Vic Drought Hub - Farmland 7
Michael Tausz
Professor Michael TauszDirector

Throughout his career in research and academia, Michael investigated how crops and trees, and the related agro and forest ecosystems adapt to changing and challenging environments.

Having worked in three different countries, learn more about our Director.

Vili Iese 2022
Dr Viliamu Iese (Vili) Associate Director – Drought Resilience

Te'o Lau Dr Viliamu Iese has a long career across climate-change adaptation and disaster risk management (both extreme and slow onset events), with skills and expertise in sustainable agriculture, food-system resilience, climate change and its effect on agriculture, agro-biodiversity and developing resilience of communities and industries.

Read more about this Samoan chief – denoted by the title “Te'o Lau” –  who holds a PhD in Climate Change from the Pacific Centre for Environment and Sustainable Development, and has 52+ peer-reviewed publications to his name.

Anita Chennell
Anita ChennellOperations Manager

Anita has a background in agriculture and extensive experience engaging with Victoria's regional communities.

Read more about our Hub Operations Manager, including returning full circle to Dookie, here.

Peter Fisher-LR
Dr Peter FisherVictoria Soil Co-ordinator

Peter has extensive experience of working in drought-related regions, including Africa, Latin America and closer to home in Western Australia. Read more about our Victoria Soils Co-ordinator here.

Rebecca Lester
Professor Rebecca LesterKnowledge-Broker (Lead), Vic Hub + Director for Centre for Regional and Rural Futures, Deakin University

Rebecca leads the small, expert team of Knowledge-Brokers who combine scientific and communications expertise for the Vic Hub. Read more about Rebecca and her expertise in integrating knowledge to create new understanding here.

Fiona - Headshots
Fiona BestRegional Director, Vic Hub + CEO of BCG
Fiona has worked internationally supporting the delivery of agricultural research to farming communities, and been recognised nationally for her communication and agricultural extension skills. Read more about the Hub’s Regional Director here.
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Samantha SchellingSocial Media & Communications

Sam joined the Vic Hub in October 2022, as part of the Hub’s expansion. Since graduating from Dookie Agricultural College with a Bachelor of Applied Science (Agriculture), her career has focused around the two things she adores: agriculture and communications.

Aside from her love of Australian ag, dictionaries, kelpies and cheese, see more about who leads our Social Media & Communications .

Emma O'Halloran
Emma O'HalloranAdmin Assistant

Emma has just joined the expanding Vic Hub as our Admin Assistant.

She comes to the Hub with a career background in property-law administration, along with a range of diverse administration roles that have allowed her to build a proactive, efficient work approach.

Come back to find out more about this waterfall-chasing, Lindt-chocolate loving admin whiz, who also volunteers on a Perendale Stud Farm at Goughs Bay in her spare time.

(Emma also works one day a week with NorVicFoods, co-located with the Vic Hub at Melbourne Uni’s Dookie Campus.)

Innovation Broker

This position is currently vacant

Associate Director – Drought Resilience, Te’o Lau Dr Viliamu Iese

Vili has conducted research and published widely in the field of risk resilience in agriculture, impacts of droughts and extreme events on food security and...

Director, Michael Tausz

With a PhD in plant science from the University of Graz, Austria, Michael spent the first years of his academic career at that university, with...

Knowledge-Broker (Lead), Vic Hub + Director for Centre for Regional and Rural Futures, Deakin University – Prof Rebecca Lester

Rebecca’s scientific background is in managing aquatic ecosystems, including the intersection with ecological theory, autecology, related disciplines (e.g. hydrology and geomorphology) and the social and...

Operations Manager, Anita Chennell

Anita’s appointment to the Vic Drought & Innovation Hub in November 2021, sees her returning full circle to Dookie, having graduated from Melbourne University, Dookie...

Regional Director, Vic Hub – Fiona Best

Heavily invested in creating vibrant rural communities, Fiona is community minded and sits on the Mallee Regional Partnership as well as numerous community committees. As...

Social Media & Communications, Samantha Schelling

Before joining the Hub, our Social Media & Communications lead worked for small family-owned businesses, not-for-profits and large corporations, as a journalist, marketing & comms...

Victoria Soils Co-ordinator, Dr Peter Fisher

As Victoria Soils Co-ordinator, Peter brings to the Hub extensive experience in leading multi-disciplinary research for improving farming systems, for both production and environmental outcomes....
Vic Drought Hub - Farmland 7