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. 

photo of 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 outgoing 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 has led research and development missions and projects in dozens of countries on behalf of all major development agencies.

Beginning his agricultural career as a rouseabout 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 where he continues as Professor Emeritus, and a long-serving director of a 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 several agricultural science books. Lindsay is immediate past 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 and Special Representative for Australian Agriculture. She is a Director of Australian Unity, LiveCorp, Australasian Pork Research Institute and Energy Renaissance.

Su was the inaugural CEO of the Regional Australia Institute and the Council of Rural Research and Development Corporations and has held senior positions with the Office of Best Practice Regulation, 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 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. 


Dr Beth Woods OAM FTSE

Dr Beth Woods retired in 2021 as Director-General of the Queensland Department of Agriculture and Fisheries where she led development initiatives to deliver an innovative, productive and sustainable agriculture, fisheries and forestry sector. Previously she was the foundation Director of the University of Queensland Rural Extension Centre, and Professor of Agribusiness at UQ from 1997-2004. Beth has served on boards and committees including for the Grains Research & Development Corporation, the CSIRO Board, the Gatton College Council and the Queensland Rural Adjustment Authority (now QRIDA). She chaired RIRDC (now AgriFutures), a National Drought Policy Review, the International Rice Research Institute and WorldFish, and was recently the inaugural independent Chair of the Policy Council of Cattle Council of Australia. She currently chairs the Council of the Australian Institute of Marine Science.


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.