Commission for International Agricultural Research

The Commission for International Agricultural Research is established under the ACIAR Act 1982 (Section 7). It comprises seven Commissioners who provide collective decision-making and expert advice to the Minister for Foreign Affairs in relation to program formulation for agricultural research and development, priority setting, funding and other matters as requested by the Minister. Commissioners are appointed on a part-time basis for a period of up to three years. To fulfil its role, the Commission meets a minimum of four times each financial year. 

Fiona Simson

Mrs Fiona Simson GAICD, BA (chair)

Mrs Fiona Simson is a farmer from the Liverpool Plains in NSW where she and her family run a mixed farming enterprise including broad acre farming and breeding commercial poll Hereford cattle.

With tertiary qualifications in business and education, Fiona’s passion for local food production and the growth and sustainability of rural and regional Australia led to a career in local government as an elected Councillor in Liverpool Plains Shire Council.

Fiona sits on the Board of NRMA (NSW), the Australian Made Campaign Ltd, AgStewardship Australia and the Australian Farmers Fighting Fund. Fiona was elected President of the National Farmers' Federation in November 2016.


Professor Andrew Campbell FTSE FAICD

Professor Andrew Campbell joined ACIAR as CEO in 2016, after six years in Darwin at Charles Darwin University. Andrew has played influential roles in sustainable agriculture and natural resource management in Australia for over 30 years, including as the first national Landcare Facilitator.

Andrew is an elected Fellow of the Australian Academy of Technology and Engineering, Fellow of the Australian Institute of Company Directors and an honorary Professorial Fellow at the Australian National University. 

He represents Australia on the System Council of the CGIAR, is a board member of the Peter Cullen Trust, a Commissioner on the Commission for International Agricultural Research, and is the incoming Chair of the Global Research Alliance on Agricultural Greenhouse Gases. Andrew is still involved (from a distance) in his farm in western Victoria, where his family have been farming since the 1860s.


Dr Sasha Courville

Dr Sasha Courville is Executive, Social Impact at National Australia Bank where she manages NAB’s response to evolving societal needs and identifies, incubates and supports the scaling up of shared value initiatives within the bank.

She has more than 20 years’ experience in academia, civil society, consultancy and the private sector, focused on role of business in addressing societal challenges. Prior to joining NAB, Sasha was the Executive Director of the London-based ISEAL Alliance.

She has worked as an international consultant on social justice and environmental sustainability issues, and as an academic at the ANU. Sasha was responsible for setting up the Fairtrade labelling system in Australia and New Zealand.


Emeritus Professor Lindsay Falvey FTSE, FAIAS

Professor Lindsay Falvey is a leading international agricultural scientist who has contributed to research and development in dozens of countries on behalf of all major development agencies.

Beginning his agricultural career as a rouseabout then a graduate on a remote Northern Territory cattle research station, Lindsay became CEO of international development consulting companies, Dean and Chair of Agriculture at the University of Melbourne, and a long-serving director of major foreign agribusiness investor in Australian agriculture.

He has worked with Ausaid, the World Bank, ADB, the UN and other agencies, and is the author of the definitive text on Thai Agriculture. Lindsay is the Board Chair of the International Livestock Research Institute, which is the CGIAR centre focused on livestock research oriented to the marginalised poor in the developing world particularly in Africa and Asia.


Ms Su McCluskey FCPA

Ms Su McCluskey is an experienced senior executive and non-executive director. She is a Director of Australian Unity, the Foundation for Young Australians, Energy Renaissance and a Commissioner on the National COVID-19 Commission Advisory Board.

Su was named the Westpac/AFR 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 and 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. 


Dr Beth Woods OAM FTSE

Dr Beth Woods is the Director-General of the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries Queensland, where she leads development initiatives to deliver an innovative, productive and sustainable agriculture, fisheries and forestry sector.

Previously Beth was the Deputy Director-General of Agriculture; and Deputy Director-General, Science in the former Department of Employment, Economic Development and Innovation. She was the foundation Director of UQ’s Rural Extension Centre, and Professor of Agribusiness at UQ from 1997-2004.

Beth has served on committees of the Grains R&D Corporation, the Policy Advisory Council of the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research, the CSIRO Board, the Gatton College Council and the Rural Adjustment Scheme Advisory Council.


Tony York

Mr Tony York is a third-generation farmer from the central Wheatbelt town of Tammin, where he farms more than 13,000 arable hectares of wheat, barley, canola, various legumes, a merino-based sheep flock and 4000 hectares of salt affected land.

He is currently a board director of the National Farmers Federation, which follows his presidency of the Western Australian Farmers Federation (WAFarmers) from 2017-2019. Tony hosts salinity research on his property on perennial pastures on salt land.

This work has involved him with CSIRO, the University of Western Australia, the Department of Agriculture and Food WA, and industry research funds.