Leading Australian research chemist, Professor Emily Hilder, is the new Director of the University of South Australia’s Future Industries Institute.
Announcing the appointment, UniSA Vice Chancellor Professor David Lloyd says he is delighted to welcome someone who not only brings great research experience to the job, but a person who understands how to inspire researchers and how to connect with industry and the end-users of research.
“The Future Industries Institute is the University’s largest single investment in research and we want the Institute to become South Australia’s go-to destination for innovation relevant to industry,” Prof Lloyd says.
“Just last year Prof Hilder was included in the ‘The Analytical Scientist’s ‘Top 40 under 40’ Power List
and she is already a Fellow of the Royal Australian Chemical Institute.
“She has published 124 publications including book chapters and journal articles and since 2004 has secured almost $17.3 million in competitive grant funding from the Australian Research Council (ARC).
“Her career reflects not only her passion for science but also her capacity to lead, to be creative, and to work collaboratively with industry.
“She is keen to nurture new talent and to work productively with the very experienced teams she will have around her at the Institute, and through the significant partnership we have forged with University College London.
Currently Director of the ARC Training Centre for Portable Analytical Separation Technologies and Head of Chemistry at the University of Tasmania, Prof Hilder’s research focuses on the design and application of new polymeric materials for use in a wide range of industrial settings including the application of these new technologies for bio-analysis and disease diagnosis.
She completed her undergraduate education at the University of Tasmania with majors in chemistry and mathematics and was awarded a first class honours in chemistry before going on to complete her PhD in analytical chemistry.
During her career, she has won awards and acknowledgements for her research around the world includingTasmania’s Young Tall Poppy in 2009 and the LCGC (North America) Emerging Leader in Chromatography for 2012and she was named in the 2013 Analytical Scientist inaugural Power List of the World’s 100 Most Influential Analytical Scientists.
“My passion for research has always been inspired by the need to resolve real world issues,” Prof Hilder says.
“So I’m excited about the opportunity that this role provides to lead the development of our best young researchers for careers outside academia and to contribute to a transformation of industry in Australia at the same time.”
Prof Hilder says there is great room for Australia to improve in the way it translates research into practical outcomes and in increasing the number of businesses collaborating with universities and research organisations.
“In a general sense Australia has developed a risk-averse culture that tends to stifle entrepreneurship,” she says.
“We need to better communicate that there is no lack of talent in our universities and businesses.
“By embedding an entrepreneurial research culture and supporting and rewarding greater engagement with industry and end-users, I’m confident that the FII will be able to address these challenges.”
Prof Hilder says another of her key objectives will be to develop a strong partnership with University College London (UCL) Faculty of Engineering based on close collaboration to support global innovation in the sciences.
UniSA Deputy Vice Chancellor Research and Innovation, Prof Tanya Monro says the appointment of Prof Hilder sets the stage for exciting developments at the FII.
“Prof Hilder brings a rather rare balance of academic achievement and pragmatic and powerful industry engagement that will be so important to the Institute,” Prof Monro says.
“She is the right person to lead the Institute as our researchers help to transform existing industries, provide the innovations to create new ones, and support the growth of more high value jobs in Australia.”
Announced in April with the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding with UCL, the Future Industries Institute brings together and builds on the established research capabilities and reputation of the former Ian Wark Research Institute, the Mawson Institute and the Centre for Environmental Risk Assessment and Remediation, and extends into other complementary research capabilities within the University.
Through national and global research partnerships in new technologies, the goal for the Institute is to undertake global research inspired by real-world issues and to attract leading collaborators and engage new talent by including opportunities for research fellowships and higher degree research scholarships, providing a pipeline for the development of talented engineers and scientists.
Prof Hilder will take up the position as FII Director in early 2016.