Martin Ferguson, the former Australian Resources and Energy Minister, has today been announced as the new chairman of UCL’s Australia board.
David Travers, UCL’s Australia campus chief executive, says Mr Ferguson’s appointment is a coup for the university.
“Martin Ferguson is unique in being well regarded by both sides of the political divide and respected by industry and government,” Mr Travers says.
“This has been evidenced in recent months with Mr Ferguson joining British Gas as a non-executive director and drawing praise from the Prime Minister about his thinking on improving resource sector productivity.”
Mr Ferguson, who lives in Melbourne, retired at last September’s Federal election, after 17 years in the Australian Parliament. He is in London this week and yesterday visited UCL’s main Bloomsbury campus in central London.
“I am delighted to be joining UCL as its Australian board chairman. UCL is one of the world’s top five universities and its research in Australia is focused squarely in the minerals, energy and natural resources areas.
“I think Australia in general, and South Australia in particular, can better exploit UCL’s international connections and this is an area I’m keen to direct the board’s effort towards.”
Mr Ferguson was President of the ACTU from 1990-1996, the year he was elected to Parliament in the Victorian seat of Batman.
Mr Travers says UCL approached Mr Ferguson earlier this year after the retirement of the former chairman, Douglas Caster CBE, at the end of 2013.
“Having established our first overseas campus in Australia in 2010, we accept there are now a new series of challenges ahead. We have been patiently laying a foundation of research activity in the past two years, in areas including unconventional gas, adding value to Australian resources and resource monitoring (particularly offshore petroleum) but understand we need to now raise our profile and attract more PhD students to take ourselves to the next level.
“UCL doesn’t want to be large in Australia, but we do want to be influential and welcome Martin to the team to help us achieve these goals.”
Mr Caster, who is also chairman of Ultra Electronics, continues with UCL in a number of significant roles, including supporting the university’s Institute for Security and Resilience Studies in London.