APRIL’s Structure

APRIL Board Members


Dr Tony Peacock FTSE FAICD – Independent Chairman

photo of Tony Peacock

Chief Executive Officer of the Canberra-based Cooperative Research Centres Association since 2010, Dr Peacock is a former Managing Director of the Pig Research and Development Corporation and was CEO of a successful CRC for a decade. A reproductive scientist, he holds a Bachelor degree in agriculture and a PhD in veterinary science from the University of Sydney. He has board experience with start-ups, is a passionate advocate for applied research and has an outstanding track record in collaboration, science communication, research partnerships and effective innovation systems.

Board Members

Professor Robert van Barneveld B.Agr.Sc. (Hons), PhD, RAnNutr, FAICD

Rob van Barneveld

Professor Robert van Barneveld is Group CEO and Managing Director of Sunpork Group of Companies, which includes Sunpork Farms, Sunpork Fresh Foods, Swickers Kingaroy Bacon Factory and Sunpork Solutions. He is also a Non-Executive Director of Ridley Corporation, Deputy Chair of Autism CRC Ltd, Chairman of Social Skills Training Pty Ltd and a Director of Roseworthy Piggery Pty Ltd. He is a former Director of Australian Pork Ltd and Porkscan Pty Ltd. He has a PhD in pig nutrition and has worked as a consultant scientist and nutritionist in Australia and overseas for the past 20 years.

Professor Frank Dunshea  B.Agric. Sci., PhD, FNSA, FAPSA, FASAP, RAnNutr.

Professor Frank Dunshea has had a research career spanning 35 years in farm animal and biomedical research. His area of expertise is in growth physiology and nutrition and understanding the interactions between the animal and the animal’s environment. Frank has focused much of his recent research on biomedicine and functional foods. His research has had a high scientific impact and the results of much of his research have been rapidly adopted by industry. He has maintained a balanced approach to research, combining fundamental with applied research, providing commercial and public good outcomes.  Frank is committed to ensuring that all animal industries operate in a responsible and sustainable manner and much of his work has focussed on improving efficiency through reducing inputs and outputs while maintaining product quality and consumer health. 

Mr Neil Ferguson B.Bus (Agric)

Neil is CEO of Westpork, a multisite pork operation in Western Australia. He is also Chairman of the Western Australian Agricultural Produce Commission – Pork Committee and a member of Pork Training WA and Pork Innovation Western Australia. Currently an APL Delegate, he was also an APL Director for three years. He holds a Bachelor of Agribusiness. Neil commenced his current role in 1997. Before his involvement in the pork industry, he worked in the stockfeed and chicken industries.

Professor Bronwyn Harch BSc/Hons (ENV), PhD (Biometrics), FTSE, FQA, FAICD

Professor Bronwyn Harch has significant research and higher education leadership experience and is passionate about innovation that makes our communities more secure, resilient and sustainable.

Bronwyn as the University of Queensland Deputy Vice-Chancellor & Vice-President (Research & Innovation 2018 to 2022) was responsible for enhancing the University’s performance and reputation in research, commercialisation and innovation, research training, and research and innovation collaboration with external stakeholders, nationally and internationally. She led the bid for the recently successful Federal Government’s Trailblazers Commercialisation Program for the Food and Beverage Accelerator (FaBA).

Whilst Executive Director of the QUT Institute for Future Environment (2014 to 2018), Bronwyn led digital transformation projects in the agrifood sector as bid co-lead and Research Director for the Food Agility CRC. She developed engagement and commercialisation strategies with governments and industry.

Bronwyn also worked as a researcher and research leader at CSIRO (1995 to 2014). Her own research has focused on the statistical design of landscape-scale sampling protocols and monitoring programs, as well as the statistical modelling of complex systems, particularly agricultural and environmental systems.

Bronwyn’s board experience includes current membership of Queensland’s Innovation Advisory Council, the Cooperative Research Centres Advisory Committee, AgResearch NZ’s Science Advisory Panel, Australian Pork Limited and CSIRO

Mr David Henman 

Completing his agriculture science degree at The University of Sydney, David began his career in the pig industry with PIC in 1987 as part of their management training program involved in the development of Auspig with the PIC genotype, and then moved to Colborn Dawes in Wagga Wagga as a nutritionist and support for the Format feed formulation system in Australia.

David has been nutritionist at Rivalea/QAF/Bunge Meat industries since 1991 and since 1995 involved in developing research objectives for internal research, as well as being principal investigator for research work conducted on behalf of other commercial companies and pig industry research bodies. David obtained a Master of Science in Veterinary Science from The University of Sydney in 2004. As the Manager of Research and Innovation for the feed milling business, he is responsible for the formulation of 240,000 t/year for its internal pig business and 100,000 t/year for external clients across all species. With roles in the company across all of Rivalea’s pig production systems over 25 years, David is very aware of the problems facing pig enterprises. David has also developed a worldwide network of commercial and academic contacts to collaborate with on projects to benefit the Australian pig industry.

Ms Su McCluskey FCPA, B.Com, MAICD

Su is a highly experience senior executive and non-executive director. She is a Director of Australian Unity and the Foundation for Young Australians, Chairman of Energy Renaissance, a Commissioner for International Agricultural Research and a member of the Ministerial Advisory Council on Skilled Migration. Su was recently a member of the Review Panel for the Australian Charities and Not-For-Profits Commission Legislation and the Small Business Digital Taskforce. She was also a member of the Independent Review Panel for CPA Australia, the Harper Review of Competition Policy and the Regional Telecommunications Independent Review.

Su’s experience and expertise includes strong leadership, strategic thinking, financial management, policy, governance, advocacy and analytical skills. She has been a highly effective change manager in both the government and private sectors and has excellent networks across all levels of government and industry. Su was named the Westpac/Australian Financial Review Regional Women of Influence in 2013 and received the Women in Agribusiness award in 2014 for outstanding contribution to policy development.

Su was the inaugural CEO of the Regional Australia Institute, taking it from a start-up company to be the leading voice on regional issues, underpinned by solid research and evidence-based policy. Prior to this, Su was the CEO of the Council of Rural Research and Development Corporations and the Executive Director of the Office of Best Practice Regulation. Su has held senior positions with the Business Council of Australia, the National Farmers’ Federation and the Australian Taxation Office. Su is also a beef cattle farmer at Yass, NSW.

Su’s professional qualifications include a Fellow Certified Practising Accountant (FCPA), Bachelor of Commerce (University of Canberra) and Member Australian Institute of Company Directors (MAICD).

Ms Gail Owen

Ms Owen is an experienced chairperson and Board member, a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Company Directors, and an Order of Australia medal recipient. Gail is a lawyer specialising in commercial and energy law. Ms Owen is also Chair of the Victorian Fisheries Authority and Independent Chair of the Victorian Institute of Teaching’s Audit, Risk Management and Finance Committee. In her role on the APL Board, Ms Owen is Chair of the Audit, Risk and Corporate Governance and a member of the Industry Integrity Committee.

APRIL Executive

CEO/Chief Scientist

Professor John Pluske BSc (Agric) (Hons), PhD (UWA), RAnNutr., R. Anim. Sci.

John Pluske

Dr John Pluske is Chief Scientist and CEO of APRIL, and holds a position as Honorary Professorial Fellow at The University of Melbourne. Dr Pluske’s research and academic career spanning in excess of 30 years has focused predominately on the nutrition and digestive physiology of pigs, particularly piglets and weanling pigs.

Other research interests encompass alternatives to antimicrobials in pig diets, sow nutrition, role of nutrition and the environment in modifying immune function and the gastrointestinal microbiota, feedstuff evaluation, and controlling enteric diseases in pigs without antimicrobials.

P.O. Box 466, Willaston, South Australia, 5118
T: +61 8 9360 2012 | M: 0410 436 871
E: j.pluske@april.org.auwww.april.org.au

Manager, Commercialisation and Research Impact

Dr Charles Rikard-Bell  BSc.Agr, MSc, PhD

Charles Rikard-Bell

As Manager, Commercialisation and Research Impact for APRIL, Dr Rikard-Bell is responsible for the commercialisation of intellectual property (IP) generated by the company. Charles worked in UK, Belgium and USA as a pig geneticist before returning to Australia to work with a multinational animal health company for 11 years, holding technical, sales and marketing roles in Australia and Asia Pacific. Charles gained his PhD in nutrition and biology through the CRC for an Internationally Competitive Pork Industry.

T: +61 8 8313 7973 | M: 0439 513 723 | F: +61 8 8313 7686
E: c.rikardbell@april.org.au| www.april.org.au

Company Secretary

Mr Geoff Crook BSc (Hons), FCA

Geoff has over 15 years’ experience in senior financial roles in Australia. Geoff worked for the CRC for High Integrity Australian Pork as Business Manager, and as CEO for the final year of the CRC’s operations. Prior to that Geoff held the roles of Business Manager and Company Secretary with the CRC for an Internationally Competitive Pork Industry, Finance and Compliance Manager with the Grape and Wine Research and Development Corporation and Chief Financial Officer and Company Secretary of an ASX listed software company.