Dr Ray Thomson


Board Chair January 2015 – present

After graduating with a PhD in physics from Otago University, Dr Ray Thomson has dedicated most of the last 35 years to working as a financial analyst and company director. Over the last decade he has been keenly involved with angel investment, taking on the role of Chairman of the NZ Angel Association for 2012 and 2013. Ray was recently recognised for his services to the angel investment community with the prestigious Arc Angel award. Dr Thomson is an accredited fellow of the Institute Of Directors. He recently served on the board of Industrial Research LTD 2009-2012, and is currently Chair of Manuka Health NZ, Supreme Biotechnologies, and Rush Digital Interactive. In addition, Ray chaired the MBIE ‘Smart Ideas’ panels in 2013 and 2014. Dr Thomson has a strong interest in the commercialisation of scientific research and is looking forward to working with the MacDiarmid Institute investigators to improve outcomes, particularly in this area.  

Thomas Nann web


Ex-officio Board Member August 2015 – present
The MacDiarmid Institute Director
Victoria University of Wellington

Professor Thomas Nann is Director of the MacDiarmid Institute. Prior to this he was Associate Director of the Ian Wark Research Institute and Director of the South Australian node of the Australian National Fabrication Facility. A chemist by training, Thomas’ career began at the University of Freiburg, Germany, where he completed his PhD in electrochemistry. He then commenced his independent work on the synthesis, characterisation and functionalisation of nanomaterials in Freiburg, where he was awarded his habilitation in 2004. In 2006 he accepted an appointment to the Chair of Nanosciences at the University of East Anglia (UEA), UK which he held for almost four years. Since June 2010, Thomas has been a Professor at the Ian Wark Research Institute at UniSA. In 2011 he was awarded one of the prestigious ARC Future Fellowships.



Ex-officio Board Member August 2015 – present
The MacDiarmid Institute Deputy Director Stakeholder Engagement
University of Auckland

Dr Nicola Gaston is an Associate Professor at Auckland University. She was previously a Senior Lecturer for the School of Chemical and Physical Sciences at Victoria University of Wellington. She was also working as a Principal Research Scientist at IRL, where she was based since returning to New Zealand in 2007 from the Max Planck Institute for the Physics of Complex Systems in Dresden.

Justin Hodgkiss Web


Ex-officio Board Member August 2015 – present
The MacDiarmid Institute Deputy Director Commercialisation and Industry Engagement
Victoria University of Wellington

Dr Justin Hodgkiss is a senior lecturer in Physical Chemistry at Victoria University of Wellington and a Rutherford Discovery Fellow. Justin completed his BSc (hons) in chemistry at the University of Otago in 2000, and his Ph.D. as a Fulbright Scholar at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 2006. Following his Ph.D., he carried out post-doctoral research in the Cavendish laboratory at the University of Cambridge. Justin’s research program is focused on the development of molecular electronic materials for low-cost printable electronics – primarily solar cells. Recently, he has used laser spectroscopy to develop a detailed understanding of the physics of photocurrent generation in polymer solar cells and elucidate how power conversion efficiencies can be markedly improved. A second research focus is on DNA aptasensors. Through collaboration with biologists, Justin’s group are creating ultrasensitive and highly specific colorimetric and electronic sensors for biological targets, including hormones.

Will Charles


Board Member July 2016 – present
General Manager – Tech Dev, UniServices
University of Auckland

Will Charles has been General Manager Technology Development since 2005. During this time UniServices has transacted over 165 licensing deals, started 30 companies and raised over $50 million in venture and seed funding for these companies, and has successfully exited a number of these. He set up the TransTasman Commercialisation Fund, a A$30 million seed fund with four Australian Universities and sat on the Investment Committee of the fund. He is a director of a number of start-up companies. He also set up and is responsible for the direction of Return on Science which is part of the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Economic Development’s Commercialisation Partner Network. He has been a speaker at a number of international Technology Transfer events including the Association of Technology Managers in the US (AUTM) and BioEurope. Previously, Will has had extensive senior commercial experience in businesses in Europe, Asia and New Zealand where he has held executive positions at a number of companies including Novartis, GlaxoSmithKline, Roche, Celltech and Wolters Kluwer.


Board Member 2010 – present


Don Cleland is Professor of Process Engineering and Head of the School of Engineering and Advanced Technology, Massey University, Palmerston North. He has been based at Massey University for 25 years. He is currently Vice-President of the Science and Technology Council of the International Institute of Refrigeration (IIR) and is the immediate past-Chair of the NZ National Committee of the IIR. He is a trustee of the NZ Robotics Charitable Trust and a member of the Board of the Manawatu Cricket Association.  


Board Member July 2012 – present
GNS Science

Dr Ian Graham completed a BSc with first class honours in geology at the University of Otago in 1977, a MMinTech at the Otago School of Mines in 1978, and a PhD in geology at Victoria University in 1985. As an isotope geochemist and geochronologist, Dr Graham has for the past 27 years been involved in wide-ranging research on subjects as diverse as volcanism, chronostratigraphy, climate change, basement geology, concrete manufacture, geothermal energy, mineral resources, and nuclear physics. In late 2008 Ian changed his role from Principal Scientist and leader of the Mineral Wealth programme, to that of Director Research at GNS Science in Lower Hutt.  


Board Member March 2015 – present
Pro Vice Chancellor Science
University of Canterbury

Professor Wendy Lawson is the Pro Vice Chancellor of Science at the University of Canterbury. She is a glaciologist with a passion for fieldwork, and more than 30 years of experience of remote fieldwork in polar and alpine environments, including in Greenland, Svalbard, Alaska and Arctic Norway – as well as Antarctica. Her previous roles include Dean of Science and Head of Department of Geography at the University of Canterbury, and as an academic at the University of Auckland. She has a range of academic and Crown sector strategic science sector governance experience, including Ministerial appointments as a Board Director of NIWA and of Antarctica New Zealand. Her PhD is from the University of Cambridge, and her most recent qualification, awarded in 2008, is a Postgraduate Certificate in Public Administration from the University of Warwick Business School. One of her career highlights of which she is most proud is the naming of stream in Antarctica – Lawson Creek – in her honour in 1995.  


Board Member June 2017 – present
General Manager Sectors
Maori Economy and Programmes Callaghan Innovation



Board Member June 2017 – present
Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research and Enterprise)
University of Otago



Board Member September 2010 – present
Managing Director
VicLink Ltd

Dr Geoff Todd is currently CEO of Trinity Bioactives Ltd, a biotech services company and aside from Trinity am on the Boards of Im-Able Ltd (medical devices), VicLink Ltd (VUW), and Upper Hutt Health Centre (Primary care). He has worked in the field of commercializing technology since the mid 1980’s over a range of organizations, in particular IRL and been a direct participant in 5 new technology based company start ups.  


Board Member January 2014 – present
Pro Vice Chancellor
Victoria University of Wellington

Pro Vice-Chancellor & Dean Faculty of Science Pro Vice-Chancellor Faculty of Engineering Pro Vice-chancellor Faculty of Architecture & Design Victoria University of Wellington Professor Michael Wilson has a first-class degree in Natural Science from Cambridge University and a PhD in Physics, specialising in computational astrophysical fluid dynamics. He worked for many years at the University of Leeds, progressing from research fellow to Professor of Applied Mathematics. In 2001 Professor Wilson became Head of the School of Mathematics at Leeds and, in 2005, Dean of the Faculty of Mathematics and Physical Science.  He took up the position of Pro Vice-Chancellor of Science, Engineering and Architecture and Design and Dean of Science at Victoria University in July 2013. Over the course of his career, Professor Wilson’s research interests have included astrophysics, computational mathematics, industrial mathematics and computer-aided geometric and functional design. He has worked with international research partners from both industry and academia, with projects covering a wide variety of disciplines from aeronautical engineering to medicine.