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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

Dr Michele Akeroyd, Director, Goyder Institute for Water Research

Michele commenced as Director in September 2013 after originally joining the Goyder Institute in February 2012 as Executive Officer and R&D Manager. 

Under Michele’s leadership the Institute has received numerous awards, most noteworthy being the 2015 Australian Water Association Research Innovation Award and the 2015 Minister’s Award for Excellence in Water Sustainability. Before joining the Goyder Institute in 2012 Michele held executive level roles in the government and not-for-profit sectors managing transboundary natural resource programs, communicating scientific outcomes for policy makers, implementing large scale water research programs and facilitating multi-stakeholder collaborations.

She has a BSc specialising in Environmental Science from the Flinders University of South Australia, a PhD from the University of Melbourne, School of Civil and Environmental Engineering and is a graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors. Dr Akeroyd is the 2014 winner of the South Australian Women in Innovation, Environment and Primary Industries Award and is the Chair of the Goyder Institute Research Advisory Committee. 


Professor Justin Brookes, Director, Water Research Centre, University of Adelaide

Professor 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 . 

Justin has a PhD and a Bachelor of Science degree with Honours from the University of Adelaide.




Jennie Fluin, Principal Advisor Research Partnerships, DEWNR

Jennie Fluin, Principal Advisor Research Partnerships, DEWNR

Jennie's role in DEWNR allows her to foster and strengthen opportunities for researchers to better connect with government to enable evidence-based decision making. Jennie has extensive experience working in both universities and government, allowing her to bridge the divide between the two sectors. She is focused on connecting natural resource researchers with natural resource decision makers, and facilitating fit for purpose partnerships.





Prof Jim Cox, Acting Research Chief, Sustainable Systems, SARDIProf Jim Cox, Acting Research Chief, Sustainable Systems, SARDI

Jim Cox is Acting Research Chief, Sustainable Systems 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 supervises 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

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.


Neil Power

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.



Professor John Van Leeuwen, Associate Head: Research, UniSA School of Natural and Built Environments

Professor John Van Leeuwen, Associate Head: Research, UniSA School of Natural and Built Environments

Dr John van Leeuwen is Associate Head of Research in the School of Natural and Built Environments, University of South Australia and Industry Professor of Water Science and Engineering.  He has worked for the University of South Australia since 2006 as a lecturer in water sciences, senior researcher and supervisor of postgraduate students (Masters by coursework and minor thesis, Masters of Philosophy and PhD candidates).  Previously he worked for SA Water, private industries and in secondary education. 

His research work is in drinking water quality, treatment and modelling, disinfection processes, climate impacts on the quality of water resources, catchment studies, and industrial wastewater treatment. Models developed of treatment processes have been adopted in South Australia, Queensland and elsewhere.  He has secured research grants to a value of about $7.1m as a lead or co-investigator, including from the Australian Research Council, Premiers Science Research Fund, CRC for Water Quality and Research, Australian water corporations and private industries. He has authored/co-authored about 70 refereed journal papers, about 65 conference papers and 13 technical reports. He is an adjunct professor with the Chinese Academy of Sciences - of the State Key Laboratory of Environmental Aquatic Chemistry. 


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

Professor Craig 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 ResearchJournal of HydrologyHydrogeology JournalGroundwater, Environmental Modeling and Assessment and Vadose Zone Journal.