Deakin Strategic Partnerships

Deakin University aims to be at the forefront of change in Australia. Our innovative, globally-connected education and research are focussed on achieving positive economic and societal outcomes. This is enabled through partnerships with industry, government and community that draw on the expert capabilities within the University’s many Faculties, Institutes and Centres, and partnered research institutions (local and international).

The Strategic Partnerships team facilitates and supports external and internal stakeholders of Deakin University to achieve win-win collaborative outcomes through local and international partnerships, and sector specific strategic initiatives, such as ongoing development of the Geelong Economic Futures Precinct, ManuFutures, and the Deakin Energy initiative (including the 7.25MW microgrid).

Our team

Alfred Deakin Professor Julie Owens

Alfred Deakin Professor Julie Owens is the Deputy Vice-Chancellor Research at Deakin University leading a portfolio that includes responsibility for:

  • Deakin Research
  • Deakin Research Innovations
  • Institute for Frontier Materials (IFM)
  • Institute for Intelligent Systems Research and Innovation (IISRI)
  • Applied Artificial Intelligence Institute (A²I²)

Prior to her appointment in 2018, Julie was Pro Vice Chancellor (Research Strategy) at The University of Adelaide, a position she had held since 2015. During that time, she acted in the position of Deputy Vice-Chancellor for over a year.

Julie’s previous roles there also included Associate Dean Research in the Faculty of Health Sciences and Head of the School of Paediatrics and Reproductive Health and prior to that, Associate Dean Research in the Faculty of Sciences.

Originally an ARC QEII Fellow and NHMRC Research Fellow, Julie has a long list of strategic research leadership achievements including co-establishing international research networks and establishing the South Australian state wide Women’s and Child Health Research Alliance with the Women’s and Child Health Network of hospitals.

She has served in peer review for the Academy, and Grant, Program and Fellowship Review Panels for the National Health and Medical Research Council of Australia (NHMRC) and on the College of Experts for the Australian Research Council (ARC); and as an advocate for national research funding, policy and strategies as a Director of the Australian Society for Medical Research.

Jo Silver, Executive Assistant

Marilyn Fisher, Administrative Coordinator

Marilyn has extensive EA experience in both Private and Government business providing high-level administrative assistance.

She enjoys change and updating processes for improved delivery. At Deakin she has worked in the Faculty of Business and Law and the Institute for Frontier Materials (IFM). She is now part of the Strategic Partnerships team.

Marilyn Fisher, Administrative Coordinator

Ian Kett, Director, Strategic Programs

Ian Kett is the Director Strategic Partnerships within the Strategic Partnerships Division of the Office of the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research) at Deakin University. Ian has been managing major strategic initiatives at the University since 2011 and most recently led the initiation and development of a successful $40m proposal for a large scale renewable energy microgrid research system on Deakin’s Waurn Ponds campus in collaboration with industry. This built on his previous work in establishing the Deakin Energy research brand and the foundations for an integrated and innovative research platform in this field at Deakin.

Between 2012 and 2014 Ian had oversight of the development of strategic relationships, contracts and the construction process for the $104m Australian Future Fibres Research and Innovation Centre which included the renovation of the Geelong Technology Precinct Building, construction of the new Fibre Processing and Carbon Nexus buildings, relocation of CSIRO from its previous Belmont premises to Deakin Waurn Ponds and the purchase, installation and commissioning of the pilot scale and research carbon fibre production lines located within Carbon Nexus. Ian also acted as the initial Director of the Carbon Nexus research facility establishing early commercial contracts with Korean industry. Following this development, he has maintained the role of the Deakin CSIRO relationship manager to expand the partnership between the organisations.

Ian is a current Board member of the Geelong Manufacturing Council and the Energy Pipelines CRC and has previously been the Executive Director and a full Board member of Kinect Australia (2004 – 2010), Executive Director and Board member of the Victoria Council on Fitness and General Health (VICFIT) (1993-2004) and a senior manager within Government. He has a strong background in health promotion and community development and was a past Ambassador for the Victorian Government’s ‘Go for your life’ campaign and a member of national health promotion task forces.

Adrian Panow, Director, Deakin Energy

Dr Adrian Panow As a senior executive and advisor in the resources, agriculture, manufacturing and renewable energy fields across government, private and research sectors, Adrian brings broad technical, commercial and governance expertise to the new role of Director, Deakin Energy.

He is providing leadership in positioning Deakin University as a preferred partner for industry and government in the delivery of innovative solutions to the sustainable energy supply challenges facing modern society. The Deakin Energy initiative brings together capabilities from across the University in a collaborative network that addresses industry- and government-identified issues relating to energy generation, distribution, storage, energy demand management and the corresponding economic policy, and social and regulatory frameworks that impact on those systems.

Adrian has responsibility for delivery of a 7MW solar and storage microgrid on the Deakin University Waurn Ponds campus to address research, energy cost and sustainability objectives.

Previous roles have included:

  • Chief Technology Officer for Flexible Drive Pty Ltd
  • Strategic Advisor to Terrajoule Corporation Inc.
  • State Government of Victoria, Australia
    • Director Earth Resources Development
    • Director Energy Investment and Programs
  • Bonlac Foods Limited – International Business Development Manager – Bioscience

Adrian has a Bachelor of Applied Science (biochemistry/applied chemistry) degree, a Doctorate in industrial biotechnology, Graduate Certificate in Business Administration and is a Graduate Member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.

Adrian Panow, Director, Deakin Energy

Neema Thomas-Cucinotta (fixed term), Director, International Research Development

Neela McGilton (LWOP), Director, International Research Development

As Director, International Research Development, Neela McGilton develops and manages Deakin University’s International Strategic Research Partnerships. She collaborates with the faculties to actively shape International Research strategy. In addition to partnership management, she provides financial and governance advice to faculties, institutes and centres when considering international initiatives.

Neela McGilton has over 7 years’ experience in Australian higher education institutions and another 7 years in a commercial roles.  Prior to joining Deakin University she held the roles of Senior Strategy Advisor at Monash University and International Program Manager at the University of Ballarat.  In these roles, she was responsible for implementation of the universities’ extensive international undertakings, both in education and research. Prior to that, Neela worked in corporate finance at KPMG and Ernst & Young in Asia and Europe with a focus on mergers, acquisitions, restructuring and transactional advisory.

Neela holds a Master of International Business from Melbourne University and a Bachelor of Science from University Nebraska, Lincoln.

Genevieve Reid, Deakin Research, Director Strategic Partnerships

Prior to joining Deakin Research Genevieve was Vice President industry Engagement RMIT University, her sales and relationship management expertise spans more than 25 years working in the technology and services sectors and has taken her to North America, Europe and APAC.

She has a strong track record of creating positive and lasting stakeholder and industry engagement across a range of markets and technologies having enjoyed leadership roles with Oracle Corporation, and Australian tech companies Computershare and Aconex; Ms Reid earlier worked at PricewaterhouseCoopers.

Genevieve is part of a growing tech community of women dedicated to establishing and maintaining personal and professional contacts and seeking to ensure women and girls expand their knowledge of industry trends and build the confidence and leadership skills needed for career success in the tech sector.

Ms Reid has worked extensively in the non-profit sector as non-executive director of philanthropic organisations ShareGift Australia and Chair of arts institution Craft Victoria. She is a member of the Public Relations Institute of Australian (PRIA) and the Australian Institute of Company Directors (AICD).

Maureen Reitze, Development Manager, Industry and Strategic Partnerships

Maureen Reitze, Development Manager, provides strategic advice and recommendations to the Pro-Vice Chancellor Strategic Partnerships in relation to existing and potential industry and strategic partnerships; develops the project documentation and project manages selected strategic projects in collaboration with university faculties and portfolios.

Maureen has 20 years’ experience as manager in High Education sector, including Strategic Projects Manager in the Office of the Vice-Chancellor at La Trobe for 5 years.

She is a member of the University Industry Innovation Network.

Ben Spincer, Executive Director, Deakin Research Innovations

Daizy Maan,Manager, SPARK Deakin

Daizy Maan leads Deakin University’s start-up and entrepreneurship initiative – SPARK Deakin which is open to all students, staff, researchers and alumni. U

nder her leadership the program has quickly established itself as a highly regarded early stage startup accelerator in Australia having invested in 45 founders whose 20 startups have generated over $3million in revenue and created 99 jobs in 3 years. She serves as an advisory board member to the Centre for Sustainable and Responsible Organisation in the Deakin Business School and is a Director of Bendigo Community Banks (NSX:CSH) where she chairs the Youth Advisory Committee.

In 2018 she served as an Australian delegate to the G20 Young Entrepreneurs Alliance in Argentina and in 2019 was selected as a delegate for the Australia India Youth Dialogue. She is an advocate for gender equality in the South Asian and Indian community through her work with the Pink Ladoo campaign which has been featured in India Link, Herald Sun and SBS Punjabi.

Daizy Maan,Manager, SPARK Deakin

Jason Steinwedel, Director, ManuFutures

Jason Steinwedel studied Medical Biophysics and Instrumentation at Swinburne University, graduating in 1994. His early career was spent in public hospital Bio Medical Engineering departments, involved in research into mechanical lung recruitment, designing pre-operative stress testing of high risk cardiac patients and clinical systems integration.

Moving into the private sector, Jason spent 13 years with General Electric Healthcare. Working from GE facilities around the world, he undertook roles in product development, clinical application, service engineering, manufacturing and quality, whilst gaining qualifications in project and quality management along way.

Moving into a senior role in the restructured Gordon TAFE in 2008 he championed a resurgence in Automotive and Engineering studies whilst establishing sustainable Education to Employment programmes within the disadvantaged regions of Geelong’s norther suburbs. In 2012, the announcement of the CADET project at Deakin University allowed Jason to bring together 2 decades of diverse experience in the delivery of a unique and lasting learning environment.

Currently working in the role of Director - ManuFutures, a unique advance manufacturing incubator and accelerator at Deakin’s Waurn Ponds campus,  Jason is continuing to promote the need for the region leverage its long history of innovation.

Jason Steinwedel, Director, ManuFutures

VACANT, Senior Manager, Strategic Partnerships

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