The Science System Advisory Group will provide advice on how to improve the effectiveness and impact of the science sector in New Zealand. 

The members come from a variety of backgrounds and are highly respected within their fields. They have a deep understanding of the research and science system, both in New Zealand and overseas.

The group will meet regularly to develop their advice and recommendations.

The advisory group members are:

Sir Peter Gluckman (chair)

Michael Ahie

Mark Ferguson

Hermann Hauser

Barb Hayden

Nadia Levin

Tracey McIntosh

William Rolleston

Hamish Spencer

The secretariat is hosted by Koi Tū: The Centre for Informed Futures. It is independent of the University of Auckland.

The secretariat is led by:
Hema Sridhar

Advisory group members

Sir Peter Gluckman

Chair, Science System Advisory Group
Distinguished Professor Emeritus

Sir Peter Gluckman is the President of the International Science Council (ISC) and the Director of Koi Tū: The Centre for Informed Futures.

From 2009–2018, he was the first Chief Science Advisor to the Prime Minister of New Zealand. During 2014–2021, he was the inaugural Chair of the International Network of Government Science Advice (INGSA). He was also Science Envoy for the New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade and coordinated the Secretariat of the Small Advanced Economies Initiative. He has written and spoken extensively on science-policy and science-diplomacy and science-society interactions.

In 2021, he was appointed Chair of the International Advisory Group to give independent advice on the assessment of the UK higher education research performance to the Future Research Assessment Programme (FRAP) via the FRAP Board.

Michael Ahie (Taranaki, Ngāruahine, Ngāti Ruanui)

Director of Zespri Group Limited Chair of Spring Sheep Milk Co. and Chair of the Plant Market Access Council (PMAC); Business

Mr Michael Ahie is a Director of Zespri Group Limited, Zespri International Limited, Chair of Spring Sheep Milk Co. and Chair of the Plant Market Access Council (PMAC). He has served as Chancellor of Massey University, a Director of FMG, Chair of He Waka Eke Noa and chair of Inland Revenue’s Risk & Assurance Committee. 

Mr Ahie was previously a member of Te Pai Kahurangi, the CRI Collective Review Panel, Chair of Plant & Food Research Crown Research Institute and Chair of the Kiwifruit Breeding Centre. He has held executive roles with Toyota New Zealand Ltd, the New Zealand Dairy Board and Wrightson Ltd. 

Mark Ferguson

Board chair SoilSteam International and Member of the European Commission’s High Level Expert Group on Horizon Europe. Science and research systems; Molecular cell and developmental biology.

Professor Mark Ferguson is the Chair of the Board of the European Innovation Council for the European Commission. He previously served as Director General of the Science Foundation Ireland and as the Chief Scientific Advisor to the Government of Ireland.

He has served on boards and committees internationally concerning research, innovation and science advice, including Governing Boards of the Global Research Council and the European Union Joint Research Centre.

Professor Ferguson is the recipient of numerous international research prizes and awards including the 2002 European Science Prize (jointly).

His research interests include cellular and molecular mechanisms of wound healing and scarring, and cleft palate developmental mechanisms.

Hermann Hauser

Entrepreneur and venture capitalist. Innovation and technology systems; Physics.

Dr Hauser holds an MA in physics from Vienna University and a PhD in physics from the University of Cambridge. He is a Fellow of the Institute of Physics and of the Royal Academy of Engineering, and an Honorary Fellow of King’s College, Cambridge.

Dr Hauser holds honorary doctorates from the Universities of Bath, Loughborough, Anglia Ruskin, Strathclyde, Glasgow and York and was awarded an Honorary CBE for ‘innovative service to the UK enterprise sector’ in 2001.

Dr Hauser co-founded Amadeus Capital Partners in 1997 with Anne Glover. In his long and successful history as an entrepreneur and venture capitalist, he has founded or co-founded companies in a wide range of technology sectors.

Barb Hayden

Lead science advisor, Coasts and Oceans research, NIWA; Marine biology.

Dr Barb Hayden is a scientific pioneer in the mussel aquaculture industry and in biosecurity. After a long and active career as a marine scientist, she was appointed Chief Scientist Coasts and Oceans at NIWA and for 9 years led NIWA’s Coasts and Oceans research, which focuses on ecosystem-based approaches to managing activities in New Zealand’s marine estate, so that economic and social benefits are realised while vulnerable components of the ecosystem are protected.

As a Chief Scientist of NIWA, she raised awareness of the need to grow the economy while protecting biodiversity and established and chaired the first Ballast Water Working Group that was the genesis of marine biosecurity in New Zealand.

In 2019, the NZ Marine Sciences award was presented to Dr Hayden for her substantial contribution to marine science in New Zealand over a long and distinguished career that has included setting strategic research directions, leading major research programs, and mentoring emerging researchers. In the same year, Dr Hayden was inducted as a Companion of the Royal Society of NZ.

Nadia Levin

CEO and Managing Director of Research Australia, non-executive board Director Northern Sydney Local Health District, non-executive board Director New Zealanders for Health Research; Health research.

As CEO of Research Australia, Nadia leads national advocacy for health and medical research innovation, positioning the sector as a significant driver of a healthy population and healthy economy.

Nadia has successfully driven recognition and a change in strategies to support the translation of research discovery and innovation into collective opportunity. This includes the importance of investing in and maintaining sustainable landmark research and smart innovation infrastructure.

Part of her focus is showcasing the role of the digital evolution in healthcare and bio sciences progress in contemporary Australia.  She was part of a national effort in standing up a substantial Medical Research Future Fund (MRFF) programme, aimed at changing the way we think about funding game-changing research. She is Chair of the $700 million Frontiers Health and Medical Research Initiative.

Nadia is an experienced Board Director Graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors (GAICD) currently serving as Managing Director of Research Australia, and a non-executive Director on the boards of the Northern Sydney Local Health District, which encompasses eight hospitals and the New Zealanders for Health Research. She previously served on the board of the Australian Synchrotron. Nadia is an advisor to both state and federal working groups and committees across the sector, including but not limited to, the ministerially convened National Women’s Health Advisory Council, Centre for Business Economics and Economics of Health, and The University of Queensland. She is an industry mentor on the Industry Mentoring Network in Stem (IMNIS) for early career researchers.

Tracey McIntosh (Ngāi Tūhoe)

Professor of Indigenous Studies, University of Auckland, Chief Science Advisor for the Ministry of Social Development. Te Ao Māori expertise; sociology.

Professor Tracey McIntosh is Ngāi Tūhoe and is Professor of Indigenous Studies at the University of Auckland. She is the Chief Science Advisor for the Ministry of Social Development and a Commissioner of Te Kāhui Tātari Ture: Criminal Cases Review Commission.

She was the former Co-Director of Ngā Pae o te Māramatanga New Zealand’s Māori Centre of Research Excellence and previously taught in the sociology and criminology programme at the University of Auckland. She was a Fulbright Visiting Lecturer in New Zealand Studies at Georgetown University in Washington D.C. and lectured at the University of the South Pacific in Fiji.

She has sat on a number of assessments and served as the co-chair of the Children’s Commissioner’s Expert Advisory Group on Solutions to Child Poverty. She was a member of the Welfare Expert Advisory Group, Te Uepū Hapai i te Ora-The Safe and Effective Justice Advisory Group and a member of the Advisory Commission into the Incarceration Rates of Australia.

William Rolleston

Co-founder of biotechnology company South Pacific Sera Limited; Biotechnology.

Dr William Rolleston is the co-founder of the biotechnology and vaccine manufacturing company South Pacific Sera Limited. Dr Rolleston has a degree in medicine and has received many awards and accolades for his contribution to biotechnology.

He was the founding Chair of Aotearoa New Zealand’s biotechnology industry association (now Biotech NZ), and the Life Sciences Network, as well as President of both New Zealand Federated Farmers and the World Farmers Organisation. Dr Rolleston has also served many roles as an advisor to central and local government.

Hamish Spencer

Sesquicentennial Distinguished Professor, Department of Zoology, University of Otago; Evolutionary genetics.

Distinguished Professor Hamish Spencer has a PhD in Biology from Harvard University.  He specialises in using mathematical modelling and molecular genetics to understand the processes driving the evolution of the world’s broad biodiversity.

He was awarded the Callaghan Medal for science communication by the Royal Society Te Apārangi in 2016 and a James Cook Research Fellowship in 2022. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society Te Apārangi as well as a Fellow of the International Science Council. He has authored over 200 book chapters and articles related to his field of research.

Advisory group secretariat

Hema Sridhar

Hema Sridhar

Secretariat lead

Hema has nearly 20 years of experience in government, primarily in the defence and national security sector. In her previous role as the Chief Advisor for Industry and Science at the Ministry of Defence, she worked together with industry, research and science entities, government agencies and international partners to provide strategic advice to inform policy formulation, governance and capability decisions.

In her former capacity as the Chief Science Advisor for Defence, she worked closely with the Prime Minister’s Chief Science Advisor (PMCSA) and other chief science advisors to contribute to government strategic thinking and decision making. Hema has a strong background in emerging and disruptive technologies with a focus on risk, governance and impacts. Hema has a master of science in physics and a bachelor of technology in opto-electronics from the University of Auckland.