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Research Program Managers

The specialist disciplinary expertise, experience and extensive networks of ACIAR Research Program Managers and support staff are critical to our effectiveness and standing as a world-leading facilitator and funder of agricultural research for development.
Rodd Dyer


Dr Rodd Dyer is ACIAR’s Agribusiness Research Program Manager. Before working at ACIAR, Rodd was the Project Manager of the Northern Beef Program at Meat and Livestock Australia. Rodd holds a PhD in agricultural economics from the University of Aberdeen, undertaken in association with the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) in the Philippines. He also holds a Masters of Agricultural Science specialising in rangeland ecology and a Bachelor of Agricultural Science with Honours, both from the University of Queensland.

Read more about the Agribusiness program.

rodd.dyer [at] aciar.gov.au (Contact Dr Rodd Dyer)

Photo of Eric Huttner


Dr Eric Huttner is the Research Program Manager for Crops. The program aims to increase productivity, sustainability and utilisation of major crops and cropping systems of mutual importance to Australia and developing countries in our region.

Dr Huttner graduated from France’s leading agricultural engineering school, Institut National Agronomique. He started his career in plant molecular genetics working in public research institute, INRA, in France. He was one of the first foreign post doctoral fellows hosted by the Chinese Academy of Science, based at the Institute of Biochemistry in Shanghai, where he worked on rice molecular biology.

Dr Huttner has worked in a range of private companies throughout his career, including founding a start-up genetic analysis service company in Canberra where he was producing high-density and low-cost genetic data for plant breeders and plant scientists worldwide.

He has been involved in managing public-private research initiatives in both Australia and France. He was responsible for creating a research laboratory at the Australian National University for Groupe Limagrain, a France-based multinational seed company, and was a director of Gene Shears, a biotechnology company established by Limagrain and the CSIRO. During this time he established collaborative research projects with CSIRO and several Australian universities. In France, he was a key member of the team running Genoplante, a plant genomics initiative supported by the French government and most French seed companies.

Dr Huttner was a founding partner and director of Australia’s Cooperative Research Centre for Plant Science and has also been a valuable member of the Australian Biotechnology Advisory Council.

Read more about the Crops program.

eric.huttner [at] aciar.gov.au (Contact Dr Eric Huttner)

Portrait of Ann Fleming Fisheries RPM


Dr Ann Fleming is the Research Program Manager for Fisheries. Ann Fleming has a PhD in Aquaculture from the University of Melbourne, a BSc (Hons) from Monash and a Graduate Certificate in Public Sector Management from Flinders University.  She is currently undertaking a Masters of International Development at RMIT.

Ann came to ACIAR from Monash University, where she was a research development specialist for two years. From 2009-2014 Ann was Manager of Aquaculture in NT Fisheries, and for the 10 years prior she was Assistant Leader and then Leader of the Abalone Aquaculture Program for the Fisheries Research and Development Corporation (FRDC).

While leading the Darwin Aquaculture Centre, Ann reviewed Indigenous fisheries policy and management in the NT, and initiated and led an innovative research program on Goulburn Island to develop the capacity of Indigenous youth and women in mariculture enterprises.  During the decade of Ann’s leadership of the FRDC Abalone Aquaculture Subprogram, that research supported growth of the abalone industry in Australia from 20 tonnes of production to over 800 tonnes, worth more than $25 million in export value.  She has brokered significant private sector partnerships, including with Paspaley Pearls and Tasmanian Seafoods, and in recent years she has reviewed several ACIAR fisheries projects in the Philippines, Cambodia and Timor-Leste.

Read more about the Fisheries program.

ann.fleming [at] aciar.gov.au (Contact Dr Ann Fleming)

Photo of Nora Devoe, ACIAR's Research Program Manager for Forestry


Dr Nora Devoe is ACIAR’s Forestry Research Program Manager.  Before joining ACIAR, Nora worked in commercial hardwood production in Victoria and Western Australia, New Zealand and several tropical countries.  She has also been employed in public policy, academia, and forestry for rural development.  

Nora has a long-standing interest in the social dimensions of forestry, with prior research in community forestry and sustainability including social, economic, and ecological aspects.  Nora holds a PhD in silviculture and Master of Forest Science in forest ecology from Yale University and the BSc in environmental science from Antioch University. 

Read more about the Forestry program.

Nora.Devoe [at] aciar.gov.au (Contact Nora Devoe)

Photo of Irene Kernot


Irene Kernot is ACIAR's Research Program Manager for Horticulture. The program focuses on improving the productivity, profitability and sustainability of fruit, vegetable and ornamental crop production in developing countries and Australia.

Irene started her professional career in the late 1970s as a field agronomist with the Northern Territory Department of Primary Industries, conducting varietal herbicide testing and nutrition trials on maize, sorghum, peanuts and soybean. In the late 80s and early 90s, Irene worked as a Horticultural Instructor with TAFE in north Queensland and managed the Open Learning Centre in Mareeba, providing information and assistance to students undertaking tertiary study.

In 1992, as an extension horticulturist for the Department of Primary Industries in Queensland Irene worked on various development projects including mango, avocado, lychee, papaya and tobacco. During this time she was a board member of the Australian College of Tropical Agriculture, which delivers vocational training in agriculture and environmental management. Irene supported the strategic development of more productive industry partnerships with a focus on quality training and land stewardship, and the development of opportunities for online education and exporting of education services.

In 2003 as the Director of Tropical Fruit and Value Chain Research Development and Extension with Department of Agriculture and Fisheries, Irene managed a multi-disciplinary team focused on delivering high impact, high-quality scientific research projects across market access and disinfestation, postharvest and supply chain management. This included some ACIAR projects, which contributed significantly towards a comprehensive, scientifically-based biosecurity response to the Panama Tropical Race 4.

Read more about the Horticulture program.

irene.kernot [at] aciar.gov.au (Contact Irene Kernot)

Photo of Andrew Alford

Impact Evaluation

Dr Andrew Alford manages ACIAR's Impact Evaluation program. He is responsible for managing the professional evaluation of ACIAR’s R&D investments and progressing the development of methods that are used to determine their effectiveness.

Dr Alford came to ACIAR from Meat and Livestock Australia (MLA), where he was Project Manager – Evaluation within the Livestock Production Innovation business unit, which looks after on-farm R&D investments.

He holds a Bachelor of Rural Science, a Master of Economics, and a PhD from the University of New England. His PhD was in bioeconomic modelling of beef cattle systems, which involved optimising cattle genetics on pasture-based systems. It was completed while working with NSW Department of Primary Industries, first as a dairy extension officer and later as a livestock researcher.

Read more about Impact Evaluation.

andrew.alford [at] aciar.gov.au (Contact Dr Andrew Alford)

Photo of Anna Okello

Livestock Systems

Dr Anna Okello is the Research Program Manager for Livestock Systems. The program focuses on animal health and production issues that enable smallholder farmers to refine their livestock management systems towards production and income-generation. The program also aims to contribute to broader livestock narratives around climate-smart livestock production and animal disease control, including zoonotic diseases which affect humans. A key goal of the Livestock Systems research program is to improve the visibility of the sector’s important contribution to rural livelihoods in low and middle-income countries. 

Since graduating as a veterinarian from the University of Melbourne in 2002, Anna has spent the majority of her career working in international livestock development and public health programmes in Africa and Southeast Asia. Anna completed a PhD in political science at the University of Edinburgh’s Centre for African Studies in 2012, and has worked in various project management and technical advisory roles for international Non-Government Organizations, the University of Edinburgh, the Australian Animal Health Laboratory, the World Health Organization and the Australian Government Department of Agriculture and Water Resources. Anna was first introduced to ACIAR’s work in 2012, where she co-ordinated an ACIAR-funded smallholder pig project in Lao PDR for 3 years, and joined the Canberra office in 2017 as an Associate RPM for One Health.

Read more about the Livestock program.

anna.okello [at] aciar.gov.au (Contact Dr Anna Okello)

Photo of Jayne Curnow

Social Sciences

Dr Jayne Curnow is the Research Program Manager for Social Sciences (formerly known as Agricultural Systems Management). Dr Curnow is an anthropologist with extensive leadership experience in international aid and research for development spanning the water, agriculture, natural resource management, legal, economic, and health sectors. Jayne chairs the Gender Committee and led the development of ACIAR Gender Equity Strategy and Policy across the agency and its research programs. Jayne is fluent in Bahasa Indonesian and Malay.

The Social Sciences portfolio invests in collaborative research projects between Australian researchers and partners across Asia and the Pacific. Its research themes include livelihoods, agricultural extension, gendered social relations, women’s empowerment, climate adaptation, ecosystems and natural resource management. 

Read more about the Social Sciences program.

jayne.curnow [at] aciar.gov.au (Contact Jayne Curnow)

Photo of Rob Edis

Soil and Land Management

Dr Robert Edis is the Research Program Manager for Soil and Land Management.

ACIAR’s Soil and Land Management Program focuses on researching interventions in tillage and water management, nutrient management, and choice of crop rotations projects, designed in the context of a systems approach to conservation agriculture.

Before joining ACIAR Robert ran an agricultural science consulting practice, tackling issues of national and international importance.  Robert was previously a Soil Scientist at the Melbourne School of Land and Environment, The University of Melbourne, where he continues to be an Honorary Associate Professor.

Robert holds a PhD from The University of Melbourne, specialising in Soil Science, and Master and Bachelor (Hons) awards in Science (Agriculture) from The University of Sydney.

Read more about the Soil and Land Management program.

robert.edis [at] aciar.gov.au (Contact Dr Robert Edis)

Dr Robyn Johnston

Water and Climate

Dr Robyn Johnston is the Research Program Manager for Water and Climate. Before joining ACIAR in 2017, she was a Principal Researcher with the International Water Management Institute, including three years as IWMI Representative in Myanmar.  She has previously worked with the Murray-Darling Basin Commission and the Mekong River Commission; as Environment Advisor for AusAID; and with the Bureau of Rural Sciences and Geoscience Australia, working on science and policy of land and water management.  She holds a BSc (Honours) from Australian National University; MSc (Geochemistry) from University of Leeds; and a PhD from the University of New England.

Read more about the Water and Climate program.

robyn.johnston [at] aciar.gov.au (Contact Dr Robyn Johnston)