John Humphreys – Chair, Australasian SKA & Big Data Consortium (ASKAIC), Australia

John Humphreys

Presentation at Computing for SKA 2014

SKA – Scientific Nirvana or Data-led Revolution?

John Humphreys, ASKAIC


SKA can be seen as an excellent global project to extend the boundaries of scientific-only endeavour, or as a catalyst for ‘step-jump’ innovation that is led by the Big Data story and the realisation of associated non-astronomy opportunities.  “What’s in it for industry” will be a significant segment of this talk.



John A. Humphreys is the Managing Director of the Global Innovation Centre, a knowledge-based organization focused on the development of new and emerging industries. An acknowledged international, national and regional cluster specialist, John has adopted a leadership role in the development of ‘frontier industries’ in Australia, anticipating new global and national trends. His multifaceted career has included the following:

Private Sector

  • Co-Founder & Managing Director of the Global Innovation Centre (2000-2013) and its predecessor, InterTech Management (1992-1999)
  • Chair of the Australian Dedicated Short Range Communications (DSRC) Cluster, to develop next-generation vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle to infrastructure communications (2008-2012)
  • Chair of the ITS in Rail Level Crossing Safety Steering Committee (2010 – 2011)
  • Secretariat for Austroads’ Cooperative ITS Industry Reference Group (2010 – 2011)
  • Chair of the Australasian SKA Industry Consortium (2005-2013), which includes the following roles:

– Sole Australian representative of the Engineering Organising Committee for the International SKA Forum 2011 (Banff, Canada)

  • Member of the COST (European Union) Steering Committee to evaluate non-science benefits from the SKA
  • Australian representative to develop bilateral industry relationships under an Australian-Italy (government) MOU relating to SKA
  • Member of the Industry Participation & Procurement Advisory Group (IPPAG) of the Australia and New Zealand SKA Coordination Committee
  • Invited international speaker/panelist to the “Connecting Science, Industry & Society” Workshop in the Netherlands (June 2010) & the International SKA Forum in Banff, Canada (July 2011)
  • Australian Consultant to the Australian Electrical and Electronic Manufacturers’ Association (AEEMA) including the role as National Industry Cluster specialist (2002-2008). In this role, he led the Australian Telematics Industry Initiative, from 2004 onwards, and was a member of the government-endorsed Strategic Leaders Group for the ICT/electronics industry in Australia.
  • Convenor of the Australian Industry Group’s Industry Cluster – Qld (2008)
  • Longer-term consultant to a Chinese multinational in next-generation telecommunications; a US supercomputer company; the Australian Nuclear Science & Technology organization and CSIRO
  • General Manager of Hong Kong Jockey Club’s Technology R&D Centre, Gold Coast (the Hong Kong Jockey Club is a billion-dollar plus enterprise – this was its only offshore site)

State Government

  • Executive Officer of the Queensland Science & Technology Council (late ‘80’s & early ’90’s), an industry advisory body advising the State Government Minister on science and technology in Qld.

Local Government

  • Regional Development Executive to Gold Coast City Council (through an alliance with the broader “Technology Quadrangle of South-East Qld” regional initiative). Initiated the “Pacific Innovation Corridor” precinct development approach aimed at diversifying the economic base of the Gold Coast region. Multi-million dollar development has now occurred within the precincts of that development.


  • Post-graduate lecturer (part-time), Griffith University, in the Masters’ Program “Engineering, Communication and Leadership” at both Nathan and Gold Coast campus sites (2009) and in the “Technology Management’ Masters Program at Nathan in the early 1990’s. PhD co-supervisor.

CSIRO (Australian Government)

  • Divisional Secretary, Inaugural Division of Information Technology in Australia, establishing offices in Sydney, Canberra & Melbourne

During his performance of the above inter-disciplinary and multi-dimensional roles, he has gained an in- depth understanding of a broad range of strategic issues impacting on the nation’s innovative capacity. John’s career has been characterized by the development of new growth industries in Australia and the bringing together of a wide range of public and private sector organizations in collaborative ventures. He has strong international connections through his private sector ventures.