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ACIAR Commissioners

Mr Don Heatley OAM

Mr Don Heatley OAM (Chair)

Mr Heatley is a fifth generation north Queensland cattle farmer with two stations and 8,000 head of cattle on the lower Burdekin River. The family business has fine-tuned its production systems over the time of Mr Heatley’s management to produce beef for highly specialised markets in Korea, Japan and the United States, giving him a strong understanding of international agribusiness value chains. Mr Heatley is a passionate and committed advocate for both promotion of Australian agribusiness interests overseas and investing in the strengthening of domestic agribusinesses in developing countries. He has more than 30 years’ experience promoting the Australian beef industry internationally, including through roles on state livestock councils, the Cattle Council of Australia and a Chair of Meat and Livestock Australia. Mr Heatley has taken a strong personal interest in provision of research and development support to domestic beef industries throughout Southeast Asia and the Middle East. He has travelled extensively throughout these regions representing the Australian beef industry with regional governments and industry. Mr Heatley has chaired the Commission since 2014.

Ms Catherine Marriott, ACIAR Commissioner

Ms Catherine Marriott

Catherine has always worked in rural industries and is inspired by the potential of our region, including Australasia and the South Pacific. She uses her Rural Science degree to understand the technical aspects of agriculture, while her experience in business helps her improve stakeholder engagement, build leadership and improve communications. These skills have helped Catherine build national and international relationships through on the ground project delivery, including developing the first ever International Rural Women’s Mentoring Program between farming women from Australia and Indonesia.  Catherine has worked as a nutrition and feedlot consultant in the Live Export Industry, developed a women’s specific leadership and communication program and more recently was the founding CEO of the Kimberley Pilbara Cattlemen’s Association. She is now the WA Manager for the CRC for Northern Australia, an organisation delivering agricultural and tropical health research across Northern Australia and is a Director on a number of boards. Catherine is a graduate of the Australian Rural Leadership Program, a Graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors and was the 2012 WA RIRDC Rural Women’s Award Recipient and the National Runner-up. She is passionate about living and learning and sharing her knowledge and experiences with others.  

Professor Persley, AM

Professor Gabrielle Persley AM

Professor Gabrielle Persley AM is a senior strategic science leader who has worked with some of the world’s leading agricultural research and development agencies. A former research program manager with Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR), Professor Persley spent several years in Washington DC as the Word Bank’s biotechnology advisor and science advisor to the Vice President for Environmentally Sustainable Development. Currently an Adjunct Professor at the Global Change Institute at the University of Queensland, she continues her work with several international research and development agencies, with emphasis on public-private partnerships and innovative ways to develop demand-led approaches in both animal and plant breeding. Professor Persley is the Founder and Chair of the Doyle Foundation, Scotland, which advocates the role of science and technology in development, especially in Africa. She is a senior advisor to the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) and Biosciences eastern and central Africa (BecA), a shared biosciences platform in Kenya hosted by ILRI. Professor Persley has a PhD in Microbiology from the University of Queensland, Australia, and was awarded the university Vice Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in 2014. Professor Persley was also appointed a Member of the Order of Australia (AM) by the Government of Australia in 2010 for her services to international science in development and livestock health in Africa.

Dr Sasha Courville, Commissioner

Dr Sasha Courville

Dr Sasha Courville is an experienced business and sustainability professional, with more than 20 years’ experience in academia, civil society, consultancy and the private sector, focused on role of business in addressing societal challenges. Sasha has experience across a range of industry sectors (including finance and agriculture), sustainability issues (from climate change and biodiversity to labour rights and women’s economic empowerment) and geographic regions. Dr Courville is currently Head of Social Innovation at National Australia Bank where she identifies, incubates and supports the scaling up of shared value initiatives within the bank. These are opportunities that create business results as well as solving for social and environmental challenges, from the integration of natural capital considerations into agribusiness banking, to clean energy finance and impact investing. Prior to joining NAB, Dr Courville was the Executive Director of the London-based ISEAL Alliance, the global association for sustainability standards and assurance systems, multi-stakeholder partnerships that have played key roles in redefining productivity in value chains across agricultural, forestry, fisheries, extractive and apparel industries. She has also worked as an international consultant on social justice and environmental sustainability issues in soft commodity sectors, and as an academic, based at the Regulatory Institutions Network at the ANU. Dr Courville was responsible for setting up the Fairtrade labelling system in Australia and New Zealand. Sasha has a PhD on coffee from the ANU, an MSc from the London School of Economics and a Bachelor of Environmental Studies from York University in Canada. Dr Courville is on the Board of the global Aluminium Stewardship Council and the UN Global Compact Network Australia as well as on the Advisory Board of the Shared Value Project.

Professor Sandra Harding

Professor Sandra Harding

Professor Harding is the Vice Chancellor and President of James Cook University, Australia. In this role, she is responsible for ensuring clear and effective leadership and management of the university across all operating sites, including campuses in Cairns, Singapore and Townsville. Professor Harding has extensive academic and academic leadership experience. An economic sociologist by training, her areas of enduring academic interest include work, organisation and markets and how they work. She also has a keen interest in public policy in two key areas: education policy and related areas; and; the global Tropics, northern Australia and economic development. Professor Harding has undertaken a wide variety of external roles within the business community and the higher education sector. Current roles include: Project Convener, State of the Tropics project; Director, Australian American Education Leadership Foundation; Director, Westpac Bicentennial Foundation Board; Councillor, Queensland Futures Institute; Member, Tourism Trade and Investment Policy Advisory Committee; Co-Vice Chair, the New Colombo Plan Reference Group; Council Member, the Australian Institute of Marine Science; Director, North Queensland Cowboys NRL club; Director of Townsville Enterprise and of Advance Cairns (regional economic development bodies); and; a Governor of the Committee for Economic Development of Australia (CEDA).

Photo of Su McCluskey MAICD

Ms Su McCluskey MAICD

Ms McCluskey is a highly experience senior executive and non-executive director. She is a Director of Australian Unity and the Foundation for Young Australians, Chairman of Energy Renaissance and a member of the Ministerial Advisory Council on Skilled Migration and the Review Panel for the Australian Charities and Not-For-Profits Commission Legislation. Su was a member of the Independent Review Panel for CPA Australia, the Harper Review of Competition Policy and the Regional Telecommunications Independent Review. Su’s experience and expertise includes strong leadership, strategic thinking, financial management, policy, governance, advocacy and analytical skills. She has been a highly effective change manager in both the government and private sectors and has excellent networks across all levels of government and industry. Su was named the Westpac/Australian Financial Review Regional Women of Influence in 2013 and received the Women in Agribusiness award in 2014 for outstanding contribution to policy development. Su was the inaugural CEO of the Regional Australia Institute, taking it from a start-up company to be the leading voice on regional issues, underpinned by solid research and evidence-based policy. Prior to this, Su was the CEO of the Council of Rural Research and Development Corporations and the Executive Director of the Office of Best Practice Regulation. Su has held senior positions with the Business Council of Australia, the National Farmers’ Federation and the Australian Taxation Office. Su is also a beef cattle farmer at Yass, NSW. Su’s professional qualifications include a Fellow Certified Practising Accountant (FCPA), Bachelor of Commerce (University of Canberra) and Member Australian Institute of Company Directors (MAICD).

CEO Head shot

Professor Andrew Campbell FAICD

Andrew Campbell started his five-year term as CEO of ACIAR on 31 July, 2016. He joins ACIAR from Darwin, after five years as the inaugural Director of the Research Institute for the Environment and Livelihoods (RIEL) at Charles Darwin University. Professor Campbell has played influential roles in sustainable agriculture and natural resource management in Australia for 30 years. He has considerable research leadership experience, notably as Executive Director of Land & Water Australia from 2000-2006 and Managing Director of Triple Helix Consulting from 2007-10. He has also held senior policy roles in land, water and biodiversity management as a senior executive in the Australian Government environment portfolio. Andrew was instrumental in the development of Landcare, working with the National Farmers’ Federation and the Australian Conservation Foundation to develop the proposal that catalysed the Decade of Landcare. He was Australia’s first National Landcare Facilitator from 1989-92, and he pioneered the concept of Whole Farm Planning as Manager of the privately-funded Potter Farmland Plan initiative in western Victoria in the 1980s.

Professor Campbell is a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Company Directors (AICD). He is a Visiting Fellow at the Australian National University’s Fenner School, a Commissioner with the IUCN’s World Commission on Protected Areas, a member of the Science Advisory Panel of Landcare Research New Zealand, and Patron of Landcare in Victoria. Andrew Campbell trained in forestry at Creswick and the University of Melbourne and rural sociology at Wageningen University in The Netherlands. He has written more than 100 publications and blogs on landcare, sustainability (food, water, energy and climate) and knowledge management. His books and reports include Paddock to Plate - policy propositions for sustainable food systems; The Getting of Knowledge - a guide to investing in and managing applied research (Land & Water Australia 2007); Managing Australian Soils - a policy discussion paper; Managing Australian Landscapes in a changing climate; Landcare (Allen & Unwin 1994), and Planning for Sustainable Farming (Lothian 1991).

Professor Campbell is a sought-after public speaker who has delivered 75 invited conference keynote presentations over the last decade, 20 of them internationally. Andrew remains involved in his family farm in western Victoria, where his family have been farming since the 1860s.