Governance

NeuRA is established as an independent not-for-profit company, Neuroscience Research Australia.

The Neuroscience Research Australia Board exercises overall governance of the entire company’s range of activities, NeuRA, NeuRA Foundation and the Mindgardens Neuroscience Network. The Board’s current focus is the development of the Mindgardens Neuroscience Network, therefore the Board established the NeuRA Governing Council in 2018 to oversee all NeuRA and NeuRA Foundation activities.
The NeuRA Foundation Board is the corporate trustee of the NeuRA Foundation trust fund. The Foundation’s sole objective is to raise donations to enhance the development of NeuRA through financial support of its research programs, infrastructure, and facilities. 

Board

James MacNevin - Chair

James has enjoyed a near 30-year career in funds management at State Street Global Advisors, a US$3 trillion funds management firm. James held both local and international leadership roles, most recently serving as Head of Asia Pacific for SSGA from 2018 to 2022 when he retired.  In addition to business leadership, James has been engaged in a broad range of roles across distribution, product development, operations and technology. James has a particular focus on building engagement and organizational culture and has successfully led large, culturally diverse teams globally.  From 2007 to 2009, James established and led SSGA India, based in Bangalore.  Returning from London in 2012, where he served as International Head of Operations and Technology, he served as the COO, Asia Pacific from 2012 to 2018. Currently, James is an independent director and Chair of Neuroscience Research Australia, a medical research institute focused on transforming the lives of those with brain and nerve disorders.   James holds a BA from ANU, a financial markets diploma from Securities Institute of Australia and is a graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.

Dr Julian Adler

Dr Julian Adler is a radiologist with subspecialty training in neuroradiology. He is Radiologist and CEO, Imaging Division, of Sonic Healthcare Ltd. He represents Sonic in its joint venture radiology business in Melbourne, partnering with Epworth HealthCare, Victoria’s largest not-for-profit hospital operator. In addition, he continues to practise as a clinical radiologist in Sydney. Prior to his involvement with Sonic, he was co-founder of an international tele-radiology business that now operates in 5 countries and which was sold to a listed private equity company in late 2016.  MBBS (Hons) FRANZCR

Dr Jennifer Alexander

Dr Jennifer Alexander is a registered medical practitioner, with specialist qualifications in medical administration and public health medicine. She has extensive experience in the health industry in various CEO roles, and has also worked outside health in management education and training. She has held numerous public, private, government and not-for-profit Non-Executive appointments, which have included guiding organisations through restructuring, capital raising and listing on the ASX. Jennifer’s current portfolio includes appointment as an Independent Medical Advisor to the Medibank Private Board; Independent Member, Audit and Risk Committee, NSW State Emergency Service (SES) and non-executive Director roles with Doctors Health Services Pty Limited; Relationships Australia (NSW) and the UNSW Council. MCom MB BS MHP FRACMA FAFPHM (RACP) FAICD

Dr Debra Graves

Debra is the Chief Executive Officer of The Royal College of Pathologists of Australasia, a position she has held for the past 20 years.  She holds the Degrees of Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery from the University of Queensland as well as the Degree of Master in Health Administration from the University of New South Wales.  She is a Fellow of the Royal College of Medical Administrators; a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Company Directors; and an Honorary Fellow of the Royal College of Pathologists of Australasia. She is also an Examiner for The Royal Australasian College of Medical Administrators. Debra also has had experience in the hospital system as a CEO and Medical Director in both public and private hospitals. She was also involved in a number of health care consultancies and various tendering processes prior to joining the College in 1999. Debra is a member of the South Eastern Sydney Local Health District Board and the Chairman of it’s Quality and Safety Board. MBBS, MHA, FRACMA, FRCPA (Hon), FAICD

Alice Kase

Alice is a Private Client Partner at PricewaterhouseCoopers and specialises in advising families and senior corporate executives. Key areas of focus relate to her clients’ personal wealth, tax, retirement, superannuation, estate planning and philanthropic activities. She has over 20 years experience and has a particular interest in superannuation as well as diversity and flexibility in the workplace. Alice is regularly involved with discussions and liaison between PwC and the ATO and regularly presents to the market on topics related to her areas of expertise. Alice is a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in Australia & New Zealand and a Chartered Tax Adviser. BBus FCA FTIA CTA

Clyde McConaghy

Clyde McConaghy is the founding Managing Director of Optima Boards, an international board and corporate advisory firm, acting as an independent director and providing strategic counsel to companies, NGOs, and founders and families. Until 2013 he was Group Managing Director and advisor of one of Australia’s most successful technology entrepreneurs. He directed a portfolio of publicly listed, private and venture capital investments as well as significant international funds management and philanthropic interests. Clyde had a successful international career in publishing, media and technology. He is currently a director of an ASX listed international software company and a public unlisted company in the cancer research sector. He was founding President and CEO of the United Nations-endorsed Global Peace Index (GPI) and has presented the GPI to media and institutions worldwide including the United Nations, the OECD, CSIS, SIPRI and the Washington DC Press Club. He is a published author with an established track record of success in business and philanthropy on a global scale. BBus MBA FIoD-UK FAICD

Ms Kirsten O’Doherty - Deputy Chair

A career spanning 30 years in the Pharmaceutical industry. Significant knowledge and expertise in the Australian Pharmaceutical Sector, general management, corporate governance, innovation and agility business practices. Recently retired from role as Vice President and General Manager of Abbvie ANZ leading over 350 people. Abbvie is a leading research based Pharmaceutical company.  Originally qualified and worked as a hospital pharmacist before joining pharmaceutical industry, moving from clinical research and medical roles into commercial roles, and then to senior leadership roles.  A graduate of the AICD Company Directors Course, with post graduate qualifications in Management and residential senior leadership programs at London Business School and at IMD in Switzerland. Since 2018 a member of the Governing Council for NeuRA; a research institute dedicated to preventing, treating, and curing brain and nervous system diseases, disorders and injuries through medical research. Currently Chair of the board Strategy Committee. From August 2020 a founding board member of ADNeT, an organisation set up to further dementia research efforts across Australia. Appointed in August 2020 to the Covid-19 Vaccines Science & Industry Technical Advisory Group advising the Australian Government on the purchasing and manufacturing of COVID-19 vaccines and treatments. A board member of Medicines Australia for over eight years until retirement from Abbvie, Chair of its nominations committee. A passionate advocate for the local Pharmaceutical industry and the role it plays in supporting Australian based research and development. Co-Founder of the Pharma Australia Gender Equity (PAGE) Group with 23 Pharma member companies involved.  Abbvie Australia awarded as a "Best Place to Work" by GPTW institute and one of Australia's top 50 Innovative companies on AFR list for the past five years 2015-20. Abbvie Australia ranked first place globally amongst large affiliates in overall company performance in 2019.   Highly sought keynote presenter on Leadership topics and Pharmaceutical industry issues. 

Professor Sven Rogge

Sven is Pro Vice-Chancellor (Research) at the University of New South Wales, Sydney (UNSW). Sven’s research interest is in condensed matter physics, in particular quantum electronics, at the School of Physics. Sven works on quantum computation in silicon in the ARC Centre for Quantum Computation and Communication Technology. In a team of enthusiastic researchers, they work on gaining atomistic insight into the interactions of quantum objects, like atoms and qubits, with their environment. This allows the team to manipulate quantum information and minimise decoherence. Before joining UNSW in 2011 Sven worked at the Kavli Institute for Quantum Nano Science at Delft University and Stanford University.

Norbert Schweizer OAM

Norbert Schweizer is the founding partner of Schweizer Kobras, Lawyers and Notaries and is an accredited business law specialist. He has extensive experience in corporate and business law, property development and inter-generational corporate and personal succession planning. Norbert has been a long-time advisor to local and overseas businesses and investors in Australia. He is chairman of the Schizophrenia Research Institute and deputy chairman of B’nai B’rith Retirement Villages. Norbert is a former chairman of the Silver Committee of the Royal NSW Institute for Deaf and Blind Children, a former president of Emanuel Synagogue (of which he is a life governor) and a non-executive director of a number of companies in the electrical transmission and distribution and building services industries. In 2010, Norbert was awarded the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany for services to the German community in NSW. BA LLB

Barry Shepherd PSM

Barry Shepherd is the former Deputy Chief Executive Officer of SESIAHS, Director of Corporate Services for SESIAHS and Director, Capital Redevelopment and Executive Director, Corporate Services for Western Health Service, Melbourne. He served as a NeuRA Director during the institute’s formative years and was re-nominated to the Board by the Area Health Service. Barry has extensive expertise in the health and medical research sector and the delivery of major projects. GradDip

Colin Tate AM

Colin Tate AM is an Australian entrepreneur and philanthropist. An investment industry media publisher and conference producer since 1996, Colin has launched and overseen dozens of print and electronic publications throughout his career. Colin is the founder and chief executive of publishing company Conexus Financial. Established in 2005, Conexus has grown to become Australia’s largest independent financial media and events organisation. Each year the company hosts more than 20 high-profile business forums in Australia and overseas. Conexus produces three online publications, including Top1000Funds.com for global investors, Professional Planner for Australian financial advisers, accountants and private bankers and Investment Magazine for Australian super funds and institutional investors. He is founder of The Conexus Institute, an independent, not-for-profit think-tank established to be a catalyst for improved retirement outcomes for Australians. The Conexus Institute connects industry, academia, regulators and policymakers and applies a research-for-impact model to promote informed decision-making. Colin is also chair of Neuroscience Research Australia (NeuRA), an independent, not-for-profit institute dedicated to preventing and curing disease and disability of the brain and nervous system through leadership and innovation in neuroscience research. In addition, he also served as a board member and chair of fundraising at Australia’s most high profile homeless charity, The Wayside Chapel (2005-2012), raising millions to help vulnerable and marginalised people start a new life. Colin and his husband Matt have been global investors in The Hunger Project since 2005. They are major investors in the Mbale community in Uganda where they have personally underwritten education, microfinance, agriculture and health initiatives to empower 60,000 people in 28 villages with the skills, knowledge and resources they need to break the poverty cycle. He has been a supporter and fundraiser for First Nations Foundation (FNF) and is a contributor to the Ripple of Hope awards, Robert F. Kennedy (RFK) Human Rights Foundation in New York. In 2021, Colin was made a Member of the Order of Australia (AM) for significant service to the community through charitable initiatives.

Prof Peter Schofield AO

Appointed head of Neuroscience Research Australia in 2004, Peter graduated from the University of Sydney with the University Medal and was awarded a PhD in genetics from The Australian National University in 1985. He undertook postdoctoral positions in biotechnology in the US and the University of Heidelberg. Peter was appointed a NHMRC Senior Research Fellow at the Garvan Institute in 1993, becoming head of the Neurobiology Research Program in 1999. His research interests focus on identifying genes that lead to mental illness and to dementia. BScAgr (Hons) FAAHMS PhD DSc

Associate Professor Chris White

Chris is the SESLHD Director of Research, Medical Co-Director of the ESCM program of medicine at the Prince of Wales Hospital and a Conjoint Professor of Medicine at the University of NSW. He co-chairs the translational research working group for the Randwick Health & Innovation Precinct and is a member of the SESLHD executive. He is a Board Member of the Health Science Alliance. Chris is a graduate of Sydney University and UNSW, researching the role of vitamin D in bone mineral metabolism as well as newer links between the skeleton and the control of carbohydrate metabolism. He has led a team that has developed software that uses advanced technologies for clinical decision making natural language processing and a distributed data platform for widespread use and safe and secure access to the asset locked within the medical health record. Inpatient management of diabetes and readmission risk algorithms emphasising remote monitoring and community-based responsiveness to chronic illness using data driven innovations are his most recent research and funding priorities. He has strong links across the precinct including Mental Health, Sydney Children’s Hospital and Royal Hospital for Women and supports numerous research activities investigating risk of readmission, inpatient and community-based diabetes management, gestational diabetes and survivors of childhood cancer. He continues to practice as a physician and endocrinologist using knowledge-based systems for reporting and integrating Bone Mineral Density and osteoporosis fracture identification in clinical practice and continues to pursue opportunities that will enhance the management of osteoporosis in primary care. A dedicated teacher and mentor to future generations of physicians and endocrinologists Chris has at various times held senior teaching and training positions including the director of physician training. He has established a highly regarded teaching program at the Prince of Wales Hospital and Sydney & Sydney Eye Hospitals, supervising numerous young endocrinologists and researchers in the early part of their careers. He is an invited speaker at national and international meetings and seminars and has authored over 80 peer reviewed manuscripts and book chapters and held several patents for the tissue specific expression of genes in bone.



Foundation Board

Steve Tucker - Foundation Director

Steve is currently Chairman and Founding Partner at Koda Capital, an independent Private Wealth advisory firm, Non-Executive Chairman of Urbis, one of Australia’s leading property planning and economic advisory partnerships, non-Executive director of FNZ Asia Pacific, a global technology service provider and a non-Executive director of The Ethics Centre, an ethical initiative focused on leading community debate on ethical matters in society. Previously Steve was CEO of MLC from 2004 until 2013 and became Group Executive NAB Wealth from 2010-13 and was a member of the NAB Group Executive Committee. As CEO he had responsibility for MLC, NAB Private Wealth and JBWere. Steve led several M & A transactions including the acquisitions of Aviva’s Australian operations and J B Were. Steve's extensive experience as a leader and non-executive Chairman and director, places him ideally as an adviser to company boards and growing businesses. Steve has a passion for growth and entrepreneurial thinking and is a long-standing supporter of the GWS Giants coteries. Steve holds a Bachelor of Economics degree from the University of Western Australia and is MAICD.

Colin Tate AM - Chair

Colin Tate AM is an Australian entrepreneur and philanthropist. An investment industry media publisher and conference producer since 1996, Colin has launched and overseen dozens of print and electronic publications throughout his career. Colin is the founder and chief executive of publishing company Conexus Financial. Established in 2005, Conexus has grown to become Australia’s largest independent financial media and events organisation. Each year the company hosts more than 20 high-profile business forums in Australia and overseas. Conexus produces three online publications, including Top1000Funds.com for global investors, Professional Planner for Australian financial advisers, accountants and private bankers and Investment Magazine for Australian super funds and institutional investors. He is founder of The Conexus Institute, an independent, not-for-profit think-tank established to be a catalyst for improved retirement outcomes for Australians. The Conexus Institute connects industry, academia, regulators and policymakers and applies a research-for-impact model to promote informed decision-making. Colin is also chair of Neuroscience Research Australia (NeuRA), an independent, not-for-profit institute dedicated to preventing and curing disease and disability of the brain and nervous system through leadership and innovation in neuroscience research. In addition, he also served as a board member and chair of fundraising at Australia’s most high profile homeless charity, The Wayside Chapel (2005-2012), raising millions to help vulnerable and marginalised people start a new life. Colin and his husband Matt have been global investors in The Hunger Project since 2005. They are major investors in the Mbale community in Uganda where they have personally underwritten education, microfinance, agriculture and health initiatives to empower 60,000 people in 28 villages with the skills, knowledge and resources they need to break the poverty cycle. He has been a supporter and fundraiser for First Nations Foundation (FNF) and is a contributor to the Ripple of Hope awards, Robert F. Kennedy (RFK) Human Rights Foundation in New York. In 2021, Colin was made a Member of the Order of Australia (AM) for significant service to the community through charitable initiatives.

Felicity Nicholson

Felicity is a Director and Head of Marketing for Franklin Templeton Australia since July 2020. Felicity came across to Franklin Templeton as part of the Legg Mason acquisition where she had been Managing Director, Head of Marketing, Australia and New Zealand since 2017. Prior to that she spent three at Hastings as Global Group Director of Marketing.  She brings over 20 years’ experience in all areas of wealth management having held senior positions in banks and large financial services companies. Across the senior marketing roles Felicity has held she has led teams across marketing strategy, brand strategy and advertising, investor communications, product development, responsibility for segmentation, CRM technology, market research and media relations. Prior to joining Hastings, Felicity was with National Australia Bank/MLC where she held several senior roles including being the Head of Wealth Marketing, Head of Advice and High Net Wealth Marketing and the Head of Marketing - Platform and Investments. Previously, Felicity was General Manager – Marketing, Product and Strategy at Skandia Australia Limited & Intech Investments. Other roles Felicity has undertaken throughout her career have included Head of Distribution and Customer Management at Suncorp Wealth Management and Head of Adviser Marketing at Colonial First State. Felicity holds a Bachelor of Commerce from Curtin University in Western Australia. Felicity has a deep understanding of needs and perspectives of investors, advisers, and the broader funds management industry. She truly believes people that focus on their financial wellbeing and plan can design the lifestyle they desire.

Norbert Schweizer OAM

Norbert Schweizer is the founding partner of Schweizer Kobras, Lawyers and Notaries and is an accredited business law specialist. He has extensive experience in corporate and business law, property development and inter-generational corporate and personal succession planning. Norbert has been a long-time advisor to local and overseas businesses and investors in Australia. He is chairman of the Schizophrenia Research Institute and deputy chairman of B’nai B’rith Retirement Villages. Norbert is a former chairman of the Silver Committee of the Royal NSW Institute for Deaf and Blind Children, a former president of Emanuel Synagogue (of which he is a life governor) and a non-executive director of a number of companies in the electrical transmission and distribution and building services industries. In 2010, Norbert was awarded the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany for services to the German community in NSW. BA LLB

Prof Peter Schofield AO

Appointed head of Neuroscience Research Australia in 2004, Peter graduated from the University of Sydney with the University Medal and was awarded a PhD in genetics from The Australian National University in 1985. He undertook postdoctoral positions in biotechnology in the US and the University of Heidelberg. Peter was appointed a NHMRC Senior Research Fellow at the Garvan Institute in 1993, becoming head of the Neurobiology Research Program in 1999. His research interests focus on identifying genes that lead to mental illness and to dementia. BScAgr(Hons) FAAHMS PhD DSc

Lee Valentine

With a 30-year career as a property and brand expert, Lee Valentine has developed a strong focus on business growth, having held leadership roles for companies such as George Patterson Bates, Foster’s, McGrath Estate Agents and Hoyne. He is currently the Head of Growth and Strategy for Firefly Future, a retail property fund based in Sydney and Brisbane; and has recently joined Wealthi as an investor and advisor, assisting the business as it prepares for its next phase of growth.Specialising in the place and property sector, Lee has worked with major Australian and international developers and owners to create recognisable landmarks across Australia with clients such as Mirvac, Lend Lease, Frasers Property, Investa and Dexus. A respected public speaker and lecturer, he has presented at Swinburne University of Technology, UTS, and the WorkTech and International Urban Design conferences. Lee has also appeared on SKY NEWS Real Estate and 2UE Talking Property; and has authored a number of essays for The Place Economy, a comprehensive and cutting-edge resource of best-practice global placemaking.  Lee’s expertise is in identifying an organisation’s or project’s unique angle—what it stands for—and bringing that to life through a strategic approach to placemaking, branding and marketing. He aims to leverage this experience to help NeuRA address some critical challenges through donor events, funding research, donor-focused digital marketing, corporate partnerships and placemaking strategies for NeuRA’s headquarters in Randwick.