Institute leadership

Professor Susan Pond AM

Professor Susan Pond AM


Professor Susan Pond is a leader in business and academia. In February 2017, Susan was appointed to the position of Director of The University of Sydney Nano Institute (Sydney Nano). Sydney Nano is one of 10 multidisciplinary research institutes at the University of Sydney, all of which are dedicated to dissolving disciplinary barriers and bringing diverse forms of knowledge and understanding to bear on the world’s most complex questions. Sydney Nano achieves this mission by discovering and harnessing knowledge about the nanoscale.

Before joining the University, Professor Pond was working in the field of renewable energy at the United States Studies Centre where she led the Alternative Transport Fuels Initiative in the Dow Sustainability Program from 2010 to 2016. Prior to this, Susan was Professor of Medicine at the University of Queensland for 12 years until 1996.

Through subsequent appointments such as Chair and Managing Director of Johnson & Johnson Research Pty Limited and as a board member of Australian Nuclear Science & Technology Organisation (ANSTO), Innovation Australia, Commercialisation Australia and Vice-President of the Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering (ATSE), Professor Pond also has a distinguished record in executive and independent director positions.

Professor Pond is currently Chair of the New South Wales Smart Sensing Network, Chair of the Australian Institute of Bioengineering and Nanotechnology Advisory Board, Director of Biotron Limited, Vectus Biosystems Limited and the Wound Innovation Management CRC and member of the Expert Working Group of Science in Australia Gender Equity (SAGE).

Susan is recognised for her significant national and international contributions to medicine, science and technology. Awards include Member of the Order of Australia, Doctor of Medicine honoris causa from the University of Queensland and the Centenary Medal. In 2013, she was named as one of the Australian Financial Review and Westpac Top 100 Women of Influence.

Professor Pond is a Fellow of the Royal Australian College of Physicians, Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering, Academy of Health and Medical Sciences and Australian Institute of Company Directors.

Dr Gunther Schmidt

Dr Gunther Schmidt

Chief Operating Officer

Dr Gunther Schmidt has over 20 years of international leadership and executive management experience in the business-to-business (B2B) and consultancy environment in a wide range of industry segments. He is a Graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors. Gunther has a recognised expertise for the development of business innovation and driving operational excellence projects.

Dr Schmidt also has an academic background holding a Masters degree in Chemistry and a PhD (summa cum laude) in Materials Science from the University of Hamburg, Germany. He was a post-doctoral research fellow at the Ian Wark Research Institute, University of South Australia and the Museum of National History, Stockholm, Sweden.