Introducing IRANZ's new Executive Officer: Dr Rob Whitney

October 2015

Dr Rob Whitney, IRANZ Executive Officer. Photo: Louise Thomas.

IRANZ’s new Executive Officer, replacing Ruth Berry, is Dr Rob Whitney. Rob is Emeritus Chair of the BusinessNZ Energy Council (BEC) - the New Zealand Member of the World Energy Council (WEC). He has played an active role both in New Zealand and in WEC promoting the sustainable use of energy without compromising energy security, access and affordability. He chaired the three-year WEC World Energy Scenarios: Composing energy futures to 2050 project launched at the World Energy Congress in Korea in October 2013, and the  BEC2050 Energy Scenarios | BusinessNZ Energy Council project launched in Wellington at Te Wharewaka on 15 October 2015.

Rob comes to IRANZ after over 25 years as the CEO of successful research company CRL Energy. Rob has had a career with independent research organisations having come to  New Zealand in 1972 to join BRANZ. He spent 15 years at BRANZ as Materials Research Scientist, Head of Materials Research and then Assistant Director before moving to the Coal Research Association (now CRL Energy) as Director in 1988. Rob’s first science job was as a research intern at the British Iron and Steel Research Association in South Wales.

At IRANZ, Rob will provide the interface between Independent Research Organisations and the government, and is keen to demonstrate the value of IROs and the important role they play in the New Zealand science ecosystem. "The Government has just published its National Statement of Science Investment [NSSI]. IROs will play a vital role in in helping the Government achieve its goals in particular increasing New Zealand’s Business expenditure on R&D [BERD] to greater than 1% of GDP, and getting a better return for New Zealand from its investment in higher-risk science with long-term impacts."

Rob is a past National President of the New Zealand Institute of Chemistry. He is past president of Port Nicholson Rotary and is a Paul Harris Fellow. He has served on the executives of the IEA Greenhouse Gas R&D Programme, the IEA Clean Coal Centre and the International Partnership for Hydrogen and Fuel Cells in the Economy (IPHE). Over the years, he has represented IROs on numerous ministerial and government advisory panels and working groups.