Gig Guide: Universities Australia chief to depart

Brandon How

Universities Australia chief executive Catriona Jackson will resign at the end of this year after five years in the role.

Ms Jackson has been at the organisation for seven and a half years and will officially depart on December 22.

During her tenure, she has led the group’s contributions to the development of the federal government’s Australian Universities Accord. She noted that the end of the Accord process marked “a good time to depart”.

Universities Australia chair Professor David Lloyd described Ms Jackson as “consummate professional and a principled advocate who has worked tirelessly”.

“Catriona’s tenure, of course, included the COVID-19 pandemic, through which she led our advocacy for a further $1 billion in research funding at a time when it was needed most,” Professor Lloyd said.

“She has also driven our central involvement in the Australian Universities Accord – a process she will see out as chief executive and one through which she is lobbying fiercely for the policies and funding settings that will support a thriving, diverse and inclusive higher education sector.”

The peak body will soon undertake an executive search process.

Outgoing Universities Australia chief executive Catriona Jackson. Image: LinkedIn

University of Western Australia associate biotechnology Professor Dr Parwinder Kaur has been appointed as the Western Australian government’s special advisor – science and technology plan. She has spent the last 17 years as a scientist and is currently director of the DNA Zoo Australia and founder and chair of the WA Genome Atlas at the University of Western Australia.

Dr Kaur is also on the federal government’s Pathway to Diversity in STEM Review expert panel and is chief scientific officer at synthetic biology startup Ex Planta.

CSIRO Hydrogen Industry Mission deputy lead Vicky Au has left the organisation after one year in the role and five years overall. She has worked with the hydrogen mission for almost four years and previously spent 10 years at multinational consultancy PwC in financial and innovation advisory roles.

The final vacancy on the National Reconstruction Fund Corporation board has been filled by Australian Manufacturing Workers’ Union assistant national secretary Glenn Thompson, as reported by

CSIRO’s new chief executive Dr Doug Hilton began this week. Before moving to CSIRO, Dr Hilton was a Professor of Medical Biology at the University of Melbourne since and the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research’s director.

At peak technology industry body the Tech Council of Australia, two new policy staff have been recruited in its policy team. Ben Rice has been joined as the head of policy advocacy and Madeleine Houghton has joined as a policy manager to work on growth, tax, investment, and competition policy issues.

Mr Rice, a copyright lawyer, moves from his role as government relations director at Universities Australia, while Ms Houghton moves from the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, where she worked on mergers and tech policy, including work on the Digital Platform Services Inquiry and AdTech inquiry.

Research commercialisation services firm Campus Plus has appointed Dr Anna Samson as its new regional director for the National Industry PhD Program. Dr Samson spent almost 13 years at the Australian National University as an associate lecturer at the Strategic and Defence Studies Centre prior to joining.

The South Australian government has appointed a new trade and investment manager in Frankfurt, Germany as the federal government works to finalise a free trade agreement with the European Union. Pallavi Mishra recently worked at the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) in Berlin.

Do you know more? Contact James Riley via Email.

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