Business Sydney | Randwick Health & Innovation Precinct

Has NSW got what it takes to be a leader in health innovation?

Health Innovation Forum & Lunch

Tuesday, 7 June 2022

12:00 PM - 2:15 PM



UNSW Lounge (Kensington Campus)



Business Sydney members and guests

The past two years of the pandemic have reinforced the public and business community’s recognition and respect for the value of an agile, responsive, well-funded and innovative health sector.

Australian companies and universities continue to develop ground-breaking, best in class scientific breakthroughs, medical products and designed health services that are exported internationally and have played a critical role in the response to public health issues and unmet medical needs.  

Partnerships between universities, health services, industry and government have already been shown to deliver better clinical outcomes to patients, while also supporting new jobs and economic opportunities.  NSW Government and university co-investment into targeted strategic opportunities such as the RNA Initiative are a strong model to follow, and NSW’s Health & Innovation Precincts represent a key means to precipitate effective collaboration and focus investment.

The Federal Government’s University Research Commercialisation Action Plan, with Medical Products being one of the six Manufacturing Priorities, presents a timely opportunity for Health & Innovation Precincts to realise their significant potential in this domain. There is a growing need for higher levels of early-stage investment and collaboration with private industry to pump-prime high-quality health technology inventions, develop competitive well-resourced R&D pipelines and generate biotechnology businesses that can thrive on the world stage. Ongoing support from state government will be critical to support and champion our local innovation ecosystems and health precincts.

At this forum our speakers unpacked these topics to better understand what can be done to accelerate and further our health care sector here and abroad.

Over 80 business leaders and health professionals attended this important event.

Event Partner

event gallery


  • Brooke Griffin - Executive Director, Randwick Health & Innovation Precinct | Welcome
  • Paul Nicolaou, Executive Director, Business Sydney | MC
  • Professor Attila Brungs, Vice-Chancellor & President, UNSW Sydney | Address
  • Peter Achterstraat AM, NSW Productivity Commissioner | Address
  • Panel | Has NSW Got what it takes to be a Leader in Health Innovation?


Dr Sherman Chan, Chief Economist, Business NSW (Moderator)

Professor Paula Bray – Research Director, Sydney Children’s Hospitals Network

Professor Vlado Perkovic - Dean of Medicine & Health

Adj A/Prof Phil Hayes-St Clair – CEO Drop Bio and Adjunct A/Prof Australian Graduate School of Management (AGSM)

Dr Stephen Palmer, Industry & Innovation Lead, Randwick Health & Innovation Precinct

Peter Achterstraat AM, NSW Productivity Commissioner

Speakers and Panelists


Vice-Chancellor and President of UNSW Sydney

Professor Brungs commenced his appointment on 31 January 2022, joining UNSW from his position as Vice-Chancellor and President of University of Technology Sydney (UTS) (2014 – 2021). He was Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Vice-President (Research), UTS (2009 – 2014). In November 2021, Professor Brungs was appointed Emeritus Professor and Emeritus Vice-Chancellor, UTS.

He is a distinguished academic and higher education leader with extensive experience in the government and corporate sectors. He has held senior roles with CSIRO and McKinsey & Company, and leadership roles and appointments including Chair of the Australian Technology Network of Universities, the NSW Vice-Chancellors’ Committee; and member of the Universities Australia Board, the Federal Government Sustainability Research Committee, the Committee for Sydney Board, the NSW Innovation and Productivity Council, and the Federal Government’s National University Precincts Advisory Committee.

Professor Brungs’ esteemed academic career commenced with undergraduate studies at UNSW, from which he graduated with a Bachelor of Science and the University Medal in Industrial Chemistry. He then went as a Rhodes Scholar to Oxford, attaining a Doctor of Philosophy in Inorganic Chemistry. In 2018, Professor Brungs was elected a Fellow of the Academy of Technology and Engineering for his research into heterogeneous catalysis and for his leadership in the higher education sector.

Professor Brungs’ fundamental belief that universities exist as a public good for the benefit of all drives his passion for higher education and research. He has been an ardent advocate of the contribution universities made to the COVID-19 response in Australia and globally, and for the critical role they will have in Australia’s recovery and growth in the coming years. He is a dedicated innovator who believes universities have the responsibility to prepare their students for the jobs of the future as well as to be instrumental in creating those opportunities.

The returning UNSW alumnus is excited about working with the UNSW community to further enhance the University’s reputation as a dynamic, progressive hub of education and research excellence. He is committed to harnessing the vast talents and ideas of students, staff, alumni, Council and partners to realise the UNSW vision to have a positive impact on the world around us.

Professor Brungs is keen to build on UNSW’s strong collaboration and research commercialisation credentials, finding more opportunities to partner with government, industry and other academic institutions to create real benefits for Australia and for communities around the world.

Professor Brungs is honoured to have returned to UNSW to lead the University in its mission to improve lives globally, through innovative research, transformative education and a commitment to a just society.

Peter Achterstraat AM

NSW Productivity Commissioner

Peter Achterstraat AM has been NSW Productivity Commissioner since 2018. Mr Achterstraat was the NSW Auditor-General from 2006 to 2013 and served in other roles, including as the Chief Commissioner of State Revenue and Deputy Commissioner of Taxation at the Australian Tax Office.

He was the president of the Australian Institute of Company Directors (NSW Division) from 2014 to 2020 and is currently the Chair of the Sydney Financial Forum. He has also served as an adjunct professor at the University of Sydney’s Graduate School of Government and held the positions of infrastructure adviser for Advisian and the Administrator of the National Health Funding Pool.

Peter holds an Honours degree in economics as well as degrees in law and commerce from the Australian National University. He was awarded the Australian Finance Conference prize for Company Finance, and the PricewaterhouseCoopers prize for Accounting. In 2006, he was inducted into the Australian National University College of Business and Economics' Hall of Fame.

Peter is a Barrister of the Supreme Court of NSW and is a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in Australia, CPA Australia, Fellow of Chartered Secretaries Australia, and the Institute of Public Administration Australia.

Dr Paula Bray 

Acting Director of Research for the Sydney Children’s Hospitals Network

Dr Paula Bray is the Acting Director of Research for the Sydney Children’s Hospitals Network. Paula brings experience across executive, clinical and research environments. Paula is focused on improving clinical care through translating discoveries into practice and advancing towards a vision of a research-enabled organisation. Paula completed her Ph.D in paediatric muscle disease and continues to research measurement science and improving clinical care and rehabilitation management for children with nerve and muscle disease. 

ProfESSOR Vlado Perkovic

Dean, UNSW Medicine & Health

Vlado Perkovic is Dean of Medicine & Health and Scientia Professor at UNSW, a Professorial Fellow at The George Institute, Australia, and a Staff Specialist in Nephrology at the Royal North Shore Hospital. His research focus is in clinical trials and epidemiology, in particular in preventing the progression of kidney disease and its complications. He leads several major international clinical trials. He serves on the Board of St Vincent’s Health Australia as well as those of several independent Medical Research Institutes.

Vlado holds a Doctor of Philosophy from the University of Melbourne and completed his undergraduate training at The Royal Melbourne Hospital. He is a Fellow of the Royal Australasian College of Physicians, of the Australian Academy of Health and Medical Sciences and of the American Society of Nephrology.

ADJ A/PROF Phil Hayes-St Clair 

CEO, Drop Bio Health and Adjunct Professor,  Australian Graduate School of Management (AGSM)

Phil Hayes-St Clair is an entrepreneur determined to change the way humans engage with their health and wellbeing. Phil is Co-Founder and CEO at Drop Bio Health, a company pioneering longitudinal digital healthcare based in Sydney, Australia.

He received a BSc (Immunology) from the Queensland University of Technology and an MBA from the University of New South Wales. Under Phil’s leadership, Drop Bio Health has built a world-class multi-disciplinary team, clinical product development partnerships and a product platform that is fueling entry and growth into the women’s health, mental health and wellness markets. 

In addition to helping Drop Bio Health realise its mission of accelerating the world’s transition to personalised, preventative health, Phil is an educator and a fierce advocate for equality and women’s health. He is currently a Global Ambassador for Inspiring Rare Birds and an Adjunct Professor at the Australian Graduate School of Management (AGSM). 

Prior to co-founding Drop in 2018, Phil founded consumer technology businesses in audio recognition (AirShare), apparel (Be In Motion), philanthropy (HSC&Co) and helped grow a global ad-free news platform (inkl).

From 2001 to 2008, Phil held various roles in strategy, product management and marketing in ASX20 companies after completing service as a rifleman in the Australian Army.

Phil is a keynote speaker in digital health, women’s health and well being and has represented Australia on the men’s triathlon team. 


Randwick Health & Innovation Precinct Industry & Innovation Lead

As the Randwick Health & Innovation Precinct Industry & Innovation Lead, Steve works collaboratively with Precinct Partners to lead the development of collaborative health technology innovation, industry engagement opportunities and Precinct strategy for industry and innovation. After completing his PhD at University College London, Steve spent over twenty five years in academic medical research at The Institute of Cancer Research in London, Walter and Eliza Hall Institute, Victor Chang Cardiac Research Institute, Children’s Medical Research Institute and UNSW, four years in commercial biotechnology with Kazia Therapeutics and two years in technology transfer at UNSW Knowledge Exchange before taking up his current role. Originally trained as a specialist in molecular genetics and the use of genetically modified animals and cells to understand and model human disease, he has acquired skills in commercial health technology R&D, intellectual property management and business development.


Chief Economist, Business NSW

Sherman joined Business NSW in March 2022. In her role as Chief Economist, she drives strategic policy research and builds the important evidence base for subsequent advocacy directions. She manages the quarterly Business Conditions Survey – the flagship research project that generates insights into business sentiment across key industries in NSW.

Sherman has been a Lecturer at UNSW since 2014. Proficient in both macroeconomics and microeconomics, she specialises in government policy evaluation, impact measurement and cost-benefit analysis.

Sherman has experience in government, banking and consulting.

Prior to joining Business NSW, she was a Senior Manager at MinterEllison’s consulting practice. This followed a six-year stint in NSW Government with agencies including NSW Treasury and the Audit Office of NSW where she led large-scale and complex program evaluations and performance audits.

Sherman’s journey as an economist also includes working at Moody’s Analytics and HSBC in Hong Kong during the Global Financial Crisis, covering economies and financial markets across the Asia-Pacific region.

Having commenced her career at the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority, Sherman has a strong research interest in bank lending. Her PhD thesis also examined the challenges faced by banks in meeting regulatory requirements and satisfying customer demand for credit.   

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