U21 Announces Appointment of two new Research Group Chair Elects

U21 is delighted to announce the appointment of two new group Chair Elects. Professor Pedro Bouchon, Vice Chancellor of Research at Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, is appointed as Chair-Elect of the Research Leaders’ Group, while Dr. Alison Butt of the University of New South Wales becomes Chair-Elect of the Research Collaboration Group

These new appointments strengthen the member leadership within the network of 28 research-led institutions across the globe and bring new opportunities for collaboration and learning.

Professor Pedro Bouchon
Professor Pedro Bouchon, Vice President for Research, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile

Professor Bouchon has held the Vice Presidency for Research at Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile since 2017. Prior to that, he held the roles of Associate Dean of Research, Innovation and Graduate Studies, and Vice Dean of the Faculty of Engineering.

He has a background as an Industrial Civil Engineer with a major in Chemical Engineering, gained at UC Chile, and a PhD from the School of Food Biosciences at the University of Reading, UK.

During his academic career, Professor Bouchon has played a leading role in training, research and knowledge exchange. He directs the Food Structure Design Laboratory, where he focuses his research on specific formulations and processes that can add quality attributes to food products. Professor Bouchon is also an entrepreneur, founding a company in 2021 that produces nutritious vegetable-based snack foods.

Of his appointment to the Chair role, Professor Bouchon says: “I am grateful and honoured to become Chair-Elect of the Research Leaders’ Group and I thank Professor Arturo Molina, for his leadership and commitment during these years, which had important challenges. My interest arises from the involvement I have had in U21, since I was appointed Vice President for Research at UC Chile in 2017, together with the strength and potential of the network I envisage. As the new Chair, I would like to get individuals to commit to meaningful activities, with a balanced global representation, achieving great cohesion within the group together with key partners, including DDoGS and the Research Collaboration Group, and also setting up a platform to foster subgroup activities. I will bring strong energy to strengthen the global reach of the group.”

Dr Alison Butt is the Director of the Research Strategy Office at the University of New South Wales (UNSW Sydney).

Alison joined the Research Strategy Office at UNSW Sydney in May 2018. After completing her BSc (Hons) and PhD in the UK, she has had over twenty years experience in cancer research as both an active researcher in several academic settings and more recently, in a strategic leadership role as the Senior Scientific Officer at Cancer Australia, the Australian federal government’s cancer control agency.

Dr Alison Butt
Dr. Alison Butt - Director, Research Strategy Office at University of NSW (UNSW Sydney).

In 2005, Alison was elected to the Board of Directors of the Australian Society for Medical Research (ASMR) – the peak professional body representing the health and medical research sector in Australia – and served as the ASMR President in 2010. She has also served as a Director on the Board of Research Australia, from 2011 to 2018, and is currently a Director on the Board of the Sanfilippo Children’s Foundation.

Alison is particularly passionate about promoting and supporting women in research – developing and implementing ‘relative to opportunity’ criteria across all NBCF funding schemes, and, during her tenure as ASMR President, working with the then Minister for Medical Research and the National Health and Medical Research Council to improve the assessment of career disruptions.

Alison has been the UNSW contact on the U21 Research Collaboration Group since 2019. She comments: “I am excited to be taking on the role of Chair-Elect of the Research Collaboration Group.  This is an important juncture for the RCG as we start to re-connect with colleagues and reinvigorate our remit to promote research collaboration across the U21 network.”

Professor Jenny Dixon, U21 Provost, offered her congratulations and thanks: 

“The strength of our network very much relies on the quality of contributions from those across our membership who are prepared to step up and lead. These network leadership roles are integral to all the collaborative achievements we make together, driving forward our agendas and highlighting the immense value of sharing knowledge across borders. This would not be possible without the generosity of time, experience and spirit brought to the table by Professor Bouchon and Dr Butt. Under their leadership of our working groups, we will see the network continue to go from strength to strength.