UK / Australia – Higher Education Sector Roundtable

Date 21.09.2021
Time 6:00pm (AEST), 9:00am (GMT)
Location Online
Date: 21.09.2021 Time: 6:00pm (AEST)
Date: 21.09.2021 Time: 9:00am (GMT)


The UK/ Australia Season will explore our relationship across the arts, creative industries, research, and higher education. Collectively, we hope to gain a deeper understanding about where we have come from, who we are now, and where we can go together. It is also a chance to deepen relationships in business, higher education and government at a time of incredible potential and change.

The Higher Education Roundtable kicks off the Season by bringing together UK and Australia Higher Education Sector leaders and academics to explore the value of international research collaboration as we strive towards a post-pandemic world.

Listen to the esteemed panel of speakers share their views and respond to audience questions.



  • David Gonski AC
    David is Chancellor of the University of New South Wales, President of the Art Gallery of NSW Trust, Chairman of Sydney Airport Limited Board, Non-Executive Chairman of Barrenjoey Capital Partners Group Holdings Pty Limited, and Chairman of the UNSW Foundation Ltd. He is a member of the Board of the Lowy Institute for International Policy, a non-executive Member of LeapFrog Investment’s Global Leadership Council, a Patron of the Australian Indigenous Education Foundation and Raise Foundation and a Founding Panel Member of Adara Partners.
    He was previously Chairman of the Australia and New Zealand Banking Group Ltd, Chair of the Review to Achieve Educational Excellence in Australian Schools for the Commonwealth Government of Australia. He was also a member of the Takeovers Panel, the ASIC External Advisory Panel and Director of Singapore Airlines Limited, the Westfield Group and Singapore Telecommunications Limited, Chairman of Coca-Cola Amatil Ltd, the Australian Securities Exchange Ltd, the Sydney Theatre Company, the Guardians of the Future Fund, the Australia Council for the Arts, the Board of Trustees of Sydney Grammar School and Investec Bank (Australia) Ltd.

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    Maddalaine Ansell joined the British Council as Director Education in November 2018.  Prior to this she was Chief Executive of University Alliance, a mission group representing professional and technical universities.  Before this she worked for 15 years as a Civil Servant with stints in the Treasury, Number 10, the Home Office and the then Department for Business, Innovation and Skills.  She began her career as a corporate lawyer, working for both Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer and Sullivan & Cromwell.

    Maddalaine leads the Global Education Strategy and Portfolio working collaboratively with colleagues in British Council offices across the world and with HMG, the Devolved Administrations and the Higher Education Sector.

  • Vivienne Stern  is the Director of Universities UK International (UUKi) which represents UK universities around the world and works to enable them to flourish internationally.

    Vivienne has over 20 years’ experience of working in higher education policy and politics at national and international level. Prior to her role in UUKi, Vivienne was Head of Political Affairs at Universities UK, and led the sector’s response to several major pieces of legislation relating to universities. Before that she worked for the Chair of the House of Commons Education Select Committee, and as policy specialist working on topics including quality, student experience, innovation and university-business links.

    She is a graduate of the University of Cambridge, where she studied English Literature.​

  • Catriona Jackson is Chief Executive and a Board Director of Universities Australia, the peak body representing Australia’s university sector. Catriona is a highly experienced advocate and has extensive experience in the policy making process. Prior to this appointment, she served as UA’s Deputy Chief Executive leading the policy team in developing sectoral policy. Previously Catriona was CEO of Science and Technology Australia, press secretary and senior advisor to a federal government cabinet minister, director of government relations and communication at ANU, and a newspaper and radio journalist. Catriona sits on a range of Government committees including on foreign interference, research assessment and bilateral relations. Catriona is an outstanding communicator who is held in strong regard in higher education, politics and the media

  • Professor Duncan Maskell is the 20th Vice-Chancellor of the University of Melbourne, a role he commenced in October 2018.

    Professor Maskell is a research specialist in infectious diseases, and previously held professorial and leadership roles at the University of Cambridge. In a distinguished academic career, he has published more than 250 research papers on bacterial infections in livestock and people and was elected a Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences.

    An active entrepreneur, Professor Maskell has been co-founder of four biotech companies, including Arrow Therapeutics Ltd and Discuva Ltd. Professor Maskell has recently been appointed to CSL Limited as an independent Non-executive Director.

  • Dr Joanna Newman MBE FRSA is Chief Executive and Secretary General of the Association of Commonwealth Universities (ACU) – an international organisation dedicated to building a better world through higher education, with more than 500 member universities in over 50 countries.

    Joanna’s career has been in the service of British and international higher education. Before joining the ACU, she was Vice-Principal (International) at King’s College London; Director of the UK Higher Education International Unit (now known as Universities UK International); and Head of Higher Education at the British Library. She is a Senior Research Fellow in History at King’s College London. Her most recent publication is Nearly the New World: The British West Indies and the Flight from Nazism, 1933-1945. In 2014, Joanna was awarded an MBE in recognition of her work promoting British higher education internationally.

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    Leighton Ernsberger is the Director Education and English for the British Council in East Asia. Leighton has 17 years working on Higher Education and Skills policy in the UK, South Asia and East Asia. He started with the British Council in India in 2014 and has been in Singapore since 2019. He has worked closely with the Government, Asian Development Bank, European Union and UK partners implement Skills reform programmes in India and Nepal and Higher Education in South East Asia. Prior to working with the British Council he worked with the Education Skills Funding Agency in the on qualification and apprenticeship reform.

    Leighton is a graduate of the Institute of Education, University College London where he studied Educational Planning, International Development and Economics.