Keynote Speakers

Nigel Jacob

Nigel is the co-founder of the Mayor’s Office of New Urban Mechanics, a civic innovation incubator and R&D Lab within Boston’s City Hall. Nigel’s work is about making urban life better via innovative, people-oriented applications of technology and design. Prior to joining the City of Boston in 2006, Nigel worked in a series of technology start-ups in the Boston area.

He was also previously the Urban Technologist in Residence at Living Cities, a philanthropic collaboration of 22 of the world’s largest foundations and financial institutions, is currently a board member at organisations such as Code For America and coUrbanize, and is an Executive-in-Residence at Boston University.

Nigel is delivering the opening keynote address on creating resilient small cities at 9.10am on Thursday 10 October.

Dr Ellie Cosgrave

Ellie is Director of the Urban Innovation and Policy Lab at University College London. She has led research in a variety of fields relating to urban infrastructure and social justice. This has included leading the C40 Cities Women4Climate research programme and a collaboration with the Liveable Cities research programme on Gender and Urban Design.

Currently Ellie is working with London’s Mayor's Office of Policing and Crime to undertake a scoping study as part of their UN Women Safe Cities ambitions.

Ellie is delivering a keynote address on the perfect city at 10.30am on Thursday 10 October.

Dr Stefan Hajkowicz

Stefan is a leading scholar in the field of decision theory and the author of Global Megatrends: Seven patterns of change shaping our future. As a senior principal scientist working in the field of strategic foresight and the Director of CSIRO’s Data61 Insight Team, Stefan leads a group of researchers and consultants helping organisations navigate digital disruption. His research and consulting work helps companies, governments and communities explore plausible futures and make wise strategic choices.

Stefan’s research has developed decision models, which have guided investments worth hundreds of millions of dollars, and been used by Australia’s State and Federal Governments to make critical policy choices. He is a current and recent member of the OECD and World Economic Forum global strategic foresight communities.

Stefan is delivering a keynote address Global megatrends reshaping the way we live, work and play at 11.30am on Thursday 10 October. He is also hosting a clinic: Strategic imperatives for the Hunter from megatrends to practical solutions at 1.30pm.

Jim Betts

Jim is the Secretary of the NSW Department of Planning, Industry and Environment and is responsible for bringing together a new Planning, Industry and Environment Cluster. The Cluster will drive greater levels of integration and efficiency across key areas such as long-term planning, precincts, infrastructure priorities, open space, the environment, natural resources – land, water, mining – energy, and growing industries, with an increased emphasis on regional NSW.

Prior to his current role, Jim was the CEO of Infrastructure NSW where he led the development of the 2018 State Infrastructure Strategy, was responsible for the delivery of a number of the state’s infrastructure priorities, and coordinated the development of the NSW Government Action Plan: A ten point commitment to the construction sector.

Jim is delivering a keynote address on building diversification and resilience at 9.10am on Friday 11 October. He is also participating in a panel: Bridging the government and industry divide at 9.30am.

Andrew Beer

Professor Andrew Beer

Andrew is a leading authority on the drivers of regional growth in the Australian and international contexts. His expertise lies in the areas of regional policy and development, housing research and in the growth processes affecting regional cities. Andrew is the Chair of the Regional Studies Association, and the Chair of the Homelessness Strategy Group for the South Australian Government. He is the Dean, Research and Innovation at the UniSA Business School.

Andrew is delivering the keynote address at the Symposium dinner at 6.30pm on Wednesday 9 October.