Commercialisation connector & research rockstar to lead STA

A visionary “connector of commercialisation” and research rockstar Professor Sharath Sriram is Science & Technology Australia’s new President-elect.

Professor Sharath Sriram and Science Minister Ed Husic MP

Professor Sriram of RMIT has a remarkable track record of connecting industry and researchers – he has created more than $6 million in commercial partnerships for his university over the past five years.

Leading-edge work from his teams includes smart bedding products for aged-care support, a wearable for continuous molecular monitoring, and miniature biosensors for monitoring respiratory illnesses.

Professor Sriram, who currently serves as STA’s Policy Chair, has driven this success by working closely with industry partners, learning deeply about commercialisation processes, and by becoming a key point of contact for businesses looking to reach into the university system for solutions to challenges.

His team now consists of 47 staff, including scientists and engineers, and they work closely with teams from the business and design schools at the university.

Professor Sriram will succeed current STA President Professor Mark Hutchinson at the STA Annual General Meeting in November 2023, after serving as President-elect for the next 12 months.

Other impressive science and technology leaders elected to STA’s Executive at today’s AGM include:

  • Jas Chambers (Founder of Ocean Decade Australia) who was re-elected as Secretary.
  • Dr Kathy Nicholson (Operations Manager at the Australian Institute for Machine Learning) who will become STA’s new Policy Chair after serving as Deputy Policy Chair; and
  • Superstar of STEM Dr Jiao Jiao Li (Early Career Research at UTS) who succeeds Dr Chloe Taylor as Early Career Representative.

STA President Professor Mark Hutchinson congratulated Professor Sriram and the newly-elected Executive and Board Directors – applauding the stellar talent STA attracts to its governance.

“The science and technology sector is blessed with extraordinary talented leaders who contribute energy, insights and expertise to the nation’s peak body for science and technology,” he said.

“Sharath will be an outstanding President for Science & Technology Australia and champion for our thriving membership community. He brings vast expertise in policy, commercialisation and innovation.”

“Amid an urgent imperative to turn more great Australian science and engineering into new jobs, he is the perfect person to lead this inspiring organisation – a role model connector of commercialisation.”

Science & Technology Australia’s President-elect Professor Sharath Sriram said he was honoured to have been entrusted by the 105,000-strong STA members to lead the organisation.

“I am excited and deeply honoured to lead Science & Technology Australia and represent the interests of the science and technology community to policymakers, industry and the Australian public,” he said.

“I want to help more Australian researchers deepen connections with industry and bridge the ‘valley of death’ in commercialisation, and be a powerful advocate to deepen Australia’s investments in discovery science.”

“I look forward to working with Mark over the next year as President-elect. He is an exceptional leader of STA who has delivered vast advocacy success for our sector and rapid growth for the organisation.”

Also elected/re-elected to the STA Board at this election were:

  • Agricultural & Food Sciences: Mr Michael Walker (re-elected for a second term)
  • Biological Sciences: Dr Tatiana Soares da Costa (re-elected for a second term)
  • Chemical Sciences: Ms Francesca Gissi (Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry)
  • Geographical & Geological Sciences: Ms Sarah Kachovich (International Ocean Discovery Program)
  • Mathematical Sciences: Professor Chris Matthews
  • Physical Sciences: Professor Jodie Brady (re-elected for a second term)
  • Plant & Ecological Sciences: Dr Bek Christensen (Ecological Society of Australia)
  • Technological Sciences: Dr Vipul Agarwal (re-elected for a second term)
  • General Sciences: Ms Heather Catchpole (re-elected for a second term)

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