New ACDS Executive Director – Dr Tony Willis

Dr Tony Willis

We are delighted to welcome and introduce you to Dr Tony Willis who has commenced as the Executive Director of the Australian Council of Deans of Science (ACDS).

Tony has significant experience of working at the intersection of science, strategic policy, higher education and research, and has expertise in research funding, strategy and evaluation.

He was a Senior Executive in the Australian Public Service for many years, working in diverse agencies including the Office of the Gene Technology Regulator, Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, and the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet.

Tony is the only Senior Executive to have served in both of Australia’s major research funding Councils – the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) and the Australian Research Council (ARC). He led and managed the delivery of much of NHMRC’s research grant program, and developed peer review policy for, and implementation of NHMRC’s ‘new grant program’. He also led NHMRC initiatives on research impact, quality, integrity and ethics. He was the Executive General Manager at the Australian Research Council (ARC) for over two years where his responsibilities included overseeing the Commonwealth’s national research evaluation programs, ERA and EI, and leading key ARC corporate functions.

On leaving the ARC, Tony established Tony Willis Consulting ( to provide strategic advice and assistance in navigating Australia’s research ecosystem. The consultancy leverages Tony’s experience in strategic policy, deep understanding of higher education and research policy, strong people skills, and network of professional relationships.

Tony has a PhD from the Australian National University and held post-doctoral research fellowships at Imperial College and at CSIRO.

Tony will provide leadership, influence, advice and support to the ACDS executive, University Science Faculties, Government, and Industry, and work closely with key partners and stakeholders across the Higher Education sector.

Tony commenced on the 1st of October and is looking forward to meeting members at the October 24-25 Annual Conference and AGM in Canberra.