Independent Strategic Panel members (National Research Priorities)

The Independent Strategic Panel will make recommendations to Cabinet about the portfolio of National Research Priorities being implemented through Te Ara Paerangi – Future Pathways.

The Independent Strategic Panel was formed in August 2023 and will operate until it delivers recommendations and a final report to Cabinet in late 2023. It will work through detailed information and analysis provided by a cross-agency working group to determine the most important issues and opportunities for all of New Zealand that research, science and innovation can address.

Panel appointed to recommend National Research Priorities

Tā/Sir Jerry Mateparae (Ngāti Tūwharetoa, Ngāti Kahungunu) – Chair

Headshot of Tā/Sir Jerry Mateparae (Ngāti Tūwharetoa, Ngāti Kahungunu) – ChairTā/Sir Mateparae was New Zealand’s High Commissioner to the United Kingdom 2017 to 2020, the 20th Governor-General of New Zealand between 2011 and 2016. He is a former officer in the New Zealand Army and served as Chief of the New Zealand Defence Force from 2006 to 2011.

He has received numerous honours and awards including Knight Grand Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit, New Zealand Companion of the Queen’s Service Order, Knight of Justice of the Order of St John, the Darjah Utama Bakti Cemerlang (Tentera) (Singapore), the Knight Grand Cross Order of Tonga, the Grande Colar de Timor-Leste and Honorary Doctor of Literature, Massey University.

Jerry is the current Board Chair of the Healthier Lives National Science Challenge and has been appointed to Te Taumata Niwha, the high-level assurance group for the Infectious Diseases Research Platform Te Niwha. His patronages have included the Christchurch Charity Hospital, Land Search and Rescue, and the New Zealand Institute for Strategic Leadership.

Michael Ahie (Taranaki, Ngāruahine, Ngāti Ruanui)

Headshot of Michael Ahie (Taranaki, Ngāruahine, Ngāti Ruanui)Michael Ahie is the Chancellor of Massey University. He is Chair of the Board of Spring Sheep Milk Co. and the New Zealand Plant Market Access Council.

Mr Ahie was previously Chair of Plant and Food Research Crown Research Institute, He Waka Eke Noa, and Inland Revenue’s Risk and Assurance Committee.

He has held executive roles with Toyota New Zealand, the New Zealand Dairy Board and Wrightson Ltd.

Distinguished Professor Dame Jane Harding

Headshot of Distinguished Professor Dame Jane HardingDame Jane Harding is a Professor of Neonatology and Distinguished Professor of the Liggins Institute at the University of Auckland, where she was previously the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research). She has been significantly involved in the National Centres of Research Excellence and National Science Challenges serving on many of their Boards.

Jane is a Fellow of the Royal Society and received the Rutherford Medal in 2019 and the Prime Minister’s Science Prize in 2022. Jane was New Zealand Secretary for the Rhodes Trust, chaired the Public Health Global Challenge Steering Group, and chaired the Public Health Global Challenge Steering Group of the Worldwide Universities Network’s Academic Advisory Group.

Hōne McGregor (Te Ātiawa, Ngāti Rārua, Rangitāne, Ngāti Raukawa, Ngāti Kere, Te Whānau-a-Apanui)

Headshot of Hōne McGregor (Te Ātiawa, Ngāti Rārua, Rangitāne, Ngati Raukawa, Ngāti Kere, Te Whānau-a-Apanui)Hōne McGregor is a Steering Committee member of the World Economic Forum. He serves on the Executive Council of the Federation of Māori Authorities and is Deputy Chair of Te Taumata, The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade Panel for Māori interests. 

Mr McGregor is Chair of the Our Land Our Water National Science Challenge and the Wakatū incorporation and Director of AuOra. He was Former Chief Executive of the Royal Forest & Bird Society from 2013 to 2016, Chief Executive Officer of Polytechnics International New Zealand from 2001 to 2012, and has been a member of the Ministerial Strategic Advisory Board on Trade since 2021.

Mr McGregor holds a Masters in education research.

Ian Short

Headshot of Ian ShortIan Short is the Principal and co-founder of The Connective, which designs and implements alternative business models and investment structures.

He was Chief Executive Officer of the European Union’s Climate Knowledge and Innovation Community in London, which was set up by the European Commission as the world’s largest climate innovation initiative. Prior to this, he was Chief Executive of the Institute for Sustainability in the United Kingdom.

Mr Short currently engages with Horizon Europe, is the Chair of the Auckland Foundation, serves on the Board of the Hillary Institute and acts as Director of the Edmund Hillary Fellowship.

He has previously held roles at Treasury and the Lehman Brothers investment bank.

Dr Sean Simpson

Headshot of Dr Sean SimpsonSean Simpson founded LanzaTech in 2005 in New Zealand and served as the company’s Chief Scientific Officer from 2010 to 2022. The company has raised over US$500 million in private investment since its inception, spun out a new venture (LanzaJet) to produce sustainable aviation fuel and diesel in 2020, and publicly listed on the NASDAQ in early 2023.

Dr Simpson has published over 20 journal articles and holds over 200 patents.

His awards include the 2015 US Environmental Protection Agency Presidential Green Chemistry Award, he holds a Ph.D. in biological sciences from the University of York, an M.Sc. in molecular genetics from Nottingham University and a B.Sc. in process biotechnology from Teesside University.

Distinguished Professor Linda Tuhiwai Smith (Ngāti Awa, Ngāti Porou)

Headshot of Distinguished Professor Linda Tuhiwai Smith (Ngāti Awa, Ngāti Porou)Linda Tuhiwai Smith is a Distinguished Professor at Te Whare Wānanga o Awanuiārangi. She has previously held positions as, Pro-Vice Chancellor Māori, Professor of Indigenous Studies, Dean of the School of Māori and Pacific Development, and Director of Te Kotahi Research Institute at the University of Waikato.

Linda was Co-Founding Director of Ngā Pae o te Māramatanga (Māori Centre of Research Excellence) and Chairperson of its International Research Advisory Board. She was Chair of the Performance-Based Research Fund Review Panel, has previously been a member of the Health Research Council and Marsden Fund Council, and was Chair of the Māori Health Research Committee.

Linda was elected to the Royal Society as a Fellow in 2016, the US Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2021 and the US National Academy of Sciences in 2023.

Professor Teck Seng Low

Headshot of Professor Teck Seng LowProfessor Teck Seng Low has a background in engineering and was previously Dean of the Faculty of Engineering at the National University of Singapore. He is the Senior Vice President (Sustainability and Resilience) at the National University of Singapore.

Low was the Chief Executive Officer of Singapore’s National Research Foundation from 2012 to 2022, stepping up from Managing Director of Singapore’s Agency for Science, Technology and Research.

He is Chairman of the Singapore Maritime Institute, Chairman of Singapore’s National Quantum Steering Committee, Chairman of the Board of Singapore’s Centre for Quantum Technologies, a Fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, and an International Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineers in the United Kingdom.

Associate Professor Yvonne Te Ruki Rangi o Tangaroa Underhill-Sem

Headshot of Associate Professor Yvonne Te Ruki Rangi o Tangaroa Underhill-SemAssociate Professor Yvonne Te Ruki Rangi o Tangaroa Underhill-Sem is Associate Professor of Pacific Studies Te Wānanga o Waipapa at the University of Auckland. She is the current Deputy Moderator Pacific for the Tertiary Education Commission Performance Based Research Fund as well as a member of the Sector Reference Group, having previously been a member of the Review Committee appointed by Minister of Tertiary Education Commission. She is also a member of the Research Ethics and Approval Panel for the Royal Commission of Inquiry into Abuse in Care.

Yvonne was previously Co-Director of Te Wānanga o Waipapa, Director of the New Zealand Institute for Pacific Research, Pacific Co-ordinator for the Global Feminist Research Network DAWN, and Development Expert at Africa Caribbean Pacific Secretariat, Brussels. She has been Co-Chair of the Research Advisory Group for the Pacific Women Shaping Pacific Development and Chair of the Marsden Fast Start Panel for social sciences.

Yvonne was awarded the Metge Medal for excellence and relationship-building in the social science research community.   

Charlotte Walshe

Headshot of Charlotte WalsheMs Charlotte Walshe is Chair of the Governance Board and Industry Strategy Group for Dodd Wall Centre for Photonics and Quantum Technologies. She was recently appointed as a Member of the Board of Trustees for the Contel Trust.

Charlotte is the Former Director of New Zealand Trade and Enterprise and Former Chief Executive of Jade Software Corporation. She also holds a Masters of Science in physics and maths.

PMCSA Professor Dame Juliet Gerrard (ex officio)

Headshot of PMCSA Professor Dame Juliet Gerrard (ex officio)Professor Dame Juliet Gerrard has been the Prime Minister’s Chief Science Advisor (PMCSA) since 2018. She is also a Professor in the School of Biological Sciences and School of Chemical Sciences at University of Auckland.

Professor Gerrard has served on a number of high-profile Boards including Chair of the Marsden Fund Council, Director New Zealand Institute of Plant & Food Research and the Board of Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa from 2013 to 2018.

Last updated: 18 August 2023