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Research Advisory Committee

The Research Advisory Committee (RAC) assists the Director in the development of the Research and Development Plan of the Goyder Institute and ensures that research is of international quality in areas that will ensure that South Australia’s science is being most effectively deployed to manage the water issues facing South Australia. It may conduct periodic reviews of Goyder Institute research project activities and make recommendations about the direction, content and details of future activities.

The RAC is chaired by the Goyder Institute Director and comprises a research coordinator from each research partner, up to two representatives from agencies as determined by the State, a representative of SARDI, a representative of the Australian Water Quality Centre, and up to three specialists as agreed by the Management Board.

The members of the RAC are:

Dr Michele Akeroyd, Director, Goyder Institute for Water Research

Michele Akeroyd is Director of the Goyder Institute for Water Research. Michele has a wealth of experience in managing multi-disciplinary research programs at a State, National and International level, encompassing government, industry and not-for-profit sectors. Prior to joining the Goyder Institute, Michele was responsible for oversight of the National Drinking Water R&D program at Water Research Australia (formerly WQRA), where she also held the position of acting CEO. Prior to joining Water Research Australia, Michele spent seven years at the Murray-Darling Basin Authority in various roles, including leading the Environmental Delivery program during the height of the Millennium Drought during 2007-08.   

Michele has a PhD from the University of Melbourne and a Bachelor of Science degree with Honours from the Flinders University of South Australia.  Michele is an active member of the Australian Water Association.

A/Prof Justin Brookes, Director, Water Research Centre, University of Adelaide

Justin has broad research interests in limnology and water treatment with a primary focus on coupling between hydrodynamics, biology and water quality contaminants such as cyanobacteria and pathogens. He is a founding member of the management committee of the IWA Specialist Group on Lake and Reservoir Management and member of the Steering Committee for the Global Lakes Ecological Observatory Network .

A/Prof Michael Burch, RDI Manager, Australian Water Quality Centre

Mike has a Science degree in from Adelaide University and has worked in freshwater science since 1977. Mike began work as an Operations Biologist for SA Water (formerly Engineering &Water Supply Department) in 1981 and has been working in the water industry for over 30 years.  In the last 20 years he has been involved in research and management activities related to reservoir management, in particular the control of algal blooms and toxic cyanobacteria. This includes chemical control, aeration and mixing, water treatment, and toxin and odour management.

He was the National Algal Manager for the Agriculture and Resource Management Council of Australia and New Zealand (ARMCANZ) from 1999-2002. The purpose of this role was to provide national coordination for both scientific and management activities related to toxic algal issues in freshwater for the three levels of government in Australia ( - national, state and local).

During that time he was responsible for developing the current Australian drinking water and recreational water guidelines for cyanobacteria and toxins for the National Health and Medical Research Council of Australia. He was also involved in toxic algal management issues internationally for the USEPA, World Health Organization (WHO) and for UNESCO. He has worked in an advisory capacity on consultancies on water quality management in France, China, Taiwan, New Zealand & Sri Lanka. He is a founding and management committee member of the International Water Association Specialist Group on Lake and Reservoir Management.

Mike is also an Affiliate Associate Professor, in the School of Earth and Environmental Sciences at the University of Adelaide.

Ms Sandy Carruthers, Director, Science, Monitoring and Knowledge, DEWNR

Sandy is Director of the Science, Monitoring and Knowledge Branch in the Department for Environment, Water and Natural Resources.  The Branch has lead responsibility for identifying, collecting, storing and analysing water related data and presenting it in a form that informs policy development and program design/delivery. The Branch also has responsibility for the broader natural resource management science and information support for the department, as well as providing a lead role in developing partnerships with external researchers and research institutions to inform the management of natural resources for the State. 

Prof Jim Cox, Principal Scientist, Water Resources and Irrigated Crops, SARDI

Jim Cox is Principal Scientist, Water Resources and Irrigated Crops within the South Australian Research and Development Institute (PIRSA-SARDI) and Adjunct Professor at Adelaide University. Jim did a BSc at Flinders University, majoring in Hydrology and was awarded a PhD from the University of Western Australia in 1988. Jim was Professor of Hydrology in the School of Earth & Environmental Sciences, University of Adelaide for 2.5 years (a joint position with SARDI) and Senior Principal Research Scientist in CSIRO Land and Water for 15 years managing research programs within the Water for Healthy Country Flagship. Jim’s research interests span three key research areas related to hydrology: catchment water balances; soil physical and chemical properties that affect water and solute transport in catchments; and soil-water-drainage theory. He has an extensive publication list, currently supervisors PhD students in hydrology and soil science and has been involved in water-related research projects throughout Australia and overseas including China and the Philippines.

Dr Dirk Mallants, CSIRO

Dirk is Senior Principal Research Scientist with CSIRO Land & Water. He has a background in soil and groundwater hydrology with more than 25 years of experience in characterising and modelling water flow and contaminant transport in complex environments – typically variably-saturated soils, aquifers and low-permeable porous media including deep clay formations. His work includes the evaluation by means of process-based models of management options for water-related environmental pollution problems. Dirk has also been involved in front-end and back-end (human health and environmental) impact assessment studies for the nuclear fuel cycle in Europe, South-America, and Asia. His current research involves the development of a holistic framework for integrated systems science across landscapes where groundwater is an important driver of change and vector for transport of nutrients, trace elements and contaminants.

Mr Neil Power, Director, State Research Coordination, DEWNR

Neil is the Director, State Research Coordination, Goyder Institute with the Department for Environment, Water and Natural Resources. Neil has extensive experience in managing technical assessment programs in surface water hydrology, groundwater and water ecology in the Department for Water and experience in water resource management and policy advice. Neil is the Chair of the National Groundwater Working Group, which is a national policy advisory group to the National Resources Management Ministerial Council and he chaired a COAG working group on groundwater in 2008.

Prof Chris Saint, Director, SA Water, Centre for Water Management and Reuse

Chris Saint took up the position of Director at the SA Water Centre for Water Management and Reuse in July 2011.  He has 30 years postgraduate experience in broad areas of environmental science including: biochemistry and genetics of pollutant biodegradation; microbial-plant interactions, cyanobacteria (blue-green algae), microbiological  detection methodologies (including field/on-line monitoring); taste and odour issues; water treatment;  wastewater microbiology and pathogens in catchments.  Recent involvement has also included issues regarding wastewater re-use and stormwater capture and harvesting.  Until June 2011 Chris worked for SA Water Corporation, initially he established an internationally recognised water microbiology research group and was responsible for the operation of a microbiology diagnostic unit.  For the last 10 years he managed SA Water’s Research and Development portfolio. Chris took a key role in formulating the research directions for SA Water and introduced a technology transfer strategy that maximised implementation of R&D outcomes. He has also provided high level advice on water related issues to government and industry organisations and brokered R&D alliances and linkages. Chris also holds Adjunct Professor positions at the University of Adelaide and Research Centre for Eco-environmental Sciences in Beijing.

Professor Craig T Simmons, Director, National Centre Groundwater Research & Training, Flinders University

Professor Craig Simmons FTSE is a leading groundwater scientist, recognised for major national and international contributions to groundwater science, education and policy reform. Director of the National Centre for Groundwater Research and Training, he is one of Australia’s foremost groundwater academics and has been a significant contributor to global advances in the science of hydrogeology for many years. He is Deputy Chair and member of the Australian Government’s Statutory Independent Expert Scientific Committee on Coal Seam Gas and Large Coal Mining Development (IESC).  He is also a member of the U.S. National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine Roundtable on Unconventional Hydrocarbon Development. Professor Simmons is Matthew Flinders Distinguished Professor of Hydrogeology and Schultz Chair in the Environment at Flinders University. He is a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering. He is Deputy Chair of the Academy's Water Forum. Professor Simmons’ work has been recognised by numerous national and international research and teaching awards including the Anton Hales Medal for outstanding contributions to research in the Earth Sciences by the Australian Academy of Science. He was named the 2015 South Australian Scientist of the Year. Professor Simmons has served as an Editor and Associate Editor for numerous major international journals including Water Resources Research, Journal of Hydrology, Hydrogeology Journal, Groundwater, Environmental Modeling and Assessment and Vadose Zone Journal.