Agribusiness expert and serial board member Dr Michele Allan has stepped up as chair of Australia’s leading space research centre, SmartSat Cooperative Research Centre (CRC), following the sudden passing of inaugural chair Dr Peter Woodgate on Christmas eve.
Dr Allan, chancellor and board chair of Charles Sturt University, also chairs the Food and Agribusiness Growth Centre (FIAL), Trusted Autonomous Systems Defence CRC, and Wine Australia. She’s also a director of the CSIRO, the Food Agility CRC, and Dairy Food Safety Victoria and joined the SmartSat CRC board when it was founded in South Australia in July 2019.
The SmartSat CRC brings together more 100 national and international partners who have invested more than $190 million, topped up by $55 million from the federal government, into research over the last seven years. It works with the Australian Space Agency & Defence, towards the government’s goal of tripling the size of the space sector to $12 billion and creating up to 20,000 jobs by 2030.
Priority industry sectors for SmartSat include telecommunications, agriculture and natural resources, transport and logistics, mining, and defence and national security.
Dr Allan acknowledged the untimely passing of Dr Woodgate and his leadership.
“He was an inspiring leader, and I am honoured to take on his legacy,” she said.
“I look forward to working with the SmartSat CRC team to pursue our goals for advancing Australia’s space and spatial industries.”
SmartSat CRC CEO Professor Andy Koronios said they were pleased Dr Allan was stepping into the role despite the sad circumstances.
“As one of our founding board members, Dr Allan AO has already made an enormous contribution to our organisation. This, along with her diverse industry knowledge and wealth of leadership experience will be incredibly valuable as SmartSat CRC enters its fourth year,” he said.
“We are all deeply shocked and saddened by the passing of our inaugural chair, Dr Peter Woodgate, whose dedication and service will be deeply missed. As we look ahead, we are determined to ensure that we continue Peter’s legacy.”