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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 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.


Mr Basil Ahyick, BBus, FCPA, GAICD


Acting CEO and Council member

Mr Ahyick was appointed to be the acting Chief Executive Officer from 31 July 2023.

He joined AIMS in January 2016 as the Chief Finance Officer and Corporate Services Manager responsible for Finance, Human Resources, ICT, Business Development, Legal Services, Project Management Office and Information Services. During this time he led AIMS’ leadership and culture program and coordinated the strategic direction and financial planning of the business.

Mr Ahyick has a strong and varied industry background spanning 30 years, including 17 years with BHP Billiton, leading the BHP and Billiton Merger Integration and working in senior management positions, contributing both his business acumen and strategic leadership and planning across corporate, treasury, petroleum, steel, iron ore, nickel, and shared services. His remaining private sector experience includes clothing and fruit juice manufacturing, sugar milling, mergers and integrations, dentistry and consulting across a geographical spread of Melbourne, Sydney, Port Hedland, Perth and Townsville with international travel to many locations.

He has a Bachelor of Business (Accounting), is recognised as a Fellow Certified Practicing Accountant (FCPA) and is a Graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors (GAICD). He also attended Harvard Business School's Driving Corporate Performance program where he spent time honing skills in strategy execution and leading a strong culture.


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.


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.


Woman with short light hair. We can only see her face and neck. Image is in a circle.

Patricia Kelly, PSM GAICD


Council member: 6 July 2023 - 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.