4 Minutes With…Susan Pond, Program Leader, Alternative Transport Fuels Initiative, University of Sydney

November 2, 2014 |

pond_susan_1Tell us about your organization and it’s role in the Advanced Bioeconomy.

The USSC is an independent, bipartisan organization with the core goal of increasing understanding of the US Australia relationship in the Asia Pacific. It drives public policy debate across a wide range of issues including trade and investment, innovation, defence and security, energy security, natural resources and the environment.

Tell us about your role and what you are focused on in the next 12 months.

I lead the alternative transport fuels initiative at the USSC. It focuses on the policy issues related to the development of the advanced biofuels industry in Australia as part of the transport energy mix, particularly for sectors with critical needs such as aviation, mining, defence and shipping.

Within the next 12 months, I want to see Australia develop strategic policies aimed at: reducing its almost exclusive reliance on imported, liquid fossil fuels for transport energy; mitigating the annual addition of large quantities of CO2 and particulates into the atmosphere; promoting advanced biofuels as a yet to be realized, large scale industry opportunity.

What do you feel are the most important milestones the industry must achieve in the next 5 years?

Advanced biofuels do not currently have favourable supply chain economics in Australia, notwithstanding the technical readiness, security and environmental benefits. All sectors involved in the supply chain, including government, need to work together to reduce commercial risk and forge a national roll out plan for demonstration

If you could snap your fingers and change one thing about the Advanced Bioeconomy, what would you change?

Public policy for the advanced biofuels sector brings together in a perfect storm all of the extraordinary challenges facing society today – food, energy, water and climate. I would like to increase the number of talented people working in this maelstrom so that we can be more successful in overcoming these challenges.

Of all the reasons that influenced you to join the Advanced Bioeconomy industry, what single reason stands out for you as still being compelling and important to you?

Reduce the world‒s prodigious dependence on fossil fuels, which are neither harmless nor inexhaustible

Where are you from? 

Born and raised in Sydney Australia

What was your undergraduate major in college, and where did you attend? Why did you choose that school and that pathway? 

First degree in medicine & surgery (MBBS) at University of Sydney. Then higher doctorate (MD) at the University of New South Wales. I was drawn by the diverse, complex and conflicting mix of disciplines — e.g. science & technology, systems thinking, design, engineering, behavioural science – to be studied from first principles, deeply un

Who do you consider your mentors. What have you learned from them?

Most recently, Rich Altman from CAAFI. Ever present, my husband.

What’s the biggest lesson you ever learned during a period of adversity?

Keep calm and carry on

What hobbies do you pursue, away from your work in the industry? 

Family, walking, reading

What 3 books would you take to read, if stranded on a desert island?

The Prince by Niccolo Machiavelli, The Quest by Daniel Yergin, The Complete Works of William Shakespeare

What books or articles are on your reading list right now, or you just completed and really enjoyed?

A eclectic mix from my current Kindle list: The Narrow Road to the Deep North, Richard Flanagan, Flash Boys by Michael Lewis, Hard Choices by Hilary Rodham Clinton

What’s your favorite city or place to visit, for a holiday?

Hong Kong
San Francisco

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Category: Million Minds

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