Steering Committee

The MNF Steering Committee assists the CSIRO Board to fulfil its governance responsibilities by providing high level advice on the ongoing delivery of ocean research capabilities for the nation.


The Director of the Marine National Facility (MNF) manages the delivery of the MNF to its users. The Director is employed by CSIRO and, through the Executive Director for Digital, National Facilities and Collections, is ultimately responsible to the Chief Executive, CSIRO. The MNF is subject to CSIRO governance structures and policies.

The independent Marine National Facility Steering Committee (MNF SC) provides high-level advice to the MNF Director.  MNF SC members also act as advocates for the MNF. The Committee is charged with providing advice to the MNF Director consistent with CSIRO’s ongoing delivery of ocean research capabilities for the nation and with advocacy on behalf of the MNF.

Operational procedures are consistent with the principles set out in the Guidelines For The Operation Of National Research Facilities report to the Prime Minister by the Australian Science and Technology Council (ASTEC), January 1984.

The MNF SC is supported in performing these functions by two independent sub-committees: Research Advisory Committee and National Benefit Advisory Committee.

For further information about the MNF SC, including delineation of its role, view the MNF SC Charter and Terms of Reference.


Dr Sue Barrell, BSc(Hons), PhD, FTSE, Chair

Dr Sue Barrell FTSE is passionate about the application of science to delivering highly valued outcomes for Australians, and is a committed advocate for empowering girls and women to take up science careers. Following a long career at the Bureau of Meteorology - Australia's national weather, climate and water agency - Sue retired in August 2018 from her final role as Chief Scientist. Her experience spanned roles across many of the Bureau's operations, from forecasting to research to science and climate change policy to Senior Executive.

Sue has been actively involved in international efforts in relation to climate policy and the coordination and integration of earth observations, including through the Global Climate Observing System, the Intergovernmental Group on Earth Observations, the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Sue was Australia's Principal Representative to the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) and a member of WMO Executive Council during 2016-17, and served as Vice President, WMO Commission for Basic Systems from 2008 to 2016. She contributes to and leads several high-level WMO initiatives, and serves on several boards and advisory committees.

Sue was recognised as a Fellow of the Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering (ATSE) in 2013, and is a Graduate member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors. She has a BSc(Hons) in Physics and a PhD in Astronomy. In July 2017, Sue was recognised as a Science and Technology Australia Inaugural Superstar of STEM.

Mr Gary Prosser, Member

Mr Gary Prosser has 40 years’ experience in the maritime industry, coming from a seagoing career serving on a wide variety of Australian ships in both the international and domestic trades. He was part of the inaugural intake to the Australian Maritime College in 1980 and later went on to lecture at the College.

For a number of years Gary managed offshore supply vessel operations in Bass Strait prior to moving to Tasmania where he headed up the Polar Division of an international organisation managing the Antarctic and Marine Science Vessels for the Australian Antarctic Divisoin and the CSIRO.

Initalling joinging the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) in 1997, Gary held a variety of senior management roles and was appointed as Deputy Chief Executive Officer in 2007. In 2009, Gary was appointed as Secretary General to the International Organization for Marine Aids to Navigation headquartered in Paris, France, prior to returning to AMSA in 2015 and retiring in 2019. He was appointed a Commissioner of the Australian Transport Safety Bureau in October 2019.

In addition to his maritime qualifications, Gary has a Bachelor of Education degree and is a member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors. 

Professor Martina Doblin, Member 
Biological Oceanographer and Professor at the University of Technology Sydney

Professor Martina Doblin (PhD) has investigated marine systems for more than 20 years and is internationally recognised for her expertise in ocean change biology. Her research focusses on advancing our understanding of the responses of photosynthetic microbes to contemporary ocean change—fundamental knowledge needed to manage marine food security.

Martina has collaborated with over 15 government, industry and non-profit organisations in North America and Australia, translating her scientific research into policy and practice for numerous aquatic industries. She has extensive experience as a Chief Scientist on board oceanographic vessels, having delivered successful research outcomes on both government and commercial ships since 2002.

She is a former member of the College of Experts at the Australian Research Council, providing advice on the assessment of research excellence. From 2013 to 2016 Martina led the NSW node of Australia’s Integrated Marine Observing System (IMOS), a community of >100 high calibre Australian marine researchers and was responsible for its strategic research direction, including securing future funding.

Ms Kim Picard, Member (Ex-officio)
Deputy Chair, National Marine Science Committee

Ms Kim Picard is a passionate marine geoscientist with Geoscience Australia since 2012. Over her 20 years career, she has worked for three international geological surveys where she has occupied technical through to leadership roles and has sailed on over 30 multi-disciplinary expeditions around the globe. Her research focuses on using seabed mapping techniques to understand the processes that shape the seafloor across a wide range of marine environments.

Kim is the deputy-chair of Australia's National Marine Science Committee and is chair of the Steering Committee of AusSeabed, the national seabed mapping coordination program, which she proudly contributed to building. AusSeabed brings together government, industry and academic representatives to improve the quality, awareness, discoverability and accessibility of seabed mapping in Australia. As part of AusSeabed and her passion for seabed mapping, Kim works closely with the international community and programs, such GEBCO – Nippon Foundation Seabed2030 and GeoHab, to raise the profile of seabed mapping and marine geology globally.

Vacant, Member (Ex-officio)
Chief Scientist, Australian Antarctic Division (AAD)

The AAD Chief Scientist is an ex-officio member of the Steering Committee. A proxy will attend MNF SC meetings until a permanent appointment is announced by the AAD.

Dr David Williams, Member (Ex-officio)
Executive Director, Digital, National Facilities and Collections

Dr David Williams leads the data-focused research, development and digital capability of CSIRO, and is a member of the Executive Team. He has stewardship of a range of business lines and national facilities including Astronomy and Space Science, the Australia Telescope National Facility, Marine National Facility, Australian Animal Health Laboratory, Australian Collections, Information, Management and Technology and Data 61.

David also leads National Biological Collections and major national infrastructure. CSIRO hosts the National Research Infrastructure on behalf of the scientific community to assist with the delivery of research, including:

  • Marine Research Vessel
  • Pawsey Supercomputer
  • Australian National Insect Collection
  • Australian National Herbarium
  • Australian National Wildlife Collection
  • Australian Tree Seed Centre
  • Australian National Fish Collection
  • Australian National Algal Culture Collection
  • ATLAS of Living Australia

Prior to joining CSIRO in 2014, David was Chairman of the European Space Agency (ESA), leading the 20-nation council executive body that oversaw the ESA. During this same period he was also Chief Executive of the United Kingdom Space Agency responsible for developing the strategic vision for UK space, securing bilateral arrangements with various countries, and establishing national facilities in Harwell, England.

During 2005 – 2010 he served as Director General of the UKSA’s forerunner body, the British National Space Centre (BNSC), where he transitioned the National Space Centre into an agency structure and was Head of the UK Delegation to ESA.

His earlier experience includes 10 years as Head of Strategy and International Relations with the European Organisation for the Exploitation of Meteorological Satellites and work with the UK Natural Environment Research Council, industry and academia.

David holds a BSc degree and a PhD from the University of Reading, served as a Member of the Global Climate Observing Committee, was elected Member of the International Academy for Astronautics in 2012, and is now a non executive director of AARNET.