Dr Sarah Pearson is Deputy Director-General for Innovation at Advance Queensland, the Queensland Government of Australia. She is an internationally experienced Open Innovation practitioner, innovation ecosystem builder, scientist and advocate for collaborative innovation, as well as women in science and entrepreneurship in Australia and our region. She drives collaborative innovation and entrepreneurship strategy and practice in both corporate and government arenas, and am passionate about helping countries benefit from emerging technology in both industrial and social innovation applications.

Previous roles include Chief Scientist and Chief Innovation Officer at the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT), Founding CEO of the CBR Innovation Network, PVC Innovation at the University of Newcastle, CEO of ANU Enterprise, management consulting with McKinsey & Co in Sydney, tenured Physics academic at UNE, and global head of Open Innovation at Cadbury plc in Reading UK. Her strategic, research, and innovation skills are also currently applied through a number of Board positions, which has spanned Government Boards, Venture Capital, tech companies and social impact entities.

Sarah has had significant impact on innovation systems in Australia and overseas, and led DFAT to build startup ecosystems; empower entrepreneurs in the Indo-Pacific; encourage women in STEM; and engage in economic and commercial diplomacy based on innovation globally.

Sarah was awarded a DPhil from the University of Oxford in particle physics, and have published research in the areas of particle physics, medical physics, artificial intelligence, innovation, science communication and science policy.

Her publishing career has also spanned the media of TV, radio, books, journals, magazines and newspapers, and she is an author on eight international patents, for cancer diagnosis and novel confectionary. For many years Sarah worked with schools and through the media to encourage young people into studying science.