aerial photo of beach and ocean

AIMS Council

Setting AIMS’ key objectives, research strategies and overseeing management

The AIMS Council consists of a Chairman, AIMS' Chief Executive Officer, a member nominated by James Cook University, and four other members. The AIMS Act requires that at least three members of Council must have scientific qualifications.

All members of Council, with the exception of the Chief Executive Officer, are non-executive appointments made by the Governor General on the nomination of the Minister. Appointments can be up to five years and re-appointment is permissible. The Chief Executive Officer is appointed by the Council for a period not exceeding five years and is eligible for re-appointment.


A woman smile for the camera

Dr Beth Woods OAM


Chair, AIMS Council: 1 April 2022 to 31 March 2027

Dr Woods is the recently retired Director-General of the Queensland Department of Agriculture and Fisheries where she led development initiatives to deliver an innovative, productive and sustainable agriculture, fisheries and forestry sector.

Previously Dr Woods was the foundation Director of the University of Queensland Rural Extension Centre, and Professor of Agribusiness at UQ from 1997-2004. Dr Woods has served on boards and committees including for the Grains Research & Development Corporation, the CSIRO Board, the Gatton College Council and the Queensland Rural Adjustment Authority Board (now QRIDA). She chaired RIRDC (now AgriFutures), ACIAR, a National Drought Policy Review, the International Rice Research Institute and WorldFish.

She was the inaugural independent Chair of the Policy Council of Cattle Council of Australia, a Commissioner for International Agricultural Research with ACIAR, and a Member of the Queensland Government Native Vegetation Scientific Expert Panel.


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Professor Selina Stead BSc, MSc, PhD


CEO and Council member: 1 February 2024 to 31 January 2029

Professor Selina Stead is a marine biologist and environmental scientist with expertise in coral reef ecosystems, aquaculture, fisheries, environmental governance and science policy. She has enjoyed an active dual career in academia and government. 

Selina’s last roles have been as Executive Dean for the Faculty of Environment at the University of Leeds and the UK Government’s Chief Scientific Adviser for the Marine Management Organisation. Her research focuses on biodiversity conservation, climate change, food insecurity and sustainability, which spans the Caribbean, East Africa, Europe, Middle East, SE Asia and the UK. 

She has a Personal Professorship of Marine Governance and Environmental Science from Newcastle University where she acted as Dean of Research and is a Fellow of the Alan Turing Institute.  

Previously she has served as Chair and Non-Executive Director of the Scottish Government’s Science Advisory Board and Ministerial Appointed Scientific Fisheries Advisor. Selina was President of European Aquaculture Society and her research on climate-smart seafood and conservation was recognised with their highest honour, the Distinguished Services Award.  

Selina is a member of Science Advisory Panels for Australia’s Blue Economy Cooperative Research Centre and the Plant and Food Forum, New Zealand. She holds a BSc in Marine Biology and Oceanography, MSc in Fisheries Biology and Management and a PhD in Zoology. 


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Dr Erika Techera, LLB (Hons), PG Cert Higher Ed, M Env Law, LLM, PhD, FAAL, GAICD


Council Member: 16 March 2020 to 15 March 2025

Dr Techera has over 25 years’ experience in law, legal practice and academic legal research. She is a specialist in international and comparative environmental law and marine environmental governance with a strong commitment to sustainable development. Dr Techera is a Professor of Law and has held a variety of senior leadership roles in the university sector. She has expertise in strategic leadership, governance and management having led a flagship, multi‑disciplinary research institute and a University Faculty of Law. She formerly practised as a Barrister in Sydney for over seven years and prior this this, was Director of a small litigation support business.

Dr Techera has been a member of the Board of Western Australian Maritime Museum Advisory Committee since mid-2018, and in 2020 joined the Heritage Council of Western Australia.

Dr Techera is a Graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors and a Fellow and Director of the Australian Academy of Law.


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Professor Simon Biggs, BSc(Hons) PhD Brist. FREng FTSE CEng FIChemE FIEAust, FRSC


Council Member: 3 March 2022 to 13 February 2027 

Professor Simon Biggs commenced his appointment as Vice Chancellor and President of James Cook University Australia in February 2022. He is responsible for ensuring clear and effective leadership and management of the University across all operating sites, including campuses in Cairns, Townsville and Singapore.

Educated at the University of Bristol in the UK, Professor Biggs holds a PhD in Colloid Science.

Professor Biggs’ main research interests are in the field of colloid and interface engineering. He was the chief investigator on numerous research projects and has authored more than 270 refereed publications as well as being named on over 20 patents.

Professor Biggs is an experienced board member with numerous appointments in both Australia and the UK over the last 20 years. He was elected as a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering in 2011 and in 2016, as a Fellow of the Australian Academy for Technological Sciences and Engineering.


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Patricia Kelly, PSM GAICD


Council member: 6 July 2023 to 5 July 2028

Ms Kelly has substantial experience in strategy and policy formulation for science and research. She was a Deputy Secretary in Commonwealth departments responsible for industry, science and innovation from 2004 -2013, where her responsibilities included science policy, national research agencies, international science engagement and major research infrastructure programs. Between 2013 and 2018 she was Director-General of IP Australia (the Australian patent and trade mark office). She brings significant experience in public administration and governance to the Council.

Ms Kelly is currently Deputy Chancellor at the University of Canberra and chairs the Australian Research Integrity Committee, the National Youth Science Forum and the Australian Square Kilometre Array Regional Centre. She is a Director of DMTC and of Co-operative Research Australia (formerly the CRC Association). She also serves on the Audit Committee of the Australian Department of Finance.

She has a Bachelor of Arts degree, with a major in communication and is a graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.


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Stephen Duffield, BBus, GradDip (Management) MBA, FCPA, FAIM, GAICD


Council member: 13 December 2023 to 12 December 2028

Stephen has been involved with the Hydrographic and Marine Geophysics industry for over 30 years both in Australia and internationally. Stephen has served in leadership roles in the companies, starting in Finance and then moving to General and Strategic management roles. These roles include Regional Financial Controller Racal Survey, Managing Director for Thales Geosolutions and Country Manager for Fugro and being one of the founding shareholders and director for Guardian Geomatics.

Stephen is currently the President of the Australasian Hydrographic Society and a Council member of the Society of Underwater Technology. In the past, Stephen served on the Advisory Board of the Centre for Marine Science Technology (Curtin University) and on the Board of The International Federation of Hydrographic Societies.


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Professor Peter Steinberg, BSc PhD


Council member: 1 January 2024 to 31 December 2028

Peter Steinberg is Emeritus Professor of Biology at UNSW Sydney, retiring in 2021 after 30 years at UNSW. From 2009-2020 he was the inaugural Director and CEO of the multi-university Sydney Institute of Marine Science (SIMS). His interests in marine science include coastal ecology and habitat restoration, environmental microbiology, and marine conservation and management.

Professor Steinberg has been a Fulbright Scholar, a Queen Elizabeth II Fellow and CEO of an ASX listed biotechnology company. Awards for Peter’s achievements include the Australian Marine Science Association’s Silver Jubilee Award in 2017 for outstanding contributions to Australian marine sciences and the 2021 NSW Premier’s Science and Engineering Prize for Biological Sciences (Environmental). He is a Web of Science highly cited researcher (2020 – 23), awarded to the top 1% of researchers globally.

Peter has extensive leadership and governance experience in marine science and related fields. He currently chairs the Research Advisory Committee for the nation’s main oceanographic research vessel, the R/V Investigator, and is a member of the Marine Estate Expert Advisory Panel (MEEKP) for the NSW Government.  He is on the Board of Ocean Impact Organisation (OIO), a NFP start-up accelerator/incubator in the marine technology space.