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Top 100 : 2008
ACADEMIA/RESEARCH Graham Davies, 61 Dean of Engineering, University of NSW, Sydney Electrical engineer, University of Wales, UK University of Birmingham, UK. One of his priorities in the new role would be encouraging interdisciplinary P research, he said. He is particularly interested in the relationship between engineering and life sciences. For example, the university’s Australian Vision Prosthesis Group is developing a bionic eye in conjunction with the Centre for Eye Research Australia, the University of Melbourne, the Royal Victorian Eye and Ear Hospital, the Bionic Ear Institute and NICTA. The 2020 summit in Canberra named the bionic eye as a key health goal for Australia. Davies has been honorary professor in Wales at Swansea University, and in China at the Harbin Institute of Technology and Xi’An Jiaotong University. tion. His appointment will be for three years. The university has 55,000 students and over 6000 staff. After receiving his PhD in 1981 and some postdoctoral work, he went D to Silicon Valley in 1983 and started Axon Instruments, a company making electronic amplifi ers and data acquisition software for neuroscientists and pharmaceutical companies. Finkel returned to Australia in 1988 but kept running the company until he sold it in 2004. He stayed on at the company for another year, but now divides his time between leading a small property investment company and several charitable pursuits. For instance, he chairs Child Abuse Research Australia, a collaboration between the Australian Childhood Foundation and Monash University, and runs a program for the Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering on enticing more secondary school students to study physics, chemistry and maths. “As a successful professional who now has the time, I believe I have an obli- r Alan Finkel was appointed the new chancellor of Monash University in January. It is the fi rst time a Monash graduate has held this posi- rof Graham Davies became dean of engineering at the University of NSW in April. He was previously executive dean of the School of Engineering at the Alan Finkel, 55 Chancellor of Monash University, Melbourne Electrical engineer, Monash University gation to help train the next generation,” he said. “Education is the best investment we can make in our young people.” Finkel also cofounded the small publishing company Luna Media, which publishes the popular-science magazine Cosmos and the sustainable-lifestyle magazine G. His sense of adventure is demonstrated by his purchase of a ticket with Virgin Galactic to be one of the fi rst 100 passengers to fl y into space in a commercial spacecraft. Geoff Garrett, 60 Chief Executive of CSIRO, Canberra Metallurgist, Cambridge University, UK S ince 2001 Geoff Garrett has been managing the CSIRO, an organisation with 6350 staff and a budget of nearly $1 billion. His term expires at the end of this year. Garrett is disappointed by the federal govern- ment’s decision to reduce funding by $63.4 million over the next four years. “The challenge is now to work within these new constraints – and opportunities – with which the organisation is presented,” he said. The CSIRO will close its livestock laboratories in Bakers Hill, WA, and Rockhampton, Qld, and its plant laboratory in Merbein, Vic, and will divide the Forest Biosciences Division between other divisions. The Textiles and Fibre Technology Division will merge with the Materials Science and Engineering Division. As chief executive, Garrett oversaw the reorganisation of the CSIRO into Flagship pro- grams and strove to improve communication and industry partnerships. Prior to joining the CSIRO, he was president and chief executive of South Africa’s national science agency CSIR. He intends to have a “gap year” in 2009. “Thereafter I’m sure some exciting opportunities will emerge,” he said. “Retirement per se isn’t an option.” 52 ENGINEERS AUSTRALIA JUNE 2008 Book 1.indb 52 Book 1.indb 52 4/6/08 15:17:06 4/6/08 15:17:06