Our board

The GRDC Board is established under the Primary Industries Research and Development Act 1989 (PIRD Act) and operates in accordance with the requirements set out in the PIRD Act and the Public Governance Performance and Accountability Act 2013. The GRDC Board is accountable to the Australian Parliament, through the Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources, and to Australia’s grain growers through the organisations appointed under the PIRD Act as the grains industry’s representative organisations. The GRDC Board has between seven and nine directors.

The Chairman is selected and appointed by the Minister.

The Managing Director is appointed by the GRDC Board.

The Board Charter sets out the responsibilities and processes of the GRDC Board, including the code of conduct for directors.

The GRDC Board periodically commissions an external review of its performance. A review was completed in March 2017.



Image of Mr John Woods

Mr John Woods BAppSc, MAICD

Chair (Non-executive)

New South Wales/Queensland

Appointed: 8 March 2012 to 30 September 2017

Appointed as Chair:
First term - 1 October 2016 to 30 September 2019
Second term - 1 October 2019 to 30 September 2022

John is partner and manager of a broadacre agribusiness based in northern New South Wales and southern Queensland. He has responsibility for all business aspects, including financial management, production and crop husbandry, marketing and logistics, resource management and work health and safety. He is also Chair of R&R Hire Services in Queensland.

John has a history of working collaboratively with a range of public and private organisations in the development, extension and adoption of new technology.

He was Chairman of the Science Advisory Group of the National Agricultural Monitoring System (NAMS) between 2005 and 2009, and a member of the NAMS Advisory Reference Group and Steering Committee. He also spent six years, to 2005, on the National Rural Advisory Council.

John was Chairman of ChemCert Training Queensland from 2002 to 2004 and has held positions with Cotton Australia and Farmsafe Queensland.


Image of Sharon Starick

Sharon Starick

Director (Non-executive)

South Australia

Appointed: 30 November, 2018

A grain and pork producer from South Australia, Sharon Starick has combined primary production interests with conservation and natural resource management. Sharon is highly active on and off the farm in a range of areas including senior roles in natural resource management and has worked as a Landcare officer with PIRSA, executive officer to three Soil Conservation Boards and the Soil Boards CARE Committee. Sharon has served on the Mallee Sustainable Farming Board, Pork Industry Development Board, Natural Resource Management Council and Community Advisory Committee for the Murray-Darling Basin Ministerial Council. She is a graduate of the Murray-Darling Basin Leadership Program and the AICD CDC.


Image of Dr Helen Garnett

Dr Helen Garnett PSM, BSc (Hons), PhD, FTSE, FAICD

Director (Non-executive)

Northern Territory

Appointed: 4 November 2014, reappointed to 30 September 2020

Helen is an accomplished director and leader, building on an earlier research career, including with the agriculture industry, in pathogenesis and the development of diagnostics. She was awarded the Public Service Medal (2004) and the Centenary Medal (2000) for scientific and institutional leadership.

Helen is Chair of Generator Property Management. She is a non-executive director of Sugar Research Australia, the National Centre for Vocational Education Research, the Crawford Fund, Developing East Arnhem, and the Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory.

Helen was previously Chair of the Australian Biosecurity Intelligence Network and Delta Electricity; a non-executive director of the Grape and Wine Research and Development Corporation; a director of Energy Resources of Australia Ltd, Carbon Energy Limited, and ABM Resources; Vice-Chancellor of Charles Darwin University; and Chief Executive of the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation.


Image of Ms Roseanne Healy

Ms Roseanne Healy BA(Econ), MBA, MBR(Com), GAICD

Director (Non-executive)

South Australia

Appointed: 4 November 2014, reappointed to 30 September 2020

Roseanne has over 20 years of corporate advisory experience and expertise in strategy, investment analysis, due diligence and corporate governance; starting her career as an economics and market research analyst with a number of Australia’s ASX 200.  Later; a tribunal member for the Office of Consumer and Business Affairs (South Australia) and CEO of SA Great, she influenced South Australia’s economic credentials for investment attraction, spanning agriculture, aquaculture, food and wine, technology and infrastructure.

Roseanne is Chair of Vinehealth Australia, Dairysafe and Peninsula Leisure Pty Ltd and a non-executive director of Airborne Research Australia Ltd, Enterprise Corporation Pty Ltd, GP Partners Australia and Nyamba Buru Yawuru Ltd.

Previously a director of the Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation, Great Artesian Oil & Gas Ltd, Maximus Resources, Marmota Energy Ltd, Tidewater Funds Management Ltd and HomeStart Finance.


Image of Ms Dianne Agnus

Ms Dianne Angus BSc (Ed), BSc (Hons), M Biotech, Grad Dip IP, MAICD

Director (Non-executive)


Appointed: 1 October 2017 to 30 September 2020

Dianne has worked as an executive within the biotechnology industry for over twenty years. She has held senior positions including management of the Joint Venture alliance between Florigene (Aust) and Suntory (Japan) to yield and commercialise floricultural products and as Chief Operating Officer of Prana Biotechnology to design and develop novel neurological agents.

Dianne’s career is marked by her passion to build competitive product portfolios, through investment in innovative research to end stage product commercialisation. She has created global industry - academic partnerships to yield novel and competitive medical, pharmaceutical and agricultural product candidates.

Dianne has negotiated many commercial licenses and product development agreements, with entities ranging from large pharmaceutical and agrichemical companies to numerous global research institutes. With over fifteen years’ experience in an ASX and NASDAQ listed company, she has expertise in business development, regulatory, intellectual property and finance, together with strong corporate governance and compliance capabilities.


Image of Dr Chris Blanchard

Professor Chris Blanchard BAppSci (Hons I), PhD

Director (Non-executive)

New South Wales

Appointed: 1 October 2017 to 30 September 2020

Chris has had a long association with the grains industry and GRDC. Chris completed a GRDC funded PhD in Plant Molecular Biology/Virology, he then went on to complete the Australian Rural Leadership Program as a GRDC sponsored participant.

Chris has spent more than twenty years leading various research projects aimed at increasing the profitability of grain production. Currently, he leads an Australian Research Council Research Centre focused on research that aims to transform the Australian grains industry. Additionally he is involved in research aimed at improving outcomes for farmers in developing countries.

Chris has served on various industry and academic committees including the GrainGrowers Ltd policy group and the International Year of the Pulse National Committee. He also served as Chair of the RACI Cereal Chemistry Division for two years. He is a currently a member of the Australian Academy of Sciences National Committee for Agriculture, Fisheries.


Image of Mr Richard Heath

Mr Richard Heath BSc (Hons) GAICD

Director (Non-executive)

New South Wales

Appointed: 1 October 2017 to 30 September 2020

Richard grew up on a family farm on the Liverpool Plains in North West NSW. He managed the cropping operations of the farm for nearly two decades. Crops grown included wheat, barley, chickpeas, faba beans, canola, sorghum, sunflowers, mung beans and cotton. Richard has been an early adopter of new farming technologies and travelled on a Nuffield Scholarship in 2003 researching precision applications of fertiliser.

Richard was appointed the Executive Director of the Australian Farm Institute in May 2018. Prior to this, he was General Manager of Research for the AFI, responsible for carrying out research projects and compiling reports on a broad range of farm and agriculture related issues. Before joining AFI in 2016 Richard was Associate Professor of Agronomy and Farm Management at the University of Sydney responsible for management of the Universities North West farms group including the Plant Breeding Institute at Narrabri. Richard was a member of the Northern Panel of the GRDC from 2005 – 2011 and was a director of Nuffield Australia Farming Scholars from 2011 – 2017.


Image of Dr Stephen Powles

Professor Stephen Powles BSc, MSc, PhD, FAA, FTSE

Director (Non-executive)

Western Australia

Appointed: 1 October 2017 to 30 September 2020

Stephen has an international reputation in herbicide resistance, weed and crop science. Originally from a dairy farming region of NSW he was educated at Tocal and Hawkesbury Agricultural Colleges then in the US and Europe. He developed and led large research programs at the Waite Agricultural Research Institute and University of Western Australia.

Stephen is a Fellow of both the Australian Academy of Science and the Australian Academy of Technology & Engineering and received the Australian Centenary Medal for his service to plant production. He has interests in a broad-acre cropping farm in the great southern region of WA. Stephen was Managing Director of the Australian Weed Management CRC, Director of the Australian Herbicide Resistance Initiative, Chair of GTTAC and a WANTFA Board Member.


The Board has three committees:

Audit and Risk Committee — assists the Board in fulfilling its corporate governance responsibilities and reviews the GRDC's:

  • financial reporting process
  • internal control system
  • risk management strategy and processes
  • internal and external audits
  • process for monitoring compliance with laws and regulations and the Board’s code of conduct
  • financial statements.

Remuneration, People and Performance Committee – reviews and makes recommendations to the Board on matters relating to:

  • the recruitment, remuneration, development, performance and retention policies of GRDC including strategic workforce planning and organisational development
  • a performance culture
  • the selection, remuneration and performance of the Managing Director
  • the development and performance of the Board.

Commercial Committee — reviews, evaluates and makes recommendations to the Board and management on matters relating to:

  • the strategic oversight of the GRDC in regard to its planning processes related to the integration of research, development, commercialisation and adoption processes
  • the commercial and R&D interaction between the GRDC and the private sector, including R&D partnerships, commercial structures and other joint ventures
  • the development of draft policies regarding ownership of project intellectual property, risk-sharing and licensing conditions with research and commercialisation partners to assist with the adoption of the results of R&D
  • corporate governance and risk management in the area of commercialisation and adoption of the results of R&D, including oversight of the GRDC’s role and investments in companies that undertake such commercialisation and adoption
  • intellectual property management, protection and enforcement as necessary for the commercialisation of the results of R&D.