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.


Dr Beth Woods OAM Chair, AIMS Council: 1 April 2022 to 31 March 2027

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 is currently 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.


Paul Hardisty  official photo AIMS

Dr Paul Hardisty, MSc, P.Eng, FIEAust


CEO and Council member: 24 July 2017 to 23 July 2024

Dr Hardisty, a recognised thought leader and sought-after speaker in his field, was appointed CEO of AIMS in July 2017.

An engineer who has worked extensively in marine and coastal environments and marine research projects, he is experienced in both the public and private sectors.

Dr Hardisty co-founded international environmental consultancy Komex Environmental Ltd, which he developed from a start-up to a $50 million-a-year company with 1000 employees.

More recently, he was director at CSIRO’s Climate Adaptation Flagship, and business unit director in CSIRO’s Land and Water division.

Dr Hardisty holds a Master in Hydrology, and a Doctorate in Environmental Engineering from Imperial College, London. He is an adjunct Professor at The University of Western Australia.

Visit Dr Hardisty's profile page.

professor simon biggs council member

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.


Jeanette Roberts official photo AIMS

Ms Jeanette Roberts, BE(Hons), CEng, FIChemE


Council Member: 21 June 2018 to 20 June 2023

Ms Roberts is a chemical engineer and a senior executive with more than 40 years’ international experience in the oil and gas industry, including in China, India, Russia, Africa, Europe and the Asia–Pacific.

A director of her own company, Jeanette Roberts Consulting, she has major global merger and acquisitions experience, including divestments, global restructures, risk management and governance.

Ms Roberts has worked on policy development at both state and Commonwealth level, as well as in the research sector, building partnerships and collaboration frameworks, particularly around marine environments and sustainable development.

She has worked for oil and gas operators and service companies both in Australia and internationally.


Dr Thomas Barlow

Dr Thomas William Barlow, BSc (Hons), DPhil


Council Member: 11 March 2020 to 10 March 2025

Dr Barlow serves as an adviser on knowledge investment, research policy, and analytics to a range of technology-intensive companies, government agencies, and universities globally. He previously served a five-year term as an independent member on the Board of the National Computational Infrastructure and is currently also on the Board of the Australian National Imaging Facility.

Dr Barlow is the author of three books on science and innovation, and publisher of the Barlow Report, a biennial resource for higher education institutions in Australia and East Asia.

Dr Barlow has previously worked as a weekly columnist for the Financial Times newspaper in London. He has also been the science policy adviser to the Minister for Education, Science and Training in the Australian Government. He started his career as a computational and theoretical chemist.


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.