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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.
Howard Hall, ACIAR's RPM for Agribusiness


Mr Howard Hall is the Research Program Manager for Agribusiness.  Prior to joining ACIAR, Howard founded and operated a specialist agribusiness consultancy for almost 30 years, working across tropical and temperate horticulture, intensive and extensive meat and seafood industries, grains, pulses and field crops, food packing and processing.  He has also worked as a senior manager in corporate agribusiness in the agricultural inputs sector and in both food manufacturing and food and grocery distribution. Howard has worked across North and South-east Asia, PNG and the Pacific. He has a Bachelor of Applied Science (Rural Technology) from UQ and a Graduate Diploma of Business Studies from UNE. 

Read more about the  Agribusiness  program. 

Howard.Hall [at] aciar.gov.au (Contact Howard Hall.) 


Photo of Eric Huttner


Dr Eric Huttner is the Research Program Manager for Crops since 2012. He started his career in plant molecular genetics working in public research institute, INRA, in France, and has worked for more than 20 years in a range of private companies, including founding a start-up plant genetic analysis service company. He has also been involved in managing public-private research initiatives in both Australia and France. Eric was a founding partner and director of Australia’s Cooperative Research Centre for Plant Science and a member of the Australian Biotechnology Advisory Council. He is a graduate of France’s leading agricultural science school, Institut National Agronomique (AgroParisTech) and was a postdoctoral fellow at the Chinese Academy of Science in 1987. 

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 came to ACIAR from Monash University, where she was a research development specialist for two years. Before that, Ann was Manager of Aquaculture in NT Fisheries for five years, 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). Ann 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. 

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 the Research Program Manager for Forestry.  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


Ms Irene Kernot is the Research Program Manager for Horticulture. Before joining ACIAR in June 2018, Irene started her career in 1978 as an agronomist with the Northern Territory Department of Primary Industries. Moving to north Queensland in 1990, Irene worked in education as a Horticultural Instructor and managing an Open Learning Centre. She joined the Department of Primary Industries in Queensland as an extension horticulturist in tropical fruits, also serving on the board of the Australian College of Tropical Agriculture. In 2003 Irene transferred to research management as the Director of Tropical Fruit and Value Chain Research Development and Extension with the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries. 

Read more about the Horticulture  program. 

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


Profile photo of Bethany Davies

Planning and Impact Evaluation

Ms Bethany Davies manages ACIAR’s Portfolio Planning and Impact Evaluation program. Bethany has extensive experience of practical and applied approaches to project planning, participatory program design and theory of change, monitoring and evaluation framework development and implementation, evaluation training and capacity building. For the five years prior to joining ACIAR, she worked specifically in research for development programs, including as the Research to Impact Team Leader for the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) and as the Forest Trees and Agroforestry monitoring evaluation, learning and impact-assessment coordinator. Bethany holds a Bachelor of International Relations and a Masters in International Development from RMIT.   

Read more about  Planning and Impact Evaluation

Bethany.Davies [at] aciar.gov.au (Contact Bethany Davies) 


Photo of Anna Okello

Livestock Systems

Dr Anna Okello is the Research Program Manager for Livestock Systems.  

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, including working in various project management and technical advisory roles for international Non-Government Organisations, the University of Edinburgh, the Australian Animal Health Laboratory, the World Health Organization and the Australian Government Department of Agriculture and Water Resources. She joined ACIAR in 2017 as an Associate RPM for One Health. Anna completed a PhD in political science at the University of Edinburgh’s Centre for African Studies in 2012. 

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. 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) 


James Quilty profile picture

Soil and Land Management

Dr James Quilty is the Research Program Manager for Soil and Land Management.  Prior to joining ACIAR, James worked at the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI), based in the Philippines for seven years. After completing his PhD, James worked with Forests New South Wales studying the impacts of managed pine forests on soil carbon and soil respiration in the central tablelands of NSW.  He completed his PhD in Soil Science at the University of Sydney studying the soil health implications of organic amendments in conventional irrigated cotton systems in central western NSW. 

Read more about the  Soil and Land Management  program. 

James.Quilty [at] aciar.gov.au (Contact Dr James Quilty) 


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)