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Dr Mel McDowall is the Director of the Defence AI Research Network (DAIRNet), an initiative of the Department of Defence and hosted by the University of South Australia. This draws on her experiences in transdisciplinary research and operation roles.
Mel can speak on:

  • Defence and Space
  • Sciences

Professional qualifications: Mel holds a PhD in Medicine (2005) and Master of Business Administration (2018) from the University of Adelaide.

Mel is available for in-person or online mentoring, career speed dating sessions and to attend workshop sessions, helping students undertand the skills needed to persue a career in Defence and Space and the Sciences.

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Having worked in many industries, such as clinical, agriculture and Defence, Mel has experience with many steps in the “bench to bedside/farm-gate/capability” journey. This includes basic and applied research, business improvement and governance, advocacy, contract management, territory management, and clinical support.

Transdisciplinary teams, science communication and outreach are critical for research. Highlights of Mel’s career include receiving a Young Tall Poppy Award (2005), attending Science Meets Parliament (2014-2016) as an advocate for reproductive medicine research, and participating in the CSIRO OnPrime program (2016). More recently Mel was the 2023 winner of the Technology category of the Women in Technology awards and a finalised in the Defence Connect “Women in Leadership” award (2023).