Gig Guide: Space industry boost at Monash University

Brandon How

Monash University has bolstered its space industry credentials through the appointment of inaugural Australian Space Agency chief and former CSIRO CEO Dr Megan Clark as chancellor, and the recruiting a former Jet Propulsion Laboratory executive.

Dr Clark chaired the review of Australia’s Space Industry Capability, released publicly in March 2018, before serving as the inaugural head of the Australian Space Agency from 2018 to 2020.

At the end of her term leading the space agency she became chair of its advisory board, which she served on until December last year. The advisory board is currently empty, with the space agency’s governance structure set to be reviewed by the Industry department.

Dr Clark will be the first woman to serve as Chancellor at Monash University when she replaces incumbent Simon McKeon on July 2. She first joined the university’s council in 2015 and has been deputy chancellor since 2021.

She is also on the board of biotech giant CSL and on the global advisory council of the Bank of America.

Also this week, Monash University appointed the former Deputy Director and Chief Operating Officer of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory Larry James as Professor of Space Innovation.

The retired United States Air Force lieutenant general will also be a strategic adviser to the SmartSat Cooperative Research Centre.

Dr Megan Clark. Image: Monash University

Industry representative group, the Electric Vehicle Council, will soon seek a new chief executive following the departure of founder Behyad Jafari. Mr Jafari started as chair in September 2016 before becoming chief executive in June 2017.

During his time leading the group, the federal government passed a tax discount to incentivise companies to purchase electric vehicles and the development of new vehicle efficiency standards.

Mr Jafari will continue at the council in an advisory capacity until July 31, supporting former Polestar Australia managing director Samantha Johnson who is the new interim chief executive.

The new acting chair of the Net Zero Economy Agency is Dr Iain Ross, who will formally take on the role from June 1 and will be chair of the Net Zero Economy Authority when it is legislated. He replaces Greg Combet, who moves to chair the Future Fund.

Dr Ross was formerly the president of the Fair Work Commission, a Federal Court judge, and Supreme Court of Victoria judge. He has also served as the Australian Industrial Relations Commission’s vice-president, a partner at Corrs Chambers Westgarth’s workplace relations practice group, and the Australian Council of Trade Union’s assistant secretary.

On Tuesday, Industry minister Ed Husic announced that the role of the Women in STEM Ambassador would cease. Officially concluding her time in the role on Friday, Professor Lisa Harvey-Smith “extends her sincere thanks for your collaboration, support, and dedication in this space. Together, we have made a significant impact on a national scale”.

Her team have “worked closely with UNSW Sydney to preserve the legacy of the many reports, tools, programs and materials we have created” and will finalise several research projects.

Dr Ant Bagshaw is the new executive director of ATN Universities, a representative group for a handful of innovative technology focused universities. Dr Bagshaw moves from LEK Consulting where he was a senior adviser for public higher education and a principal consultant.

He also teaches a course on policy influence in higher education at the University of Pennsylvania and is a member of council at the Dyson Institute of Engineering and Technology in the United Kingdom.

Meanwhile at Universities Australia, another university representative body, Australian Catholic University vice-chancellor and president Professor Zlatko Skrbis has been appointed as a board director on a two-year term.

At the Powering Australia Industry Growth Centre, being delivered by the Future Battery Industries Cooperative Research Centre, node leaders have been appointed for South Australia and Queensland. They are Scott Groom and Lynnard Cucksey respectively.

The Susan McKinnon foundation, a public service think tank, has appointed former NSW Liberal Premier Mike Baird as its chief executive. He is joined by prolific board director Holly Kramer who was appointed chair earlier this year.

Do you know more? Contact James Riley via Email.

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