Keynote presenters

Professor Chris Brink
Vice-Chancellor, Newcastle University, UK

Chris BrinkProfessor Chris Brink has been the Vice-Chancellor of Newcastle University in the UK since 2007. He serves on the Boards of the Russell Group, Universities UK, and the N8 (the partnership of eight major research-intensive universities in the North of England, where he also served as Chairman). He is a member of the Advisory Committee on Leadership, Governance and Management of the Higher Education Funding Council for England. Previously he served on the national Boards of the Quality Assurance Agency, the Equality Challenge Unit (also as Co-Chair), JISC, and the North East Local Enterprise Partnership.

Before coming to Newcastle, Professor Brink was Rector and Vice-Chancellor of Stellenbosch University in South Africa, where he led a transformation agenda which attracted national and international attention. Earlier, he had served as Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Research) at the University of Wollongong in Australia, Professor and Head of Mathematics and Applied Mathematics at the University of Cape Town, and Coordinator of Strategic Planning. Earlier he was a Senior Research Fellow at the Australian National University.

He is a logician with a Cambridge PhD, an interdisciplinary DPhil, Master's degrees in philosophy and mathematics, and a Bachelor's degree in computer science. His research areas include mathematics, logic, philosophy and computer science, and he has published in all these fields. Before moving into management he held the prestigious "A"-rating of the National Research Foundation, which ranked him as one of South Africa's leading scientists.

Dr Alan Broadfoot
Director of the Newcastle Institute of Energy and Resources

Chris BrinkDr Alan Broadfoot is well known for his innovations in industry and is Director of the Newcastle Institute for Energy and Resources (NIER) at the University of Newcastle. Charged with an ambitious agenda linking industry and academia for transformational research in energy and resources efficiency, productivity and sustainability, Alan's strategic direction and enterprising leadership has promoted a number of new and exciting initiatives at NIER, aligned to emerging challenges and national priorities associated with the sector.

Alan holds a Doctor of Philosophy, Master of Engineering and Bachelor of Electrical Engineering (Honours) from the University of Newcastle. In 2006 he was awarded Engineers Australia's Professional Engineer of the Year. He is a Fellow of the Institution of Engineers Australia and was Chair of the Australian Industry Group Hunter Manufacturing Council from 2004 to 2009. He is a Graduate Member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors and sits on a number of executive advisory committees.

Mr Philip Clark AM
Member Advisory Council, JP Morgan Australia

Phillip ClarkPhilip Marcus Clark AM was Managing Partner and CEO of Minter Ellison and worked with that firm from 1995 until June 2005. Prior to joining Minter Ellison, Phil was Director and Head of Corporate with ABN Amro Australia and prior to that he was Managing Partner of Mallesons Stephen Jaques for 16 years. Earlier in his career he worked with a Pratt Industries subsidiary and with Shell Australia.

Phil now serves on a number of boards and advisory boards. He chairs listed companies, private companies and a number of advisory boards. Phil has extensive board experience in the tertiary education sector.

In addition to his current appointments, Phil served as Chair of the Higher Education Endowment Fund (HEEF) Advisory Board and Chair of the Education Investment Fund (EIF) Advisory Board. He chaired the NSW Government Taskforce on International Education and Research and was a member of the Australian Research Council.

Phil's work in the not-for profit sector includes positions in education foundations, as a Director of High Resolves Foundation and Australian Indigenous Mentoring Experience Indigenous Corporation (AIME). Phil also served as a Director of the Garvan Foundation from 2005 to 2008.

Phil has Bachelors degrees in Arts and Law from Sydney University and an MBA from Columbia University.

Dr Tom Corr
Chief Executive Officer, Ontario Centres of Excellence, Canada

Tom CorrDr. Tom Corr is President and Chief Executive Officer of Ontario Centres of Excellence (OCE). Through industry-academic collaboration, OCE drives the commercialization of research across key market sectors in Ontario including ICT & Digital Media, Energy and Environment, Advanced Manufacturing, and Advanced Healthcare. Funded primarily by the Government of Ontario and also by the Government of Canada, OCE acts as a catalyst for innovative businesses to grow and achieve sustainable, commercial success and global competitiveness.

Dr. Corr has more than 30 years of entrepreneurial experience in the IT and venture capital sectors and also serves on the board of a number of organizations including OneEleven (Chair), Alberta Innovates Technology Futures (Vice-Chair), the Waterloo Research and Technology Park - Accelerator Centre and C-FER Technologies (Chair). He holds a Doctor of Business Administration degree from Brunel University/Henley Management College, a Masters of Business Administration degree from the University of Toronto, Advanced Postgraduate diploma in Management Consultancy from Henley Management College, and an ICD designation from the Institute of Corporate Directors.

Ms Caroline Haynes
Director, Magnet Cities, KPMG London, United Kingdom

Caroline HaynesCaroline is a Director in KPMG's Advisory Practice and leads the firm's work on Economic Growth and City Reinvention. She trained and worked for many years as an economist and was an advisor on welfare reform to the Labour governments under Tony Blair and Gordon Brown and was an economic advisor to the current UK Prime Minister and Chancellor.

Caroline recently published a book called Magnet Cities which unpicks the mechanics of city growth. Caroline advises on Sustainable Urban Development at the University of Oxford. She also advises UK and global city clients on economic growth, city reinvention and the commercialisation of city assets.

Caroline holds degrees from Columbia University and the London School of Economics.

Professor Mark Nordenberg
Chancellor Emeritus, University of Pittsburgh, USA

Mark Nordenberg The University of Pittsburgh was founded, as a log-cabin academy situated on the edge of the American wilderness, in 1787. Today, Pitt enrolls more than 35,000 students in top-quality programs on five modern campuses and has earned international recognition as a center of pioneering research.

Mark Nordenberg joined the Pitt law faculty in 1977. He served as Dean of the School of Law from 1985 to 1993, Interim Provost from 1993 to 1994, and Chancellor from 1995 to 2014. Currently he holds the special faculty rank of Distinguished Service Professor and is Chair of the University's Institute of Politics.

During his tenure as Chancellor, the University achieved new levels of quality and impact on every front. Applications for admission quadrupled, and Pitt climbed to a ranking as high as fifth among all American universities, measured by the federal research support competitively attracted by its faculty.

During this same period, Pittsburgh's economy was re-born, driven largely by its "eds and meds" sector. Among his many contributions, Chancellor Nordenberg served as founding chair or co-chair of the Pittsburgh Digital Greenhouse, Pittsburgh Life Sciences Greenhouse and Pittsburgh Robotics Foundry. He also chaired a task force that developed a master-plan for regional workforce development.

Professor Colin Stirling
Vice-Chancellor, Flinders University, Australia

Colin StirlingA highly awarded academic who has taught and researched at some of the world's leading universities, Professor Colin Stirling in 2015 assumed a five-year term as Flinders University's eighth Vice-Chancellor.

Born and educated in Scotland, Professor Stirling's qualifications include a Bachelor of Science (Microbiology) with first class honours from the University of Edinburgh and a PhD in genetics from the University of Glasgow, Scotland. As a molecular geneticist, his area of expertise is the structure and function of living cells. He established his distinguished academic career at world top-50 ranked University of Manchester and has held several prestigious research fellowships including a NATO Research Fellowship at UC Berkeley in the laboratory of Nobel Laureate Randy Schekman.

Professor Stirling has a strong record of leadership, innovation and successful change management in Higher Education, with more than 12 years' experience of university senior management in the UK and more recently as Senior Deputy Vice-Chancellor at West Australia's Curtin University.

Dr David Sweeney
Director, Research and Knowledge Exchange, Higher Education Funding Council for England, UK

David SweeneyDavid Sweeney is Director (Research, Education and Knowledge Exchange). In this role he is responsible for research policy and funding (including the Research Excellence Framework), knowledge exchange and health policy. He is also responsible for the Catalyst Fund, the UK Research Partnership Investment Fund, and HEFCE's international engagement.

A statistician, David worked at two BBSRC research institutes, developing mathematical models of plant growth before moving into senior management in the IT area, becoming Director of Information Services at Royal Holloway, University of London, and serving in a national role as Chair of the Universities and Colleges Information Systems Association. He became Vice-Principal (Communications, Enterprise and Research) in 2004, responsible for research strategy, the 2008 RAE submission and for developing Royal Holloway's research-led commercial and consultancy activities, knowledge transfer and development programme. He joined HEFCE in 2008 as Director (Research, Innovation and Skills).

David was an adviser to the Australian Research Impact Pilot Exercise, and he has also visited many European countries and Hong Kong to advise on research assessment and funding. In 2012, he was a member of the Finch Group on Open Access to Research Outputs, and has been working with the research councils, charities, learned societies, other academic groups and publishers to take forward the Finch Group recommendations.

David was awarded an honorary doctorate from the University of Aberdeen in 2012 and is a Fellow of the Royal Statistical Society.

Mr Nathan Taylor
Chief Economist, Committee for Economic Development of Australia

Nathan TaylorNathan Taylor is the Chief Economist at CEDA where he is responsible for CEDA's Research and Policy agenda. This includes CEDA's major reports Australia's future workforce and Australia Adjusting: how to optimise national prosperity. Nathan has also been responsible for CEDA's research programs on and, Public policy setting, Healthcare: Reform or Ration, Australia's Energy Options, Crisis and Opportunity: Lessons from Australian Water Reform and A Greater Australia: Population, policies and governance. In the course of these projects, he has edited Australia's Nuclear Options, Renewables and efficiency and Australia's Unconventional Energy Options. He has also authored the papers Insuring Australia's cities against drought, Urban Water Security Water Security: Water for the farm and City, and Australia's Energy Options: Policy choice not economic inevitability.

Nathan has held a series of policy roles at the RBA, CCI WA, WALGA and others. He is currently undertaking a PhD examining Quantifying the value of water reliability at the University of Melbourne and is the author of the behavioural economics blog The Writings of a Naked Ape.

Guest speakers

  • Ms Dianne Allen, Deputy Chancellor and Member of the University Council, University of Newcastle, Australia
  • Mr Paul Anderson, Chief Executive, Gosford City Council
  • Mr Jack Archer, Chief Executive Officer, Regional Australia Institute
  • Mr Trent Bagnall, Co-Founder, Slingshot Accelerator
  • Mr Ken Boal, Vice-President, CISCO Australia and New Zealand
  • Professor Liz Burd, Pro Vice-Chancellor (Teaching and Learning), University of Newcastle, Australia
  • Ms Alison Coutts, Executive Chairman, NuSep Holdings
  • Professor Annabelle Duncan, Vice-Chancellor, University of New England, Australia
  • Ms Winnie Eley, Pro Vice-Chancellor (International and Advancement), University of Newcastle, Australia
  • Professor Kevin Hall, Deputy Vice-Chancellor Research and Innovation, University of Newcastle, Australia
  • Mr Bob Hawes, General Manager, Hunter Development Corporation
  • Professor Sung Key Jang, Pohang University of Science and Technology, South Korea
  • Ms Kristen Keegan, Chief Executive Officer, Hunter Business Chamber
  • Conjoint Professor Geoff Lilliss, Chair of the Strategic Development Committee and Member of the University Council, University of Newcastle, Australia
  • Mr Kyle Loades, President, National Roads and Motorists' Association Group
  • Mr Nat McGregor, Chief Operating Officer, University of Newcastle, Australia
  • Dr Roger Neill, Research Leader, Defence Science and Technology Group
  • Professor Andrew Parfitt, Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic), University of Newcastle, Australia
  • Dr Caroline Perkins, Executive Director, Regional Universities Network
  • Mr David Pitchford, Chief Executive Officer, UrbanGrowth NSW
  • Ms Liz Ritchie, State Director WA, Committee for Economic Development of Australia
  • Ms Belinda Robinson, Chief Executive Officer, Universities Australia
  • Mr Todd Williams, Chief Executive Officer, Regional Development Australia Hunter
  • Mr Marcus Westbury, Founder of Renew Newcastle, author and broadcaster    
  • Ms Deborah Wright, Chief Executive Officer, NBN Television