People

Vic Drought Hub - Farmland 7
People
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.

Teo Lau Dr Vili Iese
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.

Dr George Cunningham
Dr George CunninghamKnowledge Broker

As well as being one of the Vic Hub’s Knowledge Brokers, George is a post-doctoral researcher in the QAEL at Deakin University. Read more about one of our Knowledge Brokers.

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.
SS June 2023 IMG 2875
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 joined the expanding Vic Hub as our Admin Assistant in January 2023.

She brings 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.

Read more about this waterfall-chasing, Lindt-chocolate loving admin whiz, who also volunteers on a Perendale stud farm at Goughs Bay, near Lake Eildon, in her spare time.

Bow SouterInnovation Broker

Bow joined the Vic Hub in mid-October 2023. His interest in legislative compliance around safety and the environment, as well as agricultural and natural systems management, suits him perfectly to his role. Read more about our Innovation Broker.

Administration Assistant, Emma O’Halloran

Beginning her full-time professional career in legal administration in 2014, Emma gained valuable experience and knowledge working in fast-paced, critical situations that provided her with...

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...

Innovation Broker, Bow Souter

Before joining the Vic Hub, Bow’s most recent role was as a Climate Change Officer in Victoria’s Strathbogie Ranges. It’s a role that equipped him...

Knowledge Broker, Dr George Cunningham

George’s scientific background is as an evolutionary and behavioural ecologist, with a focus on the importance of variation within and among populations, and how these...

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...
Vic Drought Hub - Farmland 7