating officer of BioTech firm Biosignal.

In an email to Curtin University staff at the end of September, it was announced that Dr Waring had resigned for health reasons and that Mr McDougall would take over “effective immediately”.

“Rohan brings his deep knowledge of the program and of commercialisation, and the Trailblazer Board is delighted that he has accepted the position,” the email read.

Dr Waring remained with the Trailblazer through October to facilitate a smooth transition to Mr McDougall’s leadership.

“Ross has been a deeply committed contributor to the Trailblazer and we thank him for his work in the formative period of the initiative,” the email read. Dr Waring is expected to work with the university on a contract basis at a later date.

Rohan McDougall (left of centre) speaks to Prime Minister Anthony Albanese (right of centre). Image: Curtin University

Industry body FinTech Australia has this week appointed four new board members taking its total board membership to 10. Among the appointments are Digital Agriculture Services head of growth and marketing Sarah Gorman, who has been made deputy chair at the FinTech industry group.

The other new directors are equity crowd funding platform Birchal’s chief legal officer Kellie Morton, Change Financial’s chief product officer Vinnie D’Alessandro, and Audacity Ventures principal Brian Collins. Departing the board is Marie Mortimer, who is managing director of

Last week the federal government has appointed prolific board director Fiona Hele and Dr Bronwyn Evans to the board of radar company CEA Technologies, which the government is spending $500 million to take majority ownership of at the end of April.

Ms Hele is a prolific board director and chartered accountant while Dr Evans is New South Wales’ Independent Planning Commissioner and former chief executive of Engineers Australia.

Australian Academy of Science president and Australian National University Professor Chennupati Jagadish has been appointed to the Beijing-based Chinese Academy of Science (CAS) as a foreign member, only the second Australian to receive this honour.  He is the 130th active foreign member.

According to the CAS statute of membership, “scholars and specialists of foreign nationality who hold high international academic standing and have made important contributions to the cause of science and technology in China may be nominated and elected as Foreign Members”.

Law firm Clayton Utz announced the appointment of Brenton Steenkamp as the partner overseeing its cyber and data governance practice last week. Mr Steenkamp moved from multinational consultancy EY where he was partner for forensic and integrity services, which included work on cyber risk.

The Future Battery Industries Cooperative Research Centre (CRC) has appointed Steve Elias to lead the group’s bid to transition into the Energy Storage CRC which will have a “fully differentiated research scope”. The bid will be made to Round 25 of the Cooperative Research Centres program, expected to open in December.

Fortescue founded New York-based green energy investment fund Fortescue Capital last week and appointed Robert Tichio as chief executive and managing partner. He moves from his role as Riverstone Holdings partner and managing director. Mr Tichio is also chair of embattled electric vehicle charger manufacturer Tritium.

Indian multinational IT firm HCLTech’s country manager for Australia and New Zealand will be Sonia Eland from April 1, 2024. She will leave her role as multinational consultancy Deloitte’s partner for technology strategy and transformation.

United Kingdom-based enterprise software firm Sage has appointed Tom Gough as country manager for Australia and New Zealand. Mr Gough is being promoted from vice president for accounts payable automation. He first joined the company in 2015 after a five-and-a-half-year stint at PwC. He also had a 10-month stint at UK-based industrial internet-of-things provider Samsara in 2020.

Do you know more? Contact James Riley via Email.

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