The ARC Advisory Council was established in January 2008.

The Council provides the Chief Executive Officer with advice on:

  • strategic issues relating to the purpose of the ARC, including strategic planning
  • policy matters relating to innovation, research and research training
  • matters relating to the evaluation of the quality and outcomes of research and research training in an international context.

The Council is chaired by the CEO with other members appointed for periods of up to three years on the basis of their distinguished research records or achievements in business research and development.

The current members of the Council are:



Ms Leanne HarveyProfessor Sue Thomas (Chair)
Chief Executive Officer, Australian Research Council

Professor Sue Thomas is Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Australian Research Council (ARC). 

Professor Thomas joined the ARC in July 2017. Previously Provost and Deputy Vice-Chancellor at the University of New England, Professor Thomas’ academic background lies in microbial genetic, with significant experience managing innovation across a comprehensive range of disciplines.

Professor Thomas holds both a Bachelor of Science with Honours and Doctor of Philosophy in Microbiology from La Trobe University in Victoria. Her professional career commenced with appointments at Princeton University in the USA and the Medical Research Council in the United Kingdom. She joined Flinders University in Adelaide in 1990 and from the year 2000 to mid–2005 was head of the School of Biological Sciences.

In mid-2005, she moved to the University of Canberra to become Pro Vice-Chancellor of the Division of Health, Design and Science, and subsequently Pro Vice-Chancellor Research between 2007 and 2009. In this latter role, she was the senior manager responsible for the research and teaching activities of staff and students in a wide variety of disciplines. In 2009, she moved to Charles Sturt University as Deputy Vice-Chancellor, the senior executive responsible for research.

Professor Thomas’s depth of experience in research and research management will help deliver ARC’s key priorities and deliverables.


Prof. Peter BuckskinProfessor Peter Buckskin PSM FACE
Dean: Aboriginal Engagement and Strategic Projects, University of South Australia
Image courtesy: Professor Peter Buckskin

Professor Buckskin has worked as a teacher in Western Australia and South Australia, Ministerial Adviser, Superintendent of Schools, and a Senior Executive at both State and Federal level. For over ten years he worked as an officer in the Australian Government’s Senior Executive Service, where he occupied a number of strategic positions in the portfolios of Aboriginal Affairs, Employment, Education and Training.

Professor Buckskin served one term as a Commissioner on the Australian Commission of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO); and the 2009 Working Group of Experts to the Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples responsible to the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights in Geneva. He is currently an Executive Member of the World Indigenous Nations Higher Education Consortium.

In 2015, the World Indigenous Nations University (WINU) awarded Professor Buckskin the Honorary Doctorate of Education for his life-long commitment and outstanding contributions to Indigenous education locally, nationally and internationally.

In recognition of his work Professor Buckskin has received the Commonwealth Public Service Medal (2001), the Frank G Klassen Award for Leadership and Contribution to Teacher Education from the International Council on Education for Teaching (2003); and the National Deadly Award for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Education (2005). 

In 2007 Professor Buckskin became a Fellow of the Australian College of Educators.   Professor Buckskin also serves as Chair of the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Higher Education Consortium, Chair of the South Australian Aboriginal Education and Training Consultative Council and Co-Chair of Reconciliation South Australia.


Ms Kate CarnellMs Kate Carnell AO
Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman

Ms Carnell commenced as the Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman (ASBFEO) in March 2016. The role of the ASBFEO is to advocate for small businesses and family enterprises, to provide access to alternate dispute resolution services to assist in avoiding expensive legal proceedings and to ensure that government policies and regulations take into account the needs of small businesses and family enterprises.

Ms Carnell was previously the Chief Executive Officer of the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI), Australia's largest and most representative business organisation is the leading voice of business in Australia advocating for over 300,000 businesses across all industries.

Ms Carnell is well known and respected in the not-for-profit and business communities having served two years as CEO of beyondblue and previously four years as CEO of the Australian Food and Grocery Council.

Ms Carnell began her professional life as a Pharmacist. She owned and managed pharmacies for some 20 years, was the inaugural chair of the ACT Branch of the Australian Pharmacy Guild and went on to become National Vice-President of the Pharmacy Guild of Australia.

Ms Carnell served as Chief Minister of the ACT from 1995 to 2000.

She was appointed an Officer of the Order of Australia in 2006 for her services to community through contributions to economic development and support for the business sector, knowledge industries, the medical sector and medical technology advances.


Professor Edwina Cornish AOProfessor Edwina Cornish AO
Provost and Senior Vice-President, Monash University

As the chief academic officer, Professor Cornish is responsible for; setting the university's academic strategy and priorities with a view to improving education, research and the financial performance of the university; oversight of faculties, academic related portfolios and university wide centres and institutes; leading academic staffing strategies, including recruitment, probation, performance management, promotion, reward and recognition; and fostering interdisciplinary areas of excellence and collaboration. 

Professor Cornish was appointed to the position of Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research) at Monash University in February 2004. In August 2009 she was also appointed Senior Deputy Vice-Chancellor. In 2012 she was appointed to the role of Provost and Senior Vice-President of the University.

In May 2012 Professor Cornish was appointed as a member of the Defence Science and Technology Advisory Board (DSTO). She played a key role in building one of Australia's first biotechnology companies, Florigene Limited. Under her leadership the company established global research and development and marketing operations and successfully commercialised the world's first genetically modified flowers.

Professor Cornish is a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering. In the 2014 Queen’s Birthday Honours, Professor Cornish received an Officer of the Order of Australia Award. She has contributed to Australian research policy at both state and federal levels.

Professor Cornish has a BSc (Hons) in Biochemistry and a PhD in Microbiology from The University of Melbourne.


Professor Paul JohnsonProfessor Paul Johnson

Until recently, Professor Paul Johnson served as Vice-Chancellor of The University of Western Australia from 2012, and the Vice Chancellor of La Trobe University in Victoria for four years prior to that. Before moving to Australia, Professor Johnson served three years as Deputy Director of the London School of Economics.

Professor Johnson received his doctorate from Oxford University in 1982.

Professor Johnson has been an expert adviser on pension reform and the economics of demographic change to the World Bank, the United Nations Research Institute for Social Development, the British Government and the House of Lords.

He has served on a number of professional councils, learned societies and professional bodies in the UK including the Economic and Social Research Council's Research Grants Board, the Council of the Economic History Society and the Governing Board of the Pensions Policy Institute.

Professor Johnson is a director of UniSuper, the Australian higher education superannuation fund, and a member of the fund’s Investment Committee. He was elected to a Fellowship of the Royal Historical Society in 1987 and to the Academy of Social Sciences in 2001.


Prof. Ted Snell AMProfessor Ted Snell AM
Director, Cultural Precinct, The University of Western Australia 

Professor Snell is Director of the Cultural Precinct at The University of Western Australia. Over the past two decades he has contributed to the national arts agenda through his role as Chair of the Visual Arts Board of the Australia Council, Chair of Artbank, Chair of the Asialink Visual Arts Advisory Committee and as a Board member of the National Association for the Visual Arts. He is currently on the Board of the UQ Art Museum and Chair of the Australian Experimental Art Foundation.

Professor Snell has been a commentator on the arts for ABC radio and television and is currently Perth art reviewer for The Australian and a regular contributor to local and national journals. He has published several books and has curated numerous exhibitions, many of which document the visual culture of Western Australia.

Professor Snell is also a visual artist and since 1968 he has shown his work in solo exhibitions in Perth, Melbourne and Brisbane, and in numerous group exhibitions. His work is represented in many public and private collections, including the National Gallery of Australia, the Art Gallery of Western Australia and Artbank.


Prof. Paul WellingsProfessor Paul Wellings CBE
Vice-Chancellor, University of Wollongong 

Professor Wellings assumed the post of Vice-Chancellor of the University of Wollongong in January 2012. He was Vice-Chancellor of Lancaster University, United Kingdom (UK) from 2002 -2011, and has previously been a Director of the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation (, the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research and the Cumbrian Rural Regeneration Company. In 2006 he was appointed to the board of Universities UK (UUK) and Chair of UUK's International European Policy Committee, and a board member of Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) and Chair of HEFCE's Research and Innovation Committee.

Professor Wellings began his career in the UK as a Natural Environmental Research Council Fellow and moved to Australia as a research scientist at the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation, becoming Chief of the Entomology Division (1995), Head of the Innovation and Science Division, Department of Industry, Science and Resources, Canberra (1997-1999), then Deputy Chief Executive (1999). In December 2011 he was appointed to the Board of Trustees of Guangdong University of Foreign Studies, China, and in 2015 The Bundanon Trust. He was awarded a Commander of the British Empire in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list 2012 and, a Hon DSc from Lancaster University in 2014.


Mr Peter Yates AMMr Peter Yates AM 
Deputy Chairman of The Myer Family Investments and Director of AIA Australia

Mr Yates is Chairman of the Royal Institution of Australia, the Australian Science Media Centre, the Faculty of Business and Economics at Melbourne University, the Royal Children’s Hospital Foundation, the Shared Value Project, Deputy Chairman of Asialink, Director of the Royal Children’s Hospital, the Centre of Excellence for Quantum Computation and Communication Technology at the University of NSW, the Australian Chamber Orchestra and the National Health and Medical Research Council Centre for Personalised Immunology at The Australian National University.

In 2004 Mr Yates co-founded and served until 2007 as Chief Executive Officer of Oceania Capital Partners, one of Australia’s largest listed private equity funds. From 2001 he was Managing Director of Publishing and Broadcasting Limited (PBL) where he was responsible for repositioning PBL from traditional media into a new media and gaming enterprise. Until 2001 he was Executive Director at Macquarie Bank. He holds a Doctorate from Murdoch University, a Masters from Stanford University and a Commerce degree from Melbourne. He speaks Japanese, having studied at Keio University.

Mr Yates has also been a director of Crown, Foxtel, The Nine Network, Ninemsn, ticketek, Veda, the National Portrait Gallery, The Melbourne International Arts Festival, Centre for Independent Studies, and the Australia-Japan Foundation.