Chair & Directors

Independent Chair

Dr Andrew John Ash

Andrew Ash holds a Bachelor of Agricultural Science and a PhD from the University of Queensland and is a Graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors. He was awarded a Churchill Fellowship in 1995.

Andrew has 35 years research experience in climatically variable tropical rangelands and agricultural systems in northern Australia and south-east Asia with a particular emphasis on developing management systems to improve profitability and environmental outcomes for rural communities. He has published over 200 scientific papers, book chapters, conference papers and technical reports.

Andrew retired from CSIRO after 30 years, with the last 15 years in various research management roles. He was CSIRO’s Rangelands and Savannas Program Leader from 2000-2006, Deputy Chief of CSIRO Sustainable Ecosystems Division from 2006-2007 and then inaugural Director of the Climate Adaptation Flagship from 2007-2013. The Climate Adaptation Flagship had an annual budget of around $45M, with over 200 staff contributing to its science. The Flagship provided much of the early thinking and science underpinning behind climate adaptation in Australia, with significant international reach and influence.

Andrew is a member of the Commonwealth Government’s Independent Expert Panel for the Reef 2050 Plan and a member of the Independent Science Panel for the Qld Government’s ReefPlan initiative. He is also a member of the Independent Science for Development Council of the CGIAR, a global partnership that unites international organizations engaged in research for a food-secured future. He is a Council member of the Australian Rangeland Society and a member of the Society’s Publications Committee.

Managing Director & Company Secretary

Sheriden MorrisManaging Director, Reef and Rainforest Research Centre Ltd

Sheriden Morris has had a strong connection to and focus on northern Australia her entire life: from growing up in Batchelor in the Northern Territory, through her studies in tropical agronomy, and her professional career working with sugar, banana, aquaculture and tourism industries and agencies such as CSIRO and GBRMPA. For the past ten years she has been the Managing Director of the Cairns-based non-profit Reef and Rainforest Research Centre (RRRC). She has always strongly believed in intelligent, sustainable development for northern Australia using the region’s tropical expertise – the knowledge of living, building and working most effectively in the tropics.

Under her leadership, RRRC has successfully attracted more than $200 million in grants and investment to support research and development projects in northern Australia. This includes the Australian Government’s Marine and Tropical Sciences Research Facility, the Tropical Ecosystems Hub of the National Environmental Research Program, the Tropical Water Quality Hub of the National Environmental Science Programme and the Crown of Thorns Starfish Targeted Control Program.

Sheriden is deputy Chair of Citizens of the Great Barrier Reef and has served on numerous government advisory committees for land and water management, including Queensland and Commonwealth committees for agriculture, coastal development, wetlands and indigenous opportunity. An extensive contributor to land and sea management policy, she has also spearheaded the development and implementation of an innovative aid development program on Australia’s northern borderlands with Papua New Guinea.

She lives on the family farm at Babinda, just south of Cairns.

Non-Executive Director

Dr David Craig

Dr. David Craig is the Director of the Cairns Campus of James Cook University (JCU). As a world leading university with a focus on research and teaching that makes a difference to life in the tropics world-wide, JCU is ranked number one in the world for Marine and Freshwater Biology and number two in the world for Biodiversity Conservation. David’s role at JCU is focused on external engagement, providing the primary point of contact for the Cairns community. In addition, David’s role extends to general management of the Cairns campus, working to build a collaborative and supportive culture for students and staff.

David joined JCU from New Zealand where he was Assistant Vice-Chancellor at the University of Waikato. David’s portfolio at Waikato included brand development, marketing, communications, the university’s digital ecosystem, events, student recruitment, advancement, alumni relations, industry engagement and the university’s conference and events business.

David has worked in higher education for more than 12 years, 7 years in Australia (at UTS, JCU and ACU) and 5 years in New Zealand. Prior to higher education, David enjoyed a successful career in a variety of sectors, most notably in property, commercial banking, consumer goods and sport and leisure, where David was a senior executive at companies such as Macquarie Bank, Landcom, Coca-Cola and the Australian Rugby Union.

David has recently completed a PhD at Waikato, his research interest related to the study of university brands and the implications of disruptive innovation. David also has an undergraduate business degree from the University of Technology (Sydney), a Master’s degree from the University of Melbourne and is a qualified Chartered Accountant.

Non-Executive Director

Daniel Gschwind

Daniel Gschwind was the CEO of Queensland Tourism Industry Council (QTIC) from 2001 to 2022, representing the industry in numerous committees and forums.

In 2022, he was appointed as Professor of Practice for the Griffith Institute for Tourism at Griffith University and Chair of Trade and Investment Queensland. Daniel has been an Adjunct Professor at the University of Queensland since 2002, and is also a Director of Tourism Whitsundays, a member of the board of Jobs Queensland and the Chair of the Tourism Reef Advisory Committee of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority (GBRMPA).

Daniel is the Honorary Consul for Switzerland in Queensland and the Dean of the Consular Corps.

Earlier in his career, Daniel was involved in yacht charter operations in the Mediterranean and the Caribbean before relocating to Australia, where he completed an Honours Degree in Economics at the University of Queensland. He worked as a Senior Economist for the Queensland Treasury for six years before taking on his tourism roles.

Non-Executive Director

Dr Paul Hardisty

Dr Paul Hardisty commenced as Chief Executive Officer of the Australian Institute of Marine Science on 24 July 2017. An honours graduate in Geological engineering from the University of British Columbia, Canada, he has a Masters in Hydrology, and a Doctorate in Environmental Engineering, from Imperial College, London. He has been a Visiting Professor in Environmental Engineering at Imperial College, London, since 1999 and is an adjunct Professor at the University of Western Australia.

Paul has worked extensively in marine and coastal environments and on marine research projects, with many of the stakeholder and customer groups that AIMS deals with. He has substantial experience of both the public and private sector. He was the founder, owner and leader of Komex Environmental Ltd, an international environmental consultancy, built from start-up to a $50 million pa turnover company with a thousand employees and sold to the engineering services company Worley Parsons, in 2006. From 2006-2013, Paul served as Global Director, Corporate Responsibility and Global Director, Sustainability and Economics for Worley Parsons. In 2013, Paul joined CSIRO, initially as Flagship Director, CSIRO Climate Adaptation Flagship, and more recently, as Business Unit Director, CSIRO Land and Water.

Non-Executive Director

Dr Daniel Metcalfe

Dan is the Director of CSIRO Oceans & Atmosphere, which comprises around 500 staff from 5 major sites working across all States and Territories. Dan brings a strong record in science leadership that spans the broad domain of environmental research, deep network across the innovation system, as well as successful stakeholder management at all levels.

Dan has spent the past eight years in predominantly research management roles supporting environmental research and impact across Australia. He has experience managing complex, multidisciplinary teams across multiple locations in client focussed work, bringing together disparate capability onto major projects, developing cross-domain strategy, and operationalising it. He has spent over two decades working in environmental management and landscape ecology specialising in the ecology and ecophysiology of native vegetation communities, and the sustainable management of natural landscapes. His work has contributed to policy development, conservation appraisals and theoretical advances. As a landscape ecologist he has contributed to the development of monitoring and assessment protocols related to sustainable mining, water abstraction and agricultural development, and provided advice and conducted assessments and reviews for state and territory governments, the national governments of Australia and New Zealand, and international organisations. In addition to working as a subject specialist, Dan is increasingly called upon to provide high level synthesis across a range of domains related to a specific current topic. Recent examples include briefings for Ministers and senior executives and coordinated submissions and appearances before Senate committees, Commonwealth and State Inquiries and the Royal Commission into National Natural Disaster Preparedness. He has experience developing written and video/audio material for academic audiences, policy decision-makers, agency staff and community groups.

Dr Metcalfe holds representative roles on the Terrestrial Ecosystems Research Network (TERN) Advisory Board and the Integrated Marine Observing System (IMOS) Board, and on Committees of the National Marine Science Council (NMSC), Partnership for Observation of the Global Oceans (POGO), Reef & Rainforest Research Centre and Reef 2050 Advisory Committee. He is CSIRO’s representative on the Location Interdepartmental Committee (IDC), Antarctic IDC, Cape Grim Science Program Management Group and the Australian Climate Services Customer Committee Working Group. Dan is also an expert member of Accounting for Nature’s Standards and Accreditation Committee. He has served on the Goyder Institute for Freshwater Research Management Board, Wet Tropics Management Authority Scientific Advisory Committee, the NESP Northern Australia Environment Resources Hub’s Research Executive Committee, and the CSIRO-James Cook University Tropical Landscapes Joint Venture Management Committee. Dan was co-chair of CSIRO’s Indigenous Engagement Implementation Committee (2014-2021), was Manager of CSIRO’s Office of Indigenous Engagement (2014-17) and delivered CSIRO’s first Reconciliation Action Plan.

Dan holds an Honours degree in Botany, a PhD in tropical ecology from the University of Cambridge, UK, a Post-Graduate Certificate in Academic Practice (Education) and is a Graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.

Non-Executive Director

Dr Joseph Morrison

Joe Morrison has Dagoman and Torres Strait Islander heritage and has over 25 years’ experience working with Indigenous people in northern Australia and more recently with Indigenous people globally. He has extensive advocacy, policy, research and practical experience in developing ranger programs, climate change, traditional knowledge conservation, fire management and carbon economies, water rights, public policy, Indigenous institutional governance, negotiating agreements and reforming and leading complex institutions. He has published in these and related areas.

He has a BA in Land Management from the University of Sydney and an Honorary Doctorate from the University of New South Wales for his contribution to Indigenous land and sea management, policy development, advocacy and related topics nationally.

He is currently the Managing Director of Six Seasons Pty Ltd, a company established to advance Indigenous people. Prior to this he was the Chief Executive Officer of the Northern Land Council and the founding CEO of the North Australian Indigenous Land & Sea Management Alliance spanning 18 years. He is currently a Director of the Environmental Defenders Office Australia, Australian Native Foods and Botanicals and Ilkara Wilpeena Resort, is advises a US based Foundation, Nia Tero on working with Indigenous people to secure their guardianship of globally important territories.

Non-Executive Director

Dr Keith Noble

Keith Noble is Chair of Terrain NRM, the regional Natural Resource Management body for Queensland’s Wet Tropics, and also Chairs the North Queensland NRM Alliance. He is a Rural Planner with his family company, Insideout Architects, and farms tropical fruit near Tully. Keith holds a PhD and MSc from James Cook University, a Bachelor of Agricultural Science from the University of Queensland, and a Graduate Diploma in Plant Protection from Gatton Agricultural College. Keith is a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Company Directors, and a Registered Planner with the Planning Institute of Australia.

Before farming, Keith worked in natural resource management throughout regional Australia, culminating in declaration of Australia’s largest terrestrial protected areas – the 97,000 km2 Ngaanyatjarra Lands Indigenous Protected Area in Western Australia. Keith was Founding Director of Australian Tropical Fruits and Australian Tropical Marketing before Cyclones Larry and Yasi changed the course of the tropical fruit industry. He is a past Director of Growcom, horticulture’s peak body, of Troplinks, and of Regional Development Australia FNQ&TS.

Keith has a demonstrated commitment to the appropriate development of Northern Australia, and his book, “Agriculture and Resilience in Australia’s North” was recently published by Springer Nature.

Non-Executive Director

Dr Liz O’Brien

Dr Liz O’Brien has a multi-sectoral career spanning Queensland public sector policy and investment roles, university research management and commercialisation, strategy development and government engagement, and industry applied research. She is currently the General Manager - Partnerships at the Queensland TRust for Nature. Prior to that she was the Industry Engagement Manager for Agricultural Science and Biocommodities at QUT, with a key focus on brokering research partnerships and enabling the translation of research into impact. In the years preceeding this she played a key role in securing over $29M of research funds for Griffith University. She has a strong grounding in marine research receiving a Bachelor of Zoology with 1st class honours, and the Deans commendation for outstanding PhD thesis for her research in molecular marine biology from the University of Queensland. 


Non-Executive Director

Gareth Phillips

Gareth has always had a passion for the oceans. With a post graduate degree in Zoology specialising in marine environments and animals, he is also a skipper, marine engineer and business owner.

Early on in his 20+ year career, Gareth developed a passion for the link between tourism and science. He currently owns and runs a Great Barrier Reef research, training and consulting company in Cairns ann is also the CEO of the Association of Marine Park Tourism Operators (AMPTO).

Gareth believes through collaboration, we can make the strongest and most genuine changes for the environment and all communities; locally, nationally and internationally.