Dr Mark Matthews

Associate, Howard Partners Pty Ltd


Mark is an experienced public sector strategist with specific expertise in science and innovation policy. His work has a strong focus on handling uncertainties and risks in strategy formulation and delivery – including ways developing risk-spreading options and in tactics for learning and adapting effectively. He has a particular interest in investment risk management challenges in the innovation process.


Mark is a long-standing collaborator with, and associate of, Howard Partners and prior to returning to the UK in 2014 spent seven years in a senior management role at The Australian National University.


Currently based in the UK, Mark has enduring professional connections and associated activities in Australia.


Qualifications and skills

Doctorate in Science and Technology Policy Studies, Science Policy Research Unit, University of Sussex, UK (thesis title: Time Saving and Economic Growth) 1989; M.Sc. (Science, Technology and Industrialisation) Science Policy Research Unit, University of Sussex, 1985; B.A. (Hons) Geography, University of Sussex, 1982.


General professional experience

Mark’s rounded multi-sector experience spans university, government and business environments, combining a strong focus on policy engagement with academic contributions to advances in public policy research, especially in relation to conceptual and methodological innovation.


Mark’s professional career reflects an abiding and sustained interest in understanding, and formulating strategies to improve, science and innovation performance (and also public policy in general). He is the author of Transformational Public Policy: A new strategy for coping with uncertainty and risk. Routledge: Studies in Governance and Public Policy series, July 2016.


Mark has held senior management positions in universities, and the consulting sector in the UK and Australia and headed-up a science diplomacy unit jointly funded by the European Commission and the Australian Government (promoting stronger EU-Australia science and innovation cooperation). He was the founding director of a government-funded policy think tank located in a leading Australian research university.


He is currently Associate Fellow at the Sir Bernard Crick Centre for the Public Understanding of Politics, University of Sheffield, a University Fellow at the Northern Institute, Charles Darwin University in Australia, and an Associate at the Work Foundation (a London think-tank). He is also a Special Advisor to SDG Economic Development in the UK.


Mark’s consulting work focuses mainly on innovation strategy. He played a key role in the Howard Partners team that advised Board of Innovation and Science Australia to develop the 2030 Australian Innovation System Strategic Plan, and more recently reviewed the Australian rural innovation system.


Specific professional experience

Recent project experience in Australia includes:


  • Providing expert inputs to the Review of the Australian Rural Innovation System (including developing profiles of rural industry participation in global value chains using the World Input Output Database).
  • Assisting the Board of Innovation and Science Australia to develop the 2030 Australian Innovation System Strategic Plan (responsible for writing a Discussion Paper on ‘Innovation strategy and global value chains’ together with delivering a survey of expert opinion on Australian innovation strategy choices).
  • Preparing a Scoping Study on the Regional and Remote Public Policy Initiative for the Northern Institute, Charles Darwin University.
  • Initiating and co-managing (with Professor Peter Drysdale) the path breaking Tasmanian Government’s White Paper on the Asian Century Mark was lead author on the science-related aspects of this White Paper – which had a strong emphasis on the rural economy, innovation and global value chain participation
  • Developing an R&D strategy for Dairy Australia (2005)
  • Ex Member of the Stakeholder Advisory Group for the Australian Government’s APS200 Public Sector Innovation Metrics Project.
  • Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) Advisory Panel on Innovation Statistics (ex member).
  • Preparing a detailed study of the investment risk management challenges in the Wi-Fi innovation process for the Australian Government (2003) that has since become a reference case study - re-published by the Intellectual Property Research Institute of Australia.


Current work in the UK includes providing expert advice to the following SDG Economic Development projects:

  • Science and Innovation Audit (SIA) report for the Northern Health Sciences Alliance
  • Science and Innovation Audit (SIA) report for the ‘Northern Powerhouse’
  • Science and Innovation Audit (SIA) study of eco-innovation in northern England
  • Strategy formulation project for precision medicine related innovation in Northern Ireland


Mark’s short courses for the APS (delivered whilst at The ANU) have included: Invention, innovation and industry in the real world: A course for policymakers; Public Sector Innovation; Key Issues in Science Policy; Investment Risk Management in the Private Sector Innovation Process.  He has also taught ANU Management Programme sessions on: Thinking & acting strategically. He currently co-teaches a short course for the Office of Transport Security (OTS) entitled: Security Risk, Measurement and Management: Reducing the Potential for Nasty Surprises.






A comprehensive review of Australia's higher education system was published as Rethinking Australian Higher Education by Howard Partners and UTS on 18 February 2021.


In May 2020 an extended analysis of Australia's research capacity was published as  Challenges for Australian Research and Innovation by UTS as an Occasional Paper.


In 2019 Howard Partners completed the first ever comprehensive Performance Review of the Rural Innovation System for the  National Primary Industries Research and Innovation Committee.



Dr John Howard

PO Box 47

Rose Bay NSW 2029


M 0403 583 600

E john@howardpartners.com.au