With an internationally recognised Leadership Team of eminent scientists, BQI is committed to collaborating with the world’s brightest minds and thought leaders across various scientific disciplines, to think differently about the Big Questions of Science

Leadership Team


Prof. John Webb

Co-Founder & Director
University of NSW

Prof. John Webb is an astrophysicist. His cutting edge research on varying constants has led him to the front pages of Scientific American, New Scientist and the Economist. If his tentative discovery that constants of nature are changing is validated, it will profoundly impact our view of the universe.

John was named as one of Sydney’s most influential people in 2012 by the Sydney Morning Herald, received the 2012 Eureka Prize for Scientific Research, and the 2013 NSW Science and Engineering Award for Excellence in mathematics, earth sciences, chemistry and physics.


Mr Darren Dougan

Company Director

Mr Dougan is the former CEO of Hindmarsh, a national property development and construction company based in Sydney. Darren was previously the CFO and co-founder of Regional Express Airlines and presently serves on a variety of Boards.

Mr Dougan holds a BSc (Mathematics) and Engineering Degree (Hons) from the University of Queensland, and an MBA from Kellogg Business School, Northwestern University Chicago. With a lifelong interest in physics, Darren is currently a PhD candidate in astrophysics at UNSW.

Prof. Martin Van Kranendonk

Prof. Martin Van Kranendonk

Deputy Director
University of New South Wales

Professor Van Kranendonk is the Director of the Australian Centre for Astrobiology at the University of NSW.

Martin was trained in Canada receiving his PhD in geology.  In 1994, Martin moved to Australia to commence research on the geology of the Pilbara. In 1997 he joined the Geological Survey of Western Australia and in 2012 moved to UNSW as Professor of Geology.

Martin leads a team researching early life on Earth and providing guidance to NASA in the search for life on Mars.


Prof. Paul Davies

Board Member
Arizona State University

Prof. Paul Davies AM is a theoretical physicist, cosmologist, and best selling author. He is the Director of the Beyond Center for Fundamental Concepts in Science at Arizona State University, where he also directs a major cancer research programme.

Paul has won many awards, including the 1995 Templeton Prize for his work on the deeper implications of science, the 2001 Kelvin Medal from the UK Institute of Physics, and the 2002 Michael Faraday Prize from the Royal Society for promoting science to the public.


Prof. Stephen Hawking

Board Member
University of Cambridge

Prof. Stephen Hawking is Director of Research at the Centre for Theoretical Cosmology at the University of Cambridge, and author of the international bestseller A Brief History of Time.

Stephen has over a dozen honorary degrees and was awarded the CBE in 1982. He is a fellow of the Royal Society and a Member of the US National Academy of Science. Stephen is the former Lucasian Professor of Mathematics at Cambridge, the post awarded to Isaac Newton in 1669.


Prof. John Mattick AO

Board Member
Garvan Institute of Medical Research

Prof. John Mattick AO is the Executive Director of the Garvan Institute of Medical Research. Professor Mattick’s research led to the discovery of the function of non-coding DNA.

Professor Mattick supports the investigation of “big picture” science that can often lead to unintended but fruitful advances, and has collaborated with Paul Davies on the biology of cancer. Professor Mattick has spent research periods at the Universities of Queensland, Cambridge, Oxford, Cologne and Strasbourg. He was Foundation Director of the Australian Genome Research Facility and the Institute for Molecular Bioscience.


Prof. Tamara Davis

Board Member
University of Queensland

Prof. Tamara Davis is a cosmologist at University of Queensland. She won the 2011 Australian Institute of Physics Women in Physics Lectureship, the 2011 Queensland Tall Poppy Award, the 2009 Australian L’Oreal Women in Science Fellowship and the Astronomical Society of Australia’s Early Career Research Award.

Tamara plays a leading role in the WiggleZ Dark Energy Survey, which has mapped ~220,000 galaxies across half of the observable universe, testing theories of gravity and the nature of dark energy and dark matter.


Prof. John Barrow

Board Member
Cambridge University

Prof. John Barrow is a physicist, mathematician, cosmologist and best selling author. He is Professor of Mathematical Sciences at Cambridge University and the Director of the Millennium Mathematics Project, an initiative which aims to improve the understanding and appreciation of mathematics amongst young people.

Prof. Barrow won the Templeton Prize in 2006, is a Fellow of the Royal Society, has published over 400 papers on physics, and has written 19 books, including the seminal Anthropic Cosmological Principal.

Dr. Graham Phillips

Dr. Graham Phillips

Board Member

Dr Graham Phillips is the Presenter of Catalyst, a leading science television program on the ABC.
With over 20 years experience as a journalist and commentator, Dr Phillips is one of the most accomplished science communicators in Australia.

Dr Phillips has a PhD in astrophysics and has lectured and researched at various Universities andinstitutions including CSIRO.

Dr Mitchell D Schulte

Dr. Mitchell D. Schulte

Board Member
NASA Planetary Science Division

Dr. Mitch Schulte is a Program Scientist with the Mars Exploration Program at NASA Headquarters in Washington, DC.

He is currently the Program Scientist for NASA’s Mars 2020 rover mission and the US contribution to the European Space Agency’s ExoMars 2020 rover mission, both of which will search for biosignatures on Mars.

Mitch, a geochemist, studies the formation of organic compounds in hydrothermal environments and microorganisms that inhabit them, and the implications of water-rock reactions for the emergence of life on the early Earth and on other planetary bodies.  He is a member of the editorial board for the journal Astrobiology.