About the Board
On 15 October 2021, Minister for Science and Technology, Melissa Price, announced Kathryn Fagg AO would take up a five-year appointment as Chair of the Board.
The Board is responsible to the Australian Government for the overall strategy, governance and performance of CSIRO. Under the Science and Industry Research Act 1949, the primary functions of the Board are to:
- ensure the proper and efficient performance of the functions of the Organisation
- determine the policy of the Organisation with respect to any matter
- give directions to the Chief Executive.
The Board meets at least quarterly and comprises a non-executive Chair, up to eight other non-executive Members and a full-time Chief Executive.
All Board members (other than the Chief Executive) are appointed by the Governor-General. The Chief Executive is appointed by the Board.
The Board operates in part through two standing committees:
- The Board People, Health and Safety Committee, which assists the Board to fulfill its governance responsibilities in relation to organizational development, people related activities and health and safety.
- The Board Audit and Risk Committee, which assists CSIRO and its Board in the areas of financial management, risk management, internal control and compliance.
Chair and members of the Board
Kathryn Fagg AO
CSIRO Board Chair
Ms Kathryn Fagg is an experienced director, senior executive and former engineer. Ms Fagg was promoted from Deputy Chair to Chair for a five-year term, from 15 October 2021. A highly experienced board member and Chair, a non-executive Director of the National Australia Bank Ltd, Djerriwarrh Investments Ltd and Medibank. She is the Chair of Breast Cancer Network Australia (BCNA), Inaugural Chair of Watertrust Australia Ltd, as well as being a Board Member of the Grattan Institute, The Myer Foundation and the Champions of Change Coalition. She was formerly a Reserve Bank Board member and former President of Chief Executive Women. Ms Fagg has held senior executive roles in logistics, manufacturing, resources, banking and professional services, including with Linfox, BlueScope Steel and the ANZ Banking Group. Her qualifications include a Bachelor of Engineering (Honours) from the University of Queensland and a Master of Commerce (Honours) from the University of New South Wales. In 2017 she was awarded the Ada Lovelace Medal for Outstanding Woman Engineer by the University of New South Wales.
Term of appointment: 02.08.18 to 01.08.23; 17.09.20 to 16.09.25; 14.10.21 to 13.10.26
Prof Edwina Cornish AO
CSIRO Board Member
Professor Edwina Cornish AO has worked at the interface between industry, the research and higher education sectors and government throughout her career. She is an experienced board member with expertise in scientific and academic leadership and international business development. Professor Cornish is a Member of the Council of La Trobe University , a Director of Uniquest Pty Ltd, Chair of the Review of the Australian Catholic University’s research strategy and Ambassador of the Australian Sleep Foundation. Professor Cornish played a key role in building one of Australia’s first biotechnology companies, Florigene Limited, which developed and successfully commercialised the world’s first genetically modified flowers under her leadership. She was previously Provost and Senior Vice-President of Monash University. In 2014 she was made an Officer of the Order of Australia, in part for her advances in biotechnology and horticultural genetic modification.
Term of appointment: 26.11.15 to 25.11.20; 26.11.20 to 25.11.23.
Prof Tanya Monro AC
CSIRO Board Member
Professor Tanya Monro is the Chief Defence Scientist, appointed in March 2019.
Professor Monro was previously Deputy Vice Chancellor Research and Innovation and an ARC Georgina Sweet Laureate Fellow at the University of South Australia.
Professor Monro was the inaugural Director of the Institute for Photonics and Advanced Sensing (IPAS) from 2008 to 2014 and was also the inaugural Director for the ARC Centre of Excellence for Nanoscale BioPhotonics (CNBP) at the University of Adelaide. Her research is in the field of photonics, with a focus on sensing, lasers and new classes of optical fibres. Professor Monro obtained her PhD in physics in 1998 from The University of Sydney, for which she was awarded the Bragg Gold Medal for the best Physics PhD in Australia. In 2000, she received a Royal Society University Research Fellowship at the Optoelectronics Research Centre at the University of Southampton in the UK, and is also an inaugural Bragg Fellow of the Royal Institution of Australia (RiAus).
Professor Monro is a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Science (AAS), the Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering (ATSE), the Optical Society of America (OSA) and the Australian Institute of Physics. She is a member of the SA Premier’s Economic Advisory Council and Science Patron of the National Youth Science Forum (NYSF).
Her awards include: the Prime Minister's Malcolm McIntosh Prize for Physical Scientist of the Year (2008), South Australian Scientist of the Year (2010), South Australia's Australian of the Year (2011), and the Eureka Prize for Excellence in Interdisciplinary Scientific Research (2015).
Term of appointment: 25.02.16 to 24.02.21; 25.02.21 to 24.02.24
Dr Michele Allan AO
CSIRO Board Member, Chair of Board Audit & Risk Committee
Dr Michele Allan is a food industry and agribusiness specialist who has held senior executive and director positions in the food, agriculture and education sectors and has an academic background in biomedical science, management and law. Dr Allan is the Chancellor of Charles Sturt University, Chair of Wine Australia, Chair of Smart Sat CRC and Chair of Defence CRC for Trusted Autonomous Systems. Dr Allan is also Chair and a member of the steering committee of the Advisory Council for Australian AgriFood Data Exchange. Her current board positions include, , MJ Chicken Pty Ltd, Food Agility CRC and Dairy Food Safety Victoria. Dr Allan has a Bachelor of Applied Science Major – Biomedical Science – Cytology from University Technology Sydney, Master of Management (Technology) from the University of Melbourne, Doctor of Business Administration from Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology and a Master of Commercial Law from Deakin University. She is also a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Company Directors. In January 2023, Dr Allan was made an Officer in the Order of Australia for distinguished service to the agricultural, food production and business sectors, and to tertiary education.
Term of appointment: 05.05.16 to 04.05.19; 05.05.19 to 04.05.24
CSIRO Board Member
Ian is Chief Executive of the Queensland Resources Council and is a non-executive director of Woodside Petroleum and the Chairman of the Innovative Manufacturing Co-operative Research Centre. Current board positions include Toowoomba & Surat Basin Enterprise and Sovereign Manufacturing Automation for Composites Cooperative Research Centre. Ian Macfarlane has had a long career in the public service and was elected to Federal Parliament in 1998. He became Australia’s longest serving Federal Resources and Energy Minister and the Coalition’s longest serving Federal Industry and Innovation Minister with over 14 years of experience in both Cabinet and shadow ministerial positions before retiring from parliament in May 2016.
Term of appointment: 14.10.21 to 13.10.24
Prof Alex Brown
CSIRO Board Member
Professor Brown is an internationally recognised clinician and researcher who has worked in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health for his entire career. Professor Brown is the Professor of Indigenous Genomics at the Telethon Kids Institute and the Australian National University. A proud member of the Yuin nation, Professor Brown is the first Indigenous scientist appointed to the CSIRO Board, bringing a wealth of experience understanding and overcoming health inequalities and bridging connections across science ecosystems. The appointment of Professor Alex Brown will help address skills gaps identified by the Board, facilitate greater collaboration between research agencies and universities, and ensure CSIRO’s future direction benefits from being more inclusive.
Term of Appointment: 16.03.23 (commenced duties 03.04.23) to 15.03.28
Prof Emma Johnston AO
CSIRO Board Member
A highly-awarded and world-leading authority in marine science and conservation, Professor Johnston’s current research focuses on global change including marine debris, biological invasions, extreme events, and Antarctica's environmental future. She was previously Dean of Science and Pro-Vice-Chancellor of Research at the University of New South Wales.
As the past President of Science & Technology Australia (STA), an elected position, she is a highly influential figure in the Australian higher education and research sector. Professor Johnston has led major research projects for industry, government, the Australian Research Council, and the Australian Antarctic Science Program and contributed to the development of international and national research strategies, priorities, and plans. She is a sustainability and diversity champion and a Chief Author of the Australian State of Environment Report 2021. She is a trusted advisor working across a range of government and industry bodies. Professor Johnston is a Director on the Board of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority (GBRMPA), and a governor of the Ian Potter Foundation.
Professor Johnston is an elected fellow of the Australian Academy of Science (AAS), the Australian Academy of Technology and Engineering (ATSE) and the Royal Society of New South Wales (RSNSW) and was made an Officer of the Order of Australia (AO) in the 2018 Queen’s Birthday Honours for ‘distinguished service to higher education, particularly to marine ecology and ecotoxicology, as an academic, researcher and administrator, and to scientific institutes’.
Term of Appointment: 22.08.23 (commenced duties 11.09.23) to 21.08.27