Our People | Fight Food Waste CRC
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Board Members


John Webster is the inaugural Independent Chair of the Fight Food Waste Cooperative Research Centre and was integral to the success of the bid. He has provided leadership throughout the bidding and FFW CRC establishment process and has kept a strong focus on industry impacts and good governance. John has extensive experience in issues surrounding both food waste and management of complex industry/research collaborations. His expertise includes strategy, governance, leadership, performance measurement, R&D project management, business and commercialisation in the food, agribusiness and food waste sectors.

John is a former CEO of Foodbank Australia, MD of Horticulture Australia, and GM of Meat & Livestock Australia. He is currently a Director of AgStrat Associates and Council Member of the International Meat Research 3G Foundation. His qualifications include a degree in Economics and he is a Graduate Member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.

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Toine Timmermans is a global leader in food waste management and the FFW CRC’s key connection to international food waste initiatives. He was an integral component of the successful bid, as remarked by the CRC Advisory Committee, and has since been indispensable to the establishment of the R&D portfolio. He is active globally in creating impact on food waste prevention via research, innovation and establishing partnerships.

Toine is currently the Program Manager of Sustainable Food Chains at Wageningen University & Research in The Netherlands, the Coordinator of the European Union food waste project REFRESH, and the Managing Director of the Foundation United Against Food Waste. The overall aim of the REFRESH project is to halve food loss and food waste across the post-harvest supply chain. His qualifications include an MSc in Agricultural Engineering and post-graduate studies in Business Strategy.

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SANDRA HOOK – AGSM Management courses, GAICD.

Sandra has a track record in driving customer-centred business transformation and transitioning traditional organisations in rapidly evolving environments.  She has extensive operational, digital, financial management and strategic experience built over 25 years as a CEO and in senior executive roles for some of Australia’s largest media companies including News Limited, Foxtel, Federal Publishing Company, Murdoch Magazines and Fairfax.

Ms Hook holds directorships of other companies including: RXP Services (ASX:RXP), MedAdvisor Limited (ASX:MDR), IVE Group Limited (ASX:IGL), Sydney Fish Markets, WYZA Limited, Royal Botanic Gardens and Sydney Harbour Federation Trust.

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Geoff Starr has a wealth of experience in international branded foods and is a well-known figure in Australia’s agriculture and food industry.

Geoff has worked for Unilever, been CEO for Mars Inc. companies internationally and George Weston foods. He has run very large businesses and also enjoyed the  involvement in smaller enterprises.

Geoff was chair of the Australian Food and Grocery Council, Australia’s first industry advocate to government, and is a director of Foodbank, Australian Pork Ltd, Food Innovation Australia Ltd, Birch & Waite foods and chair of Cannpal Therapeutics.

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Robbie Davis has business experience in both the private and public sectors domestically and internationally. As a former CEO of Potatoes South Australia Inc, she has a strong understanding of whole of industry value chains and the critical need to reduce and transform food waste to enable productivity gains, increase sustainability and enhance the reputation of Australian agriculture. She also believes that R&D programs across agricultural sectors and value chains are vital to Australia attaining its $100b production target by 2030. Following ten years living and working in SE Asia, she was self-employed as an agribusiness consultant and continues to consult privately. She was a member of the CRC Bid Advisory Committee and also operates a grazing property in the upper SE of South Australia.

Robbie’s qualifications include a Bachelor of Agricultural Science and a Master of Business Administration from the University of Adelaide, and she is a Graduate Member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.

She was profiled under PIRSA’s Women Influencing Agriculture and Regions in 2015, is the AgriFutures 2016 SA Rural Woman of the Year and is a graduate of the NFF’s Diversity in Agriculture Leadership Program 2019.

Currently, she is a Director of Invasive Animals Ltd, a member of Rural Bank’s Agribusiness Advisory Board and a member of the Limestone Coast Landscape Board.

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Christine has over 25 years’ experience in Australia’s food and nutrition manufacturing sectors with a demonstrated history of transforming businesses by driving profitable sales, directing sector leading innovation, and demonstrating a commitment to delivering for customers. Christine is the ANZ General Manager and Commercial Lead for The Kerry Group, . Headquartered in Ireland (KYGA LON) Kerry is the global leader in the development of taste and nutrition solutions for the food, beverage and pharmaceutical markets. Prior positions have included Chief Operating Officer at Nature’s Care (Australia’s third largest vitamins company), Managing Director at Naturex Australia, a significant processor of functional food ingredients and botanical extracts, and Managing Director of KF Specialty Ingredients (previously known as Kingfood Australia).

Christine maintains strong technical, commercial and senior management competencies across the Food and Beverage, Health and Wellness, Complementary Medicines (inc TGA) and Personal Care markets, as well as having extensive commodity and industrial expertise in the various Manufacturing sectors and Sustainable ingredient sourcing supply.

Christine holds a Bachelor of Applied Science in Food and Nutrition and is a Graduate Member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors (AICD). She is a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Food Science and Technology (AIFST), and an active member of Complementary Medicines Australia (CMA).

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Alain Pillay is the managing director of Nexus Strategem Pty Ltd, a boutique financial and economic advisory firm specialising in corporate strategy and M&A. Since 2011 Nexus has been involved in acquisitions across the sugar, beef, port and technology sectors.

Prior to establishing Nexus, Alain was the Queensland state lead partner for Deloitte’s economics and strategy unit and was responsible for establishing and building the practice into one of the largest economic groups in Queensland. A member of Deloitte’s young leaders group and a member of Deloitte economics executive team, Alain worked extensively across Asia, Middle East and America.

Alain has a strong investment network both domestically and internationally and has experience in corporate governance as a company secretary of a listed company. Alain is tertiary qualified in both accounting and economics and is a member of the Australian CPA’s, Institute of Company Directors and Chartered Secretaries of Australia.

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View our organisational structure for more information on our people.

Delivery Team


Dr Steven Lapidge

Dr Steven Lapidge is the inaugural CEO of the Fight Food Waste Ltd, which incorporates the Fight Food Waste Cooperative Research Centre (CRC) and Stop Food Waste Australia. He has spent most of his 20-year career working for or with agricultural and environmental CRC’s, with a strong focus on new product development, commercialisation, extension and adoption. Steven led the development of the Fight Food Waste CRC bid when working for the South Australian Research & Development Institute, a division of Primary Industries & Regions South Australia. In recent years he has represented Australia at G20, OECD, FAO, APEC and other international food waste forums. He is a member of the G20 Meeting of Agricultural Chief Scientists (MACS) Food Loss/Waste Working Group, the National Food Waste Strategy Feasibility Study Project Advisory Group and a Professional Member and former Non-Executive Director of the Australian Institute of Food Science and Technology.

Steven’s qualifications include a PhD (Sydney Uni) and an MBA (Uni SA). He is a graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors, European Summer School for Advanced Management (Aarhus Uni, Denmark), Golden Key International Honour Society, and a Fulbright Professional Business/Industry Fellow.

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Allison Berry

Allison joined Fight Food Waste Limited in February 2022 after most recently serving as Anglicare’s Chief Financial Officer. Allison is a Chartered Accountant and experienced CFO, with a background across firms such as Deloitte, RAA and Elders.

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Ben Osborne, Communications Manager

Communications Manager

Ben Osborne

Ben has extensive experience across the media, communication and marketing landscape, working in the higher education, defence and healthcare sectors. Previous roles include managing social media for the University of Adelaide and leading communications for one of Australia’s largest defence primes, ASC Pty Ltd (formerly Australian Submarine Corporation).

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Research Systems Manager

Dr Melanie Hand (University of Adelaide)

Melanie brings to the FFW CRC her love of data, and experience in supporting the implementation and operation of IT systems. Her previous role within the University of Adelaide was supporting the Career and Research Skills Training program; a specialised training and development program for PhD students. Melanie is PhD trained in the area of plant molecular genetics, and was a student of the Dairy Futures CRC. Prior to moving into systems management, Melanie worked for the state government of Victoria and CSIRO on industry and philanthropy-funded research projects.

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Special Advisor - Food Waste

Mark Barthel

Mark joined the FFW CRC team in July 2019. Mark is a highly motivated and experienced business and sustainability professional with strong leadership, communications and negotiating skills and a successful 25-year track record of driving sustainable innovation in agri-food; and supporting the development and implementation of sustainable food systems. This includes over 15 years’ experience in quantifying and preventing food loss and waste in the UK, Europe, North and South America, Africa and Australia. This body of work has involved: developing the international evidence base for food loss and waste; national baseline development (volumetric, compositional and behavioural); strategy development and the annual tracking of progress at corporate, sectoral and national levels; establishing world-leading public/private sector voluntary agreements to reduce food waste, redistribute surplus food to those in need and support food waste valorisation; running award winning consumer-facing behaviour change campaigns; and implementing over 50 research and innovation projects with food and drink companies and their trade bodies. Marks qualifications include a BSc (Hons) in Environmental Science and an MSc in Integrated Environmental Studies. Before working on environmental and sustainability issues, Mark’s roots were in the international finance: covering foreign exchange and commodities markets and fraud and anti-fraud programs.

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Theme Leader - Food Safety and Integrity

Dr Valeria Torok (PIRSA)

Dr. Valeria Torok is the Fight Food Waste CRC Food Safety and Integrity Theme Leader. She is also the Food Microbiology Sub-Program Leader with the South Australian Research and Development Institute (SARDI), Food Sciences Group based at the Waite Campus in Adelaide.  Dr. Torok has a keen interest in food safety research, functional foods and the role of gut microbiota in livestock production and gut health.  She also has product development interests in the creation of novel, rapid and sensitive diagnostics for foodborne hazards and foodborne virology. Her team has been instrumental in providing Australian capability for foodborne virus testing in foods implicated in recent foodborne outbreaks. Within the FFW CRC Valeria will ensure that any ingredient, food or packaging products developed demonstrate the upmost food safety and integrity.

During her 20 year career Dr. Torok has worked closely with both industry and regulatory bodies, and has formed multidisciplinary scientific collaborations both nationally and internationally. Her qualifications include a BSc(Hons) and PhD.

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Research Director

Prof Vincent Bulone (University of Adelaide)

Professor Vincent Bulone is the Director of Adelaide Glycomics, an analytical centre for complex carbohydrates, and Director of the Research Consortium Program for Agricultural Product Development supported by the South Australia Department for Industry and Skills. Vincent was also Director of the ARC Centre of Excellence in Plant Cell Walls until June 2018. His activities comprise fundamental research on plants and microorganisms as well as applied research in green chemistry and biotechnology for the development of products derived from carbohydrate polymers and other biomolecules. Vincent’s R&D activities are relevant to multiple sectors, including Agriculture and Waste Management; Biomaterials; Biorefinery; Bioenergy; Food Sustainability; and Disease Control. Prior to his recruitment in Adelaide in 2015, Vincent was Director of the Centre for Biomimetic Fibre Engineering and The Advanced Carbohydrate Materials Consortium in Stockholm, Sweden. He is the founder of the spin-out company CarbOzide Pty Ltd, which exploits his invention on UV protective materials based on carbohydrates and natural molecular sunscreens from algae

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Carolyn Eggart

Carolyn previously worked for OzHarvest for five years where she undertook a variety of roles, including driving the vans and seeing first-hand the enormity of the food waste issue. Carolyn also managed the charity partnership with Clipsal 500 where she managed an event with 20 of the top chefs of Adelaide who helped create 500 meals for people in need using rescued food. Most recently, she was in a business development role to increase food rescue with major supermarkets by educating them on food waste and the positive impact they can have on people in need and also the environment.

Prior to working with OzHarvest, Carolyn worked in advertising and events and has been known to be a bit of a ‘Jill of all Trades!’.

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Program Leader - REDUCE

Associate Professor Karli Verghese (RMIT University)

Karli is the Reduce Research Program Leader in the Fight Food Waste Cooperative Research Centre. She is also a Principal Research Fellow in the Industrial Design program of the School of Design, RMIT University, Melbourne. Karli is predominantly involved in designing, developing and leading industry applied and government-funded research projects in the fields of food waste, packaging sustainability, waste management and life cycle assessment. She also supervisors Honours, Masters and PhD students and teaches in the Industrial Design program. Her research projects have included the development of decision support tools for packaging, resource efficiency, food waste, eco-design and one currently being developed for Australia’s Antarctic research station (Casey). Karli is also a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Packaging.

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Program Leader - ENGAGE

Prof David Pearson (Central Queensland University)

Professor David Pearson is the ENGAGE Program Leader in the Fight Food Waste Cooperative Research Centre. The Engage Program is responsible for educating over 40 future industry professionals with PhD or Master level qualifications, disseminating research outputs through an Industry Training Hub, and encouraging behaviour changes amongst consumers to reduce the amount of food wasted.
David Pearson’s research expertise is in leading multidisciplinary collaborations addressing issues of concern in society. Most recently this has focused on encouraging consumers to make considered choices, such as dietary options to improve personal health and contribute to a more environmentally sustainable global food system.

In addition, he has considerable leadership achievements in tertiary education as well as significant engagements with industry, government and charity sectors. He is a Professor of Marketing in the School of Business and Law, and the Appleton Institute, at the Sydney campus of Central Queensland University.

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Program Leader - TRANSFORM

Francesca Goodman-Smith

Francesca brings research, policy and industry experience to her role as TRANSFORM Program Leader. Her research has focussed on food waste in consumer, retail and hospitality sectors of the food supply chain, including quantifying retail food waste in New Zealand. Prior to joining the CRC she worked as Waste Minimisation Manager for Foodstuffs NZ, New Zealand’s largest grocery retailer. In this role she solidified research and industry partnerships to understand the emerging sector of upcycled foods, where surplus and by-products are transformed into new food products.

Francesca works globally across the sector as the International Representative for the University of Otago Food Waste Research Theme in New Zealand and co-chair of the Standards Committee for the Upcycled Food Association in the USA.

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Deputy Program Leader - TRANSFORM

Molly Chapman (University of Queensland)

Molly brings valuable industry experience to the Fight Food Waste team having been in the waste-to-resource industry for more than eight. She has worked with agricultural, industrial food processing and municipal organic wastes. With qualifications in science and business and experience working as a technical consultant and in project management, she has the capability to recognise both the technical and commercial opportunities for food waste.

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Program Leader - REDUCE

Dr Dianne McGrath (RMIT University)

Dianne brings over 25 years of work-life experience from a range of positions in the private, public and not for profit sectors to the Program Coordinator role for the REDUCE Program. Dianne is an experienced project manager, and has worked in, and lead, teams at the local, national and global level developing health and energy marketing, sales and communication campaigns, websites, and legislation, as well as designing food waste research projects and tools. Dianne is completing her PhD in Environmental Engineering focusing on foodservice food waste.

When she isn’t working as the REDUCE Program Coordinator, Dianne is an international professional speaker, writer and biohacker. Dianne believes that one small sustainable step at a time leads to a giant leap forward for our planet.

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Program Coordinator - ENGAGE

Alex Guest (Central Queensland University)

Alex brings almost 20 years of work-life experience from a range of positions in the sport and recreation sector as the Program Coordinator for the ENGAGE Program. Alex is an experienced and enthusiastic organiser, administrator, manager and strategist with a passion for project development. In past roles, Alex has developed and managed a national women’s riding program, implemented community travel behaviour change initiatives, worked with tertiary students to develop industry recognised skills/qualifications and hosted a range of local, state and national events and programs.

When she isn’t fulfilling her part-time duties as a Program Coordinator, Alex is a Mum to two busy young boys and enjoys writing poetry and children’s stories, drinking good coffee, reducing the plastic bag drawer to “zero bags” and teaching her boys the joy of outside, including feeding the worm farm, exploring the local bush and learning to ride bikes.

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Jessica Morgan

Program Coordinator - TRANSFORM

Jessica Morgan (University of Queensland)

Jessica brings grants administration, stakeholder engagement and project management experience to her role as TRANSFORM Program Coordinator. Jessica is an experienced program manager having led the development and implementation of multi-million government grant programs including the $200 million Works for Queensland program and $60 million Local Government Grants and Subsidies Program, before moving into the Waste Recovery & Avoidance Program team within Department of Environment and Science. As Program Coordinator, she developed several programs supporting the implementation of the Queensland waste levy. She is completing postgraduate studies in Environmental Management.

Following a 15-year public service career, Jessica took a sabbatical to travel across Australia, living and working on permaculture farms and properties, and learning principles and practices involved in sustainable agriculture, circular economy, and resource recovery. She is passionate about reducing and transforming food waste, and supporting organisations at the forefront of developing innovative solutions to environmental issues.

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Alison Hay

Research Coordinator

Alison Hay (University of Adelaide)

Alison is the part-time Research Coordinator working with Prof Vincent Bulone. Her role is to assist the Research Director with project reporting, as well as seek new research funding opportunities for the university. She is also part-time Chief Operating Officer (COO) for the SA Government funded Research Consortium for Agricultural Product Development. Prior to these roles, Alison was COO for the ARC Research Hub for Wheat in a Hot and Dry Climate.  In her operations roles she has expertise in finance management, communication, and adherence to project milestones. Alison’s laboratory management experience comes from strong operational exposure in high through-put research laboratories, requiring daily communication with academic staff, technical staff and post-graduate students. 

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Queensland Innovation Manager

Dr Val Natanelov (QDAF)

Supporting projects with the Queensland Department of Agriculture and Fisheries (QDAF). Val is responsible for establishing significant and impactful new collaborative R&D projects within the FFW CRC by creating new industry relationships across tropical/subtropical regions.

His education includes a Bachelor of Bioscience Engineering: Cell- and Gene Biotechnology, 2007 (Antwerp University, Belgium); a Master of Bioscience Engineering: Agricultural Economics and Management, 2009 (Ghent University, Belgium); and Doctor of Applied Biological Sciences, 2014 (Ghent University, Belgium) with a research focus on Commodity Futures Markets. Dr Natanelov is the author of multiple publications in international peer-reviewed journals and is an associate editor with the International Economics and Finance Journal. He is the Director of Nexible Solutions Pty Ltd, with over a decade of experience working on the nexus of the agri-food industry, technology and economics Val is a holistic design thinking expert with extensive experience in strategy and concept development. A natural innovator experienced in digital transformation, blockchain technologies, agile frameworks, lean principles and business innovation strategy in complex settings and contexts.

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South australian Innovation Manager

Dr Jonathan Middis (PIRSA)

Jonathan has a PhD in Chemical Engineering from Auckland University.  He has years of experience in new product development spanning global food multinationals to local start-ups and has overseen the launch of more than a thousand products during that time.   His work has focused primarily in beverages (coffee, juice), dairy (cheese) and produce, but spans nearly every aisle of the supermarket.  More recently he has turned his hand to finding innovative solutions to create value-added functional products from food waste streams.  He is great at finding solutions and getting stuff done, still believes that it is amazing what can happen over a cup of coffee and passionately avoids waste in all its forms. 

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Alison Hay

Executive Assistant

Lauren Blyth

Lauren joined Fight Food Waste Limited in February 2022, following on from her most recent role as EA to the General Manager Business Support and Improvement at the City of Unley. She has international experience across the education, mining and automotive sectors.

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