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Keynote and panel speakers


Cutting-edge insights from leading experts


Dr. Helmut Wenisch


Head of Corporate Technology, SIEMENS, Japan

Dr. Helmut Wenisch was born in Wuerzburg, Germany. 1999/2000, he spent two years as a postdoc at Tohoku University (Sendai, Japan). After that, he worked more than 10 years for Sony Japan in different roles as researcher (blue laser development), corporate strategist in global HQ and R&D planning (Open Innovation). Currently, Helmut Wenisch leads Siemensʼ Corporate Technology in Japan consisting of a University Relations and IP Licensing group. In his previous role, he was responsible for technology scouting as well as and strategic partnering in Electromobility and Smart Grid area in Japan. He holds master degrees from University Wuerzburg and SUNY Albany (US), an PhD from Bremen University (Germany) and an MBA from Temple University (Japan).

Dr. Robert A. Lieberman


President, Lumoptix LLC

Dr. Robert A. Lieberman received his Ph.D. in Physics with an emphasis on solid-state physics and biophysics from the University of Michigan, and worked for ten years AT&T Bell Laboratories in the Magnetics, Semiconductor Device, Physics Research, and Materials Research Laboratories. He joined Physical Optics Corporation in 1991, where he became Vice President and General Manager for Research and Development before founding Intelligent Optical Systems (IOS) in 1998. In 2014, Dr. Lieberman retired as President of IOS and launched Lumoptix LLC; he also serves as Chief Technical Officer of Taff Optical, and is the 2016 President of SPIE, the international society for optics and photonics. He has holds 34 U.S. patents, has published extensively in the field of optical sensing, and has chaired many symposia on physical sensors, biosensors, and chemical sensors. Dr. Lieberman is a Fellow of SPIE, a Senior Member of IEEE, and has served on the boards of directors of numerous for-profit and nonprofit organizations. He is the 2008 winner of the SPIE President’s Award, three NASA Tech Briefs awards, and three Bell Labs Exceptional Contribution Awards. In addition to his ongoing work in optical sensing, his current interests include national and international science policy, STEM education, and translational research for new product development.

The keynote is sponsored by:

Prof. Saran Kaur Gill


Founder of AsiaEngage and former Deputy Vice-Chancellor for Industry and Community Partnerships at The National University of Malaysia

Prof. Dr. Saran Kaur Gill is the Founder of AsiaEngage, a regional alliance comprising the ASEAN University Network (AUN) Thematic Network on University Social Responsibility and Sustainability (AUN-USR&S), the Asia-Talloires Network of Community and Industry Engaged Universities (ATNEU), and the ASEAN Youth Volunteer Programme (AYVP) - http://www.asiaengage.org. Saran was also appointed as the first Deputy Vice-Chancellor for Industry and Community Partnerships at The National University of Malaysia. Over the past 7 years, she has strategically developed an innovative eco-system, creating opportunities for meaningful partnerships between the university and industry, NGOs, communities and government agencies. These innovative partnerships have enhanced the core missions of the university – education, research and service. In 2010, in recognition of her efforts in strengthening Australian-Malaysian education relationships, she received the inaugural award of “Education Personality of the Year” from the Australian High Commission. One of her major achievements has been the establishment of endowed chairs with a total value of $US 8 million. In 2013, in recognition of her national and regional contributions for the development of university-community and industry engagement, she was invited to be the first Asian visiting scholar for Engagement Australia’s Visiting Scholars and Experts Programme.

Dr Leanna Read


Chief Scientist for South Australia

Dr Leanna Read, Chief Scientist for South Australia, a renowned biotechnologist, brings a wealth of executive, board and investment experience in technology-based businesses to the position.

In addition to her Chief Scientist role, Leanna chairs the Cooperative Research Centre for Cell Therapy Manufacturing and is a member of the SA Economic Development Board, as well as the Council of the University of South Australia. She is also a member of BioAngels which supports early-stage life sciences businesses, and a Board Director of Biosensis Pty Ltd.

A biochemist by training, Leanna has led a number of successful research and commercial ventures, including the Cooperative Research Centre for Tissue Growth and Repair, a successful commercially focused CRC. She was also the founding Managing Director and CEO of Adelaide biotechnology company, TGR BioSciences Pty Ltd from 2001 – 2012.

Leanna is a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering, and of the Australian Institute of Company Directors. She has also received a number of awards, including the 2006 South Australian of the Year (Science and Technology) and the 2011 Central Region winner of the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year in the Technology Category.

As Chief Scientist, Leanna provides independent advice on science strategy and policy to the State Government, as well as to the research and industry sectors. In particular, she plans to foster science excellence, help link the State’s researchers with industry, and improve the quality and uptake of STEM education.

Given that 70% of our research is done in the public sector, Leanna puts high priority on developing a more entrepreneurial culture in researchers, as well as transforming the State’s economy to more high value-add enterprises.

Stephen Tomisich


CEO and Director, Trajan Scientific and Medical

Stephen Tomisich is the Chief Executive Officer and a Director on the Board of Trajan, since its inception in 2011. Mr Tomisich’s career spans a range of leadership positions in incorporated and privately held global companies. His focus is on developing partnerships with industry, academia and government to deliver lasting outcomes in the scientific and wider community. With collaboration in mind, he has brought success to the companies he served, their partners and customers.

Mr Tomisich commenced working in the analytical science industry in 1984 for then NYSE listed Varian Instruments, as a Product Specialist, then Product Manager and Program Manager based in Melbourne, Australia. In 1989, he relocated to the US as Marketing Manager Spectroscopy North America, and Group Marketing Communications Manager of the global scientific instrument business.

Returning to Australia in 1993, Mr Tomisich became Managing Director of Selby Scientific, leading a return to profitability and the merger with the Biolab group, leading to the formation of Australiasia’s largest distributor of scientific products.

In 1998 Mr Tomisich joined the PerkinElmer Corporation as Managing Director, Australia, Africa and in 2000, he became Director of Marketing at ASX listed Vision Systems.

Mr Tomisich joined SGE Analytical Science in 2002 as Sales and Marketing Director, and took over as Managing Director in 2005. He drove change in SGE’s global business model resulting in global growth and being awarded Victorian Exporter of the Year in 2005. During this time he was also an active member of the Industry Advisory Committee for the Australian Synchrotron.

In 2011, Mr Tomisich led the foundation of Trajan Scientific and Medical with headquarters in Melbourne, Australia. Trajan acquired SGE in 2013, and he has served as CEO of both companies until the complete integration of SGE into Trajan in 2014.

Mr Tomisich holds a Bachelor of Applied Science (Applied Chemistry) from RMIT, Australia. He continues to actively engage with universities, research institutions, commercial partners, government and industry groups.

Sharon Winocur


Executive Director at B/HERT

Sharon Winocur joined B/HERT in August 2008 after previously having held senior executive positions in the Victorian and Queensland Public Service following a successful university career as both an academic and an administrator. Following an academic career in psychology, Sharon established the first Office of Equal Opportunity and UQ-Link at the University of Queensland. UQ-Link, a specialist program for academically able students from low SES backgrounds who demonstrated great potential is still operating over 20 years later. Sharon joined the Queensland Public Service in 1991 and the Victorian Public Service in 2004. During her public service career, she held various senior executive positions including Director of Equity, Human Resources and Industrial Relations. Sharon also maintained active research programs during this time through the ARC Linkage and Discovery grants programs.

Kevin Webb


Managing Director, Spring Gully Foods

Kevin has been Managing Director of Spring Gully Foods since 1995. Kevin joined the company in the 1980’s as a season worker and has held many roles in the company over the years, including: production worker; administration clerk; finance clerk; office manager; warehouse manager; and finance manager. More recently, Kevin has brought the company forward with the introduction of technology, quality systems and quality assurance. His people management skills are founded on core family values, which has created a work environment that is stable, with many long-term employees employed for their values as much as their skills.

Kevin is the current secretary of the Honey Packers and Marketers Association of Australia and is an ambassador of our states I Choose SA campaign.

Selected previous keynote speakers


Professor Carl Schramm

American economist, entrepreneur, and former President and CEO of the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation

Professor Scott Shane

Author of the bestseller "Illusions of Entrepreneurship" and Professor in Entrepreneurship at Case Western Reserve University, US

Dr. Manfred Meier
Head of the department “University Cooperation” at AutoUni of Volkswagen AG

Professor Henry Etzkowitz
President of the Triple Helix Association




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