New STA chief moves from ACOLA

Brandon How

Industry and research representative group Science and Technology Australia has found its new chief executive in Ryan Winn, the current head of the Australian College of Learned Academies.

Announced on Wednesday, Mr Winn will begin in the role in May, ending a more than four-and-a-half-year stint as the chief executive of the Australian College of Learned Academies (ACOLA), a group that brings together Australia’s five research academies.

Before joining ACOLA, Mr Winn had an extensive public service career, including stints at the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet and the Department of Education.

He has policy expertise in higher education, research infrastructure, early childhood education, and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander affairs. His work has included the delivery of the 2016 National Research Infrastructure Roadmap and the subsequent Research Infrastructure Investment Plan.

Incoming Science and Technology Australia chief executive Ryan Winn.

In a statement, Mr Winn said he was looking forward to leveraging his leadership skills and research ecosystem network to support the interests of “more than 225,000 scientists, technologists, mathematicians and engineers”.

He described Science and Technology Australia as having unmatched “reach, membership and capacity to activate scientists all the way from early career researchers up to industry leaders”.

“We need practical experience from the lab bench to the boardroom to inform policymakers on the programs, policies and regulations we need now and into the future,” Mr Winn said.

“We need government, business and the university sector to work together to better incentivise R&D and powerfully boost investment. And, there is a crucial role to play in inspiring Australia’s future scientists as Australia looks to further accelerate our innovation economy.”

At ACOLA, Mr Winn oversaw a report on modernising research assessment in Australia, on behalf of the Office of the Chief Scientist. The report highlighted the need for new performance metrics to encourage industry collaboration and entrepreneurship among researchers.

STA president Professor Sharath Sriram described Mr Winn as “an outstanding policy leader with deep experience – and the perfect person to lead STA and represent the nation’s scientists and technologists”.

On Wednesday evening, STA vice president Jasmine Chambers thanked deputy chief executive Dr Gardam for acting in the role since February and leading the organisation through its strategy setting process.

Dr Gardam has been acting in the top job since former chief executive Misha Schubert officially ended her four-year stint. Ms Schubert is now the head of the Super Members Council, a representative group for profit-to-member superannuation funds.

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