RSNSW Council Election 2021

Statements from Candidates

Nominees for Office-bearer and Councillor positions were requested to provide brief statements outlining how their expertise and experience fits them for these roles and will benefit the Society. Where these were provided by the close of nominations at 5.00pm AEDT on 5 March, they are listed below in alphabetic order and are accessible via the links shown.

Officer-bearer and Councillor Candidates

Katherine Belov AO FRSN—candidate for Councillor

Professor Kathy Belov is Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Global Engagement) and a Professor of Comparative Genomics in the School of Life and Environmental Sciences in the Faculty of Science at the University of Sydney. Kathy's research expertise is in comparative genomics and immunogenetics of Australian wildlife and she has played a leading role in deciphering the genomes of the iconic koala, platypus, echidna, wallaby and opossum. For the last 15 years her research team have played a pivotal role in bringing the Tasmanian devil back from the brink of extinction through their work on devil immunity, genetics and population management.

Kathy co-edited the book "Saving the Tasmanian Devil: Recovery through Science-based Management" and has published over 180 peer-reviewed papers, including papers in Nature, Nature Genetics, Proceedings of the National Academy of Science and PLoS Biology. Kathy has received two Eureka awards, the Crozier Medal and the Fenner Medal from the Australian Academy of Science for her research. She is a Fellow of the Royal Society of NSW, a trustee of the Australian Museum, a scientific advisory board member of the Taronga Conservation Society of Australia, a member of the NSW Koala expert advisory committee, and a past president of the Genetics Society of Australasia. She currently co-chairs the Association of Pacific Rim Universities International Policy Advisory Council. Kathy is passionate about supporting Women in STEM and led the APRU Gender Gap report. She regularly visits schools and communicates her research through the media.

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Lindsay Botten FRSN FAIP FAustMS FOSA—candidate for Webmaster

I subscribe strongly to the Society's ideals and its forward-looking vision of "enriching lives through knowledge and inquiry". Since joining the Society, I have served as a Councillor and Webmaster since mid-2019, contributing conscientiously to the Executive, Business Continuity, Events, Publishing and Forum Committees, including a significant involvement in the 2021-23 Strategic Plan development. I was instrumental in implementing our online presence during the pandemic (YouTube, live-streamed Forum, elections), website content/functionality upgrades, and revitalising our social media profile and brand imagery. It has been a privilege to serve and I seek election to continue.

I spent 40 years as an academic/senior administrator at the University of Technology Sydney and the Australian National University. At UTS, where I am an Emeritus Professor, I taught in mathematics/computing, established an international research reputation in optics/photonics, and served as Head of School, Associate Dean (Research) and acting Dean. The final decade of my career was spent as Director of Australia's national supercomputing/research data service—NCI Australia, at ANU, where I am also an Emeritus Professor. There, I led the implementation of two generations of Australia's most powerful research supercomputer, developed a sustainable business model based on partner subscriptions, and advocated national strategies in high-performance computing and eResearch. Such experiences provided me with a service focus and the strategic, technical and communication skills that underpin my Society work.

If elected, I will continue to work actively on a range of fronts, as the Society enters its third century, and particularly towards an increased online presence as we emerge from the pandemic.

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Sean Brawley FRSN—candidate for Vice-President and Councillor

I am currently Professor of History and Pro-Vice Chancellor (Programs and Pathways) at Macquarie University. I was previously Professor of History and Associate Dean (Education) in the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences at UNSW. In my 33 year academic career, I have also held positions at the University of Wollongong, Massey University (New Zealand), Australian Catholic University and visiting professorships at Georgetown University (USA) and Kyushu University (Japan). I am the author of 13 monographs and edited collections and numerous chapters and scholarly articles. I am a Principal Fellow of the UK Higher Education Academy.

I was elected a Fellow of the Society in 2019 and currently serve on the Bicentennial Committee. I would bring to the role of Vice-President not only my experience drawn from my senior academic leadership roles but also my experience as an executive member of national and international learned organisations (notably the Australian Historical Association and the International Society for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning in which I served as Vice-President and Asia-Pacific Director). I would welcome the opportunity to act as a custodian of the Society and to further its work in disseminating knowledge and continuing to reinforce the good work achieved in recent years in strengthening relationships with government and the communities we serve. Furthering our national and international connections with other learned societies would also be an area where I believe I could make a contribution.

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John Cameron MRSN CPA—candidate for Treasurer

I am a qualified accountant (CPA) with a Masters Degree (Honours) in Accounting from UNSW. After 39 years as an administrator in higher education (UNSW, UTS and ACU), I retired in December 2012. My last position at the Australian Catholic University was as Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Chief Operating Officer. Reporting to the Vice-Chancellor, responsibilities included coordination of strategy and service delivery across a range of specialist administrative functions, covering Finance, Human Resources, lnformation Technology, Legal Services, Planning, Properties and Secretariat, as well as being Secretary to the University Senate and Company Secretary for ACU Limited.

Since retiring, I have served with several private higher education and charitable organisations, including for three years as CFO for the NSW Centre for Volunteering and in my present board roles: Chair, Marist Youth Care Ltd; Chair, AlBl HEd Pty Ltd; Director, SP Jain School of Global Management; and, Director, AustLII Ltd. I have a keen interest in offering my services in a volunteer capacity where I want to support what an organisation stands for and I feel my background in finance, administration and governance might allow me to add value. I was fortunate to be introduced by a former work colleague to the commitment of the Royal Society to foster scientific research and knowledge. I would be pleased to have an opportunity to support that important work in the role of Treasurer.

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Robert Clancy AM FRSN FRACP FRCPA FRCPC—candidate for Councillor

I have been a Fellow for six years, a member of Council for three years, and Chair of Events, and a member of the Events Committee over the past three years. I have been involved in the Library and organised the "History of Science" tour in 2019.

My objectives for the Royal Society of NSW are:

  1. for the Society to be financially stable;
  2. to extend its influence to both the community and schools;
  3. to provide an exciting balanced thematic events program;
  4. to assist the Society to be the best it can be;
  5. to promote a wide community representation within the Society.

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David Cook AO FRSN FTSE—candidate for Councillor

Dr Cook was elected as a Fellow of the Royal Society of New South Wales in 2014. The citation for his election identified his role as Executive Director of the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation. He served in this role from 1988-94 and then joined Boral Limited and served in senior management roles in the cement and building products divisions until his retirement in 2004.

Dr Cook was elected as a Fellow of the Academy of Technology and Engineering in 1990. As a Fellow, Dr Cook has served as Chair of the New South Wales Division from 2011 to 2014. He was elected to the Board of the Academy in 2014 and served for three terms. He was Vice-President (Membership) from 2015 to 2019 and has served on the Membership Committee since 2012.

In 2018, Dr Cook was appointed an Officer of the Order of Australia for distinguished service to the technological sciences and to engineering through corporate governance roles, and to the building and construction sector.

If elected to Council Dr Cook commits to working with other Royal Society office-bearers in the year of the Bicentenary celebrations to achieve the initiatives that this event provides. Dr Cook believes he has the experience in working with learned societies and their Fellows to contribute to the success and prestige of the Royal Society of New South Wales.

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Malte Ebach FRSN—candidate for Councillor

As an active Council member for The Systematics Association, London, and the founding President for the Systematic and Evolutionary Biogeographical Association (SEBA) I contributed to the Associations' renown and revenue. I established SEBA to help scientists from developing nations access workers and resources from wealthier nations, and for the Systematics Association, London I organised an international symposium, and published and edited for the Association’s book series.

I am keen to take on roles on the RSNSW Library and Assets Committee or the Publishing Committee. I bring a high level of enthusiasm and dedication and hope to invigorate engagement within RSNSW and bring new memberships through increased interaction across disciplines and societies.

Library and Assets: I have extensive knowledge and publications in early Australian natural history. I am willing to curate RSNSW collections, identify missing and complementary items and liaise with my contacts across various collections for exchanges. I can promote the Society’s collections and organise digitization on platforms such as the Biodiversity Heritage Library and the Internet Archive.

Publishing: I have over 20 years' experience working with publishers, including as Editor-in-Chief of 2 book series (acquisitioning over 20 book contracts), Editor for 4 journals, and Associate Editor for 2, and have published 9 books and over 100 academic articles across a variety of disciplines, and have extensive publisher and authors contacts. One major way I can help RSNSW would be to establish new publishing opportunities, such as a RSNSW book series, to raise the Society's revenue, prominence and renown.

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Philip Gale FRSN FRSC FRACI—candidate for Councillor

I am a chemist at the University of Sydney, moving to Australia in 2017 following 17 years at the University of Southampton, UK. I am currently Head of School (Chemistry) and Associate Dean (International) in the Faculty of Science at the University of Sydney.

I am standing for Council of the Royal Society of New South Wales as I believe my experience of serving in several roles in the Royal Society of Chemistry in the UK (including as an interest group chair, chair of a local section and chair of an editorial board) will be valuable to the Society. I am particularly interested in promoting younger scientists' achievements and have been involved in founding two prizes in my area to recognize their success (the Cram Lehn Pedersen Prize of the International Symposium on Macrocyclic and Supramolecular Chemistry and the RSC MASC thesis prize).

My research interests are in supramolecular chemistry and in particular the transmembrane transport of anions by synthetic carriers. This work has potential application in the development of new treatments for cystic fibrosis and cancer.

I am also a Fellow of the Royal Australian Chemical Institute, the Royal Society of Chemistry and a member of the American Chemical Society. I previously held a Royal Society University Research Fellowship and a Royal Society Wolfson Research Merit Award in the UK. I am the Editor-in-Chief of Coordination Chemistry Reviews and the Co-Editor in Chief of the RSC Monographs in Supramolecular Chemistry book series.

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Pamela Griffith FRSN—candidate for Councillor

I have been a Fellow of the RSNSW for four years and presently serve on the Fellows and Members Assessment Committee.

Historically, Royal Societies had a mandate for public education. Public trust in science is at an all-time low. Science-based policy has taken a back seat to partisan politics. Critical issues such as global pandemics, biodiversity loss and climate change, require trusted intellectuals to engage with the general public, and with the policy making process like never before. The RSNSW can help in re-establishing public trust in science, and the academic and public intellectuals who embody the spirit of the enlightenment.

It is critical that the Society be front footed in public engagement. Three things need to be prioritized for this to occur. One is to diversify the membership of the RSNSW with more disciplines being represented including the arts and social sciences. Women and people outside of academia in proportions appropriate to their demographics should be included. Secondly, to expand the demographic of our membership to include mid-career professionals who are aspirational to young people. We need outstanding individuals representing science and critical issues to the public with passion, and enthusiasm. Amongst our membership now we have people well qualified as mentors to a new breed of scientists. Finally, we need more frequent and bigger public engagements in all of the forms they might take from speaker series to social media, in an effort to project the expertise and inspirational stories of our academy to the public at large.

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John Hardie FRSN FHEA FGS—candidate for Librarian

I have been involved with the Royal Society of NSW as a Member, Fellow and Councillor since the early 1970s when the Society's library was housed in Science House. I am the longest-serving President of the Society and am the current Librarian.

I have been the Chair of the Society's Library and Assets Committee since 2016. In that time, and with its help and advice, I oversaw the successful relocation of half of our library from obscurity in boxes to pride of place in the Jean Garling Room at the State Library of NSW. I managed a small team of volunteers to list these 5,000 volumes and engaged a professional restorer to bring them back to life. I have also managed the day-to-day liaison between the Society and the State Library in relation to this project. I am also the Chair of the Society's Publishing Committee overseeing the ways the Society can best disseminate knowledge to the people of NSW through electronic and more traditional means.

My entire career has been dedicated to making knowledge and information as widely available as possible through my roles as an education manager in the NSW Department of Education and Training and a change agent at the University of Sydney.

If elected, I will continue this work to ensure that the Society once again has a functioning library for its members and the wider community, and that intellectual inquiry and knowledge are rigorously pursued.

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Donald Hector AM FRSN FIEAust FIChemE FAICD—candidate for Councillor

A strong and engaged Council has guided the renaissance of the Society over the last several years — it was a privilege to have been a President during part of this period and to have served on Council. Strategic programs have been developed to provide depth and a new, diverse range of activities for members. But future success is not guaranteed, particularly in these times of a global pandemic and economic uncertainty. We must continue to develop and retain our membership base by increasing diversity and demonstrating value to our members — a great challenge within the constraints of the pandemic. We should continue the renewal of the Society, encouraging new, exciting ideas and building on our 200 years of experience as Australia's oldest learned institution. I hope that I may represent the members of the Society on the Council in 2021 and, if re-elected, I will serve the Society with energy and enthusiasm.

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Davina Jackson FRSN FRSA FRGS—candidate for Councillor

Dr Davina Jackson is an Auckland-educated, Sydney-based writer and editor of books, websites and exhibitions on architecture, digital cities, geography and history themes. A former editor of Architecture Australia and a founder of the Vivid light festival, she is a current councillor of the Geographical Society of NSW, an honorary governor and academic with architecture schools in England and India, and editor of the Walsh Bay precinct history website. Her last books were SuperLux: Smart Light Art, Design and Architecture for Cities and Data Cities: How Satellites are Transforming Architecture and Design, and her next book is an illustrated narrative history of Australian architecture.

Davina's background in newspaper journalism, magazine and book editing, academic research, website development, exhibition curation and events production seems relevant to the Publications Committee. She expects to help improve the Society's website and publications content and typography; to contribute well-researched strategy and issues papers, and to add her global, multi-disciplinary knowledge to the Society's discussions and projects.

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Virginia Judge FRSN—candidate for Councillor

I have been a member of Council for the last three years and have very much enjoyed my participation in the leadership group of the Royal Society of NSW. My background as former Mayor of Strathfield and later as a Member of the NSW Parliament and Minister for Fair Trade, the Arts and Citizenship, has given me extensive experience in management, and my qualification from the Australian lnstitute of Cornpany Directors has been an invaluable tool for planning and achieving goals.

I have a strong sense of community service, having worked as an Australian Volunteer Abroad (AVA), and I currently support numerous cultural institutions including the Vanguard of the Sydney Symphony Orchestra, Sydney Dance Company and Atelier Group of the Art Gallery of NSW. I bring strong experience in fundraising having worked as Development Manager for over 9 years for the Children's Medical Research lnstitute and the Heart Research institute, raising over $15 million in total. For many years I have been a Trustee of the Foundation Board of the Australian Museum and was recently appointed a member of the Museum's Board of Governors. I am very enthusiastic about the Royal Society of NSW and its aims, and believe my experiences, qualifications and skills will allow me to make a strong contribution to the Royal Society into the future.

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Eric Knight FRSN—candidate for Councillor

Professor Eric Knight is Executive Dean of Macquarie Business School and Professor of Strategic Management at Macquarie University. He is a Rhodes Scholar, a Fulbright Senior Scholar, and has held visiting positions at the University of Oxford and Stanford University.

Professor Knight is an internationally recognised scholar in the fields of organisational theory and strategic management. He earned his Doctor of Philosophy (DPhil) from the University of Oxford, before working in industry for the Boston Consulting Group for several years. As well as his contributions to scholarship, he is an award-winning teacher and has played a pivotal role in curriculum innovation in online, undergraduate and MBA formats. His own teaching in Design-led Strategy, for example, has attracted more than 25,000 students and creates highly contextualized learning experiences at the intersection of corporate strategy and engineering. His clients have included Swiss Re, the Commonwealth Department of Defence, Optus, and the National Australia Bank.

Professor Knight has served on numerous boards including the NSW Smart Sensing Network and the NSW Defence Innovation Network. He is the incoming chair of the Strategy Practice interest group of the Strategic Management Society and PDW Chair of the Strategy as Practice interest group at the Academy of Management. He is a Graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors, Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy, and a Fellow of the Royal Society of NSW.

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Robert Marks FRSN—candidate for Councillor

I have been the Editor of the Journal & Proceedings of the Royal Society of NSW since 2016. I plan to continue for the future, if the Council approves. As Editor, I have sat on the Council since 2017.

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Bruce Milthorpe FRSN FBSE—candidate for Councillor

I have been a Fellow of the Royal Society of New South Wales since 2014 and a member of Council from 2014, with one year not on Council. I have served on the Nomination Committee and also as Chair of the Awards Committee for 2019.

I am willing and able to continue to provide advice to the new Chair of the Awards Committee as to current process and policy, as well as to continue the process of committee renewal that Council would like to see in the Awards Committee. I also would like to see the renewal process continue in the Society, more generally, with a greater emphasis on the inclusion of the arts and philosophies in the OGM talks and Society activities.

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Susan Pond AM FRSN FTSE FAHMS FRACP FAICD—candidate for President

In standing for election as the Society's next President, I offer my leadership experience in academia, business, government, and volunteer organisations.

Most recently I was Director of Sydney Nano, an innovative, multidisciplinary institute at The University of Sydney, where I remain an Adjunct Professor. Currently, I chair the NSW Smart Sensing Network, a state-wide enterprise with core funding from the NSW Office of the Chief Scientist & Engineer that brings together academia, industry, and government. I am also non-executive director of several companies, listed and private.

Previously, after a career in academia, I served as Managing Director of Johnson & Johnson Research Australia, Chair of AusBiotech, Vice-President of the Australian Academy of Technology and Engineering, and chair or member of several Australian Government Boards.

While Vice-President of the Society, I chaired the Committees for Business Continuity, Rules Review, and Strategic Planning. In 2019 and 2020, I convened the Program Committee for our signature event, the Four Academies' Forum ("Making SPACE for Australia" in 2019 and "After COVID-19" in 2020).

This year marks the Society's celebration of its bicentenary and recent renewal. I intend to deepen the Society's relationship with Government and to secure dedicated Sydney premises, to give us the permanence, stability, and presence we need to take our renaissance to the next level.

I propose to amplify the energy and firepower of our entire membership so that together we can better contribute, in an independent fashion and as a leading voice, to the advancement of knowledge and debate in New South Wales.

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Bruce Ramage MRSN—candidate for Secretary

I have been involved with the Royal Society of NSW (RSNSW) since my days in Science House when I worked for Engineers Australia some decades ago. I have been a Councillor and Secretary of the Society since 2019.

I have some 30 years' experience in senior administration in three universities: Sydney, UNSW and UTS. I also have 10 years' experience in the not-for-profit sector working in medical-related NGOs, including eight years as CEO of one.

My broad experience has proved to be invaluable in my RSNSW role. As Secretary I have contributed extensively to the Society's executive management, ensuring its smooth functioning on a daily basis. During this time, I have contributed significantly to the following:

If elected, I shall continue to work hard for the Society, refining and streamlining the Society's administrative processes and procedures, and making significant contributions to the renaissance of the Society.

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Christina Slade FRSN—candidate for Councillor

I have been a Fellow of the Royal Society of New South Wales since 2019 and have been Chair of the Events Committee and Member of Council since April 2020. Judith Wheeldon, the previous chair, led the move to online events with the support of the Webmaster Emeritus Professor Lindsay Botten and Stuart Midgley. Over 2020, the Royal Society of New South Wales held twenty one events. The new Hunter branch held five events and the Southern Highlands branch nine. This is a real achievement for which we must thank the entire committee, and Lindsay and Stuart in particular.

The Royal Society has fostered "studies and investigations in Science, Art, Literature and Philosophy" since 1821. My own academic background is in Philosophy of Mathematics; I worked as a journalist and have researched in the areas of media, so bring a broad perspective to the Council. I have been a senior academic leader at the Universities of Canberra, Macquarie and now Charles Sturt University in Australia, at the Tec de Monterrey in Mexico City, and the University of Utrecht in the Netherlands. I was Dean at City, University of London and Vice-Chancellor of Bath Spa University in the United Kingdom where I am Professor Emeritus.

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Ian Sloan AO FRSN FAA FAIP FAustMS FAMS FSIAM—candidate for President

I am the current President, having served in this challenging but rewarding role for the past three years, and am now seeking re-election for a final term.

The Royal Society has seen significant reinvigoration in recent years, including substantial growth in membership, increased and widened activities, and improved online and other services; but much more work is needed to ensure the long term sustainability of the Society. As leader of a great team, I hope in this term to start initiatives that enhance sustainability and strengthen our partnerships, and to complete a brilliant bicentennial year for all our members.

In earlier years I served the Society as Vice-President and member of Council, and Chair of the Fellows Committee.

Professionally, I am a mathematician and Professor at the UNSW. I served as President for four years of the International Council for Industrial and Applied Mathematics, and in Australia as President of the Australian Mathematical Society and for eight years Head of UNSW's world-class School of Mathematics and Statistics. I am a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Science, the Australian Institute of Physics, the Australian Mathematical Society, the American Mathematical Society, the Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics, and not least, the Royal Society of NSW.

I like to think that I will bring credibility and experience to the position, and give leadership in meeting the long-term challenge of "enriching lives through knowledge".

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Judith Wheeldon AM FRSN—candidate for Vice-President

Celebrating our bicentenary, it is essential that vision for the future and experience in the Society tops our agenda.


Public Profile/Experience:

Achievements (often against initial strong opposition, I have initiated and led essential projects):


Elect Judith Wheeldon to Council — a strategic thinker with vision and skills to lead the Society into the strongest and best future.

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