Management Committee

Mr Derek Buckmaster

Chair, Carbon Nexus Management Committee

Derek Buckmaster is the Director of the Carbon Nexus facility and also the chair of the Board and the Management Committee.

Derek works closely with industry partners to ensure the capabilities of Carbon Nexus are closely matched to the research and development strategies and the training needs of industry. Derek also works closely with the Vice-Chancellor of Deakin, the Deputy Vice-Chancellor Research and the Carbon Nexus Board to direct the strategies and activities of Carbon Nexus.

Derek has long experience in the plastics, petrochemicals, automotive and composites sectors. Prior to working with Deakin, he worked with the Performance Chemicals business of SABIC where he led their carbon fibre project, among other new business developments. He spent 19 years with GE Plastics in various roles including marketing, product development, application technology, sales, information technology and Six Sigma. Derek has worked in numerous countries including China, Japan, Singapore, The Netherlands, Saudi Arabia and the United States.

Professor Russell Varley

Professor of Composite Materials

Before joining Deakin in July 2016 he was team leader of the Composites team at CSIRO, where he worked for 27 years. Russell is a graduate of the University of Adelaide and completed his PhD at Monash University on the subject of thermoplastic toughening of highly crosslinked epoxy networks. 

Since then, his work has focused on network and engineering polymers, specifically understanding how to control network properties for improved performance or processing.

He has published about 70 papers in peer reviewed journals, four book chapters and submitted about 40 major client project reports to various multi-national companies and Australian SMEs.  His research interests include new polymer matrices for advanced composites, self-healing materials, nanocomposites and processable thermoplastic composites. 

Professor Xungai Wang

Director, Institute for Frontier Materials

Professor Wang is the Director of Deakin's Institute for Frontier Materials. His research interests are primarily in fibre science and technology and he is the 2005 recipient of the Fiber Society Distinguished Achievement Award. Professor Wang is a Fellow of the Textile Institute and more recently has been investigating new applications for fibres and textiles, and new ways of adding value to natural fibres and of functionalising textiles.

Find out more about Professor Xungai Wang

Mr Chris Thompson

Director, Research Operations and Finance

Chris is the Director of Operations and Finance of the Deakin Research Office. He is a full member of CPA Australia with 5 years experience within the University sector in senior finance and management roles.

Prior to joining Deakin, Chris worked predominantly in the Private Hospital Sector working for Ramsay HealthCare, Affinity Health and Mayne in Hospital CEO, and Hospital business manager and finance manager roles.

Dr Ben Spincer

Director, Deakin Research Commercial

Ben brings over 20 years of diverse finance, business and technology experience to Deakin. He is a geoscientist by background but has worked in investment banking, journalism and stakeholder relations roles.

Most recently he was the Director of Technology Strategy and Innovation at Telstra overseeing the company’s innovation program including relationships with research institutions and universities.

Ms Virginie Hoareau

General Manager - Geelong Technology Precinct (GTP)

Virginie is the General Manager of the GTP Operations group which includes the Institute for Frontier Materials and the Institute for Intelligent Systems Research and Innovation, at Deakin University. She has been in the role since 2010. Virginie began her career as a graduate of Deakin, at a leading multinational company as a Group Accountant.

Virginie has worked in numerous managerial roles in both the private and non‐profit sectors before taking up a position at Deakin. Virginie holds an MBA and is a member of CPA Australia.

Mrs Kim Atkiss

Quality & Procurement Manager, Carbon Nexus

Kim has 12 years carbon fibre industry experience and currently manages the Procurement and Quality systems within Carbon Nexus.

Kim has been with Carbon Nexus since September 2014 and was initially taken on board to create the Carbon Nexus's QMS and successfully achieved ISO9001:2008 accreditation in January 2015. Her efforts are now focused on value creation beyond cost and developing innovative solutions together with the University and Suppliers. To achieve this ambitious goal she is reshaping how Procurement operates as a function. To support and develop within her current role she has successfully completed her training as a carbon fibre process operator.

Prior to this Kim worked for SGL Carbon Group gaining 10 years carbon fibre experience. Various positions held during this period in the following department’s; Finance, Procurement, Sales, Quality, Maintenance, Projects, Materials, and Production.