RSNSW Council Elections 2024

Statements from candidates

Nominees for Councillor positions were requested to provide brief statements outlining how their expertise and experience would fit them for these roles and would benefit the Society. Where these were provided by the close of nominations at 5.00 pm AEDT on Friday 8 March 2024, they are listed below in alphabetic order and are accessible via the links shown.

Office-bearer and Councillor candidates


Sean Brawley FRSN — candidate for Councillor

Sean Brawley I am currently Professor of History and Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Strategy and Assurance) at the University of Wollongong. I have served on the Society's Bicentennial Committee from 2020–2022, with my last year as Secretary. I served on the RSNSW Council since 2022 and during this time also chaired the Fellow and Members Assessment Committee (FMAC). During this time, FMAC undertook a range of process and procedural revisions to improve the Committee's work and stakeholder engagement. The Committee also made several suggestions for revisions to our by-laws relating to admission and these were voted on by the membership in 2023. I would like to continue to make a contribution to the work of the Society through the role of an Ordinary Member of the Council.

Sally Cripps FRSN — candidate for Councillor

Sally CrippsMy research focuses on the development of new methods in mathematical statistics and machine learning to address national and global challenges, in areas including mental health, education, natural resources and social disadvantage. In achieving this I have founded and led large multidisciplinary teams focussed on delivering research excellence and impactful outcomes.

I am currently Director of Technology at the Human Technology Institute and Professor of Mathematics and Statistics at UTS. My leadership positions include co-founder and co-director of the University of Sydney’s Centre for Translation Data Science (CTDS), founder and Director of the ARC’s Training Centre in Data Analytics for Resources and Environments (DARE), and Research Director of Analytics and Decision Science in CSIRO’s Data61. I have served as a board member on several institutes including Climate Services for Agriculture.

If elected there are two key contributions I would make. The first is to galvanize the society to address global and domestic challenges. This would be achieved by organising workshops to engage the Society to identify these challenges and to take them to government and industry to attract support and build enthusiasm to solve and address these problems with scientific research.

The second is to increase the participation of younger researchers. One mechanism for doing this would be to explore another grade of membership to which younger researchers could subscribe. Another option would be to secure scholarships and funding for early and mid-career researchers to work collaboratively with Society Fellows on the key challenges the RSNSW has identified.

Vince Di Pietro AM CSC FRSN — candidate for Councillor

Vince Di PietroSince March 2018 I have been a Fellow of the Royal Society and have enjoyed many opportunities — lectures, dinners, award ceremonies, travel, and most recently was entrusted to deliver the Annual Four Societies lecture for 2024.

Now I am excited and hope to catch the voters’ eye that I may be able to bring my perspectives, skills and professional links to a governance role in our multi-disciplinary Society. I am prepared to roll my sleeves up and assist with existing programs, initiatives, and plans. Once more familiar with the work at hand, I am keen to contribute new ideas to the Council for consideration and actively participate in their planning and implementation.

First, serving our nation and its navy for forty years commencing as a trainee pilot, accumulating 5,000 flying hours in aeroplanes and helicopters, and retiring as Commander of the Fleet Air Arm. Punctuating my flying career were many opportunities to acquire skills, and professional military and tertiary education. Leadership roles included responsibility and accountability for ship and equipment certification, safety management systems, capability requirements analysis, international engagement, shore infrastructure and diplomatic representation for Australia in the United States. Second, as Chief Executive of Lockheed Martin Australia and New Zealand. And third, as the Local Recovery Coordinator for the 2019/2020 Currowan Bushfire. Finally and most recently as a consultant I designed, constructed and commissioned 26 Community Information Hubs under a $2m grant from Federal and State government.

Medy Hassan OAM FRSN FAIB — candidate for Councillor

Medy HassanAs a member of the University of Canberra Executive Council, I have held and currently hold adjunct professorships with Western Sydney University, the University of Canberra, RMIT University, and various international universities. Additionally, I am a Fellow of the Royal Society of NSW, the Australian Institute of Building, and an Industry Fellow at the University of Queensland.

Throughout my 25-year professional career, I have successfully completed $3 billion of investments and collaborated with all tiers of government, global institutions, leading universities/research institutes, and venture organisations in governance, funding, philanthropic and strategic roles.

My expertise in corporate leadership, higher education/research, funding, and engagement with key government and industry think tanks will be instrumental in supporting the Society’s Master Plan, particularly in safeguarding our financial future (Future Fund) and enhancing awareness of the Society and its initiatives.

Founding Haus Holdings, a national impact investment organisation, and co-founding private equity groups Vitae Capital and GenCap Wealth, have allowed me to prioritise my impact and investments in research, innovation, reform, and wellbeing.

Recognised with numerous national awards for Excellence and Innovation, including the Order of Australia Medal, I attribute my success to clarity of purpose, continuous progress, and upholding the highest standards of integrity.

My dedication to promoting equality is evident through the establishment of a 'diversity and inclusion scholarship' in design and the built environment at the University of Canberra. Furthermore, I possess a deep-rooted passion for the arts and creative industries. I am confident that my diverse experiences will add value and enhance the Society's reputation and performance.

Liz Killen MRSN — candidate for Councillor

Elizabeth KillenLiz Killen MSc PhD is currently the Research Director with the Social Research Centre, an ANU Enterprise, and a visiting fellow of ANU. Immediately prior to this role, she served as Assistant Manager in the science policy team of the Office of Australia's Chief Scientist.

This background supports me to contribute to Society, through understanding of:

  • risk and audit, gained through 3-year membership of the British Educational Research Association (BERA) Risk and Audit Committee
  • membership processes, including chartered status, gained through my previous role as Membership and Education Officer of the Nuclear Institute, a UK learned society
  • the role and influence of the academies, gained through liaison with Australian and British Academies during former roles within the Australian and UK Government, in the Office of the Chief Scientist
  • journal processes, gained through previous roles as Editor and Founder of two student-run academic journals (Cambridge Open Research Journal and Cambridge Journal of Science & Policy).

In addition to my contributions to the Society drawing from my experience above, I would provide my support to the society’s drive to recruit more young and diverse members.

Robert Marks FRSN — candidate for Councillor

Robert MarksIn addition to my academic expertise (PhD, Stanford; Emeritus Professor, UNSW), I have twenty years’ experience of editing peer-reviewed journals across a variety of disciplines, including eight years for the Royal Society’s own Journal (with Council membership). I have edited sixteen issues of the Journal with a wide range of interesting, new, and timely articles on topics the Society deeply values, including many commissioned papers. Amongst these are significant papers by Thomas Keneally, Michelle Simmons, Hugh White, Martin Green, Eddie Holmes, the late Adrian Lee, and the late Ann Moyal. In 2020 we published an extra issue devoted to the 2019 Biennial Symposium of the ANZ Associations of von Humboldt Fellows. I organised the paper links in the Journal archive in 2016. The “Point Counterpoint” section in the Journal is my innovation, exploring differences in scientific and intellectual opinion. I am fondest of the paper I commissioned on the development of blue pigments — history and science is a powerful mix. As ongoing Editor, I think it is important that I continue on Council, given the centrality of the Journal to the Society. I bring to the Council dedication, experience, enthusiasm, and imagination.

Peter Wells FRSN — candidate for Treasurer

Peter WellsI have over 40 years’ of experience working in the accounting area, initially with an antecedent of one of the so-called Big 4 accounting firms and then in academia. This included a period as the Head of the Accounting Discipline Group at the University of Technology Sydney and now as an  Emeritus Professor following my retirement. I am a Fellow of Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand and a member of the Academic Advisory Panel of the Australian Accounting Standards Board.

I have considerable experience in financial management and have been a director of a not-for-profit organisation providing disability services in western Sydney for over a decade. This period includes transitioning to NDIS funding which presented many challenges. Importantly, the organisation continues to be financially viable notwithstanding the difficulties faced by those in the sector.

I think with a combination of professional skills and experiences I am well qualified to hold the position of Treasurer and contribute positively to the financial management of the Society.

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