Meet our team

The TCI Oceania Secretariat team comprises practitioners with expertise across cluster development, industry development, facilitation, media and communications.

We are thrilled to be given this opportunity to work with the dedicated TCI Oceania Working Committee and cluster practitioners throughout Oceania and around the globe, to build the profile and recognition of industry clusters in our part of the world.

Our focus is to build understanding within government and industry across the Oceania region of the value that comes from participation in industry clusters and from investing in industry clusters.

Working Committee

Dr Mirjana Prica is an enthusiastic visionary who focuses on collaboration, entrepreneurship and innovation to deliver commercial value.

Mirjana sits on boards and advisory groups for clusters, cooperative research centres, universities, research and industry organisations and businesses in Australia and overseas, where she leverages her 30 years of research and commercial experience in food, agribusiness, advanced materials and minerals.

Mirjana has practical experience in establishing clusters and building ecosystems of capability and capacity for unlocking growth. Currently, Mirjana is leading FIAL, a national and industry-led organisation, established by the Australian Government and is using clusters to drive innovation and business growth for the ~180,000 firms operating in the food and agribusiness sector.

Dr Allan O’Connor is Associate Professor of Enterprise Dynamics and Co-Executive Director of the Centre for Enterprise Dynamics in Global Economies at the University of South Australia.

As an active TCI member, His research informs practising entrepreneurs, executive management teams, policy-makers, and regional development agencies on how to create opportunities and manage the resources necessary to foster and develop innovation and entrepreneurship.

Allan led the establishment of the Australian Cluster Observatory in 2014, has published an edited volume on Integrating Innovation in South Australia in 2015, and has pioneered research on entrepreneurial ecosystems since 2014/2015. In 2020 and 2021, he was recognised as Australia’s leading researcher in innovation and entrepreneurship by the Australian newspaper.

Dr Nicola Watts is passionate about clusters and the opportunities they present for addressing challenges and unleashing opportunities through purposeful collaboration and innovation.

Nicola is a former cluster founder, who currently facilitates collaboration, co-innovation, communications and capacity-building. She has extensive global experience matched with a strong focus on ‘acting locally’.

Ifor is acknowledged as one of the most influential cluster practitioners in the world, with hands-on experience extending to over 50 countries.

Ifor has been an advisor to The World Bank, EU, OECD, UNDP, international aid agencies and national & regional economic development agencies on six continents.

Ifor is a Founder, Past President and Member of the Board of Advisors of TCI Network.

Ifor is the author of the ‘Cluster Development Handbook’, the first comprehensive guide to the What? the Why? and the How? of cluster engagement.

Tracy has worked in the Brisbane office of Regional Development Australia (RDA) for the past decade (optional – and spent the previous 15 years in Cairns working largely with rural and remote communities). She is an expert in cluster development, regional innovation and global competitiveness.

Her extensive experience in economic development stretches across regional Australia and beyond and she has served on a number of federal advisory boards developing policy and delivering programs in clusters, regional innovation and export development.

Tracy specialises in the facilitation and formation of innovation clusters for regional competitiveness, and her particular interest lies in the internationalisation of Australian regions. She believes national competitiveness relies on the economic strengths and interconnectedness of industries and regions.

In November 2015 she joined the Board of Directors of the TCI Network, the leading global network of people and organisations working in clusters and innovation ecosystems around the world. She is the founding Chair of the TCI Oceania chapter’.

Jacqueline Brinkman is an economic development specialist and CEO of Economic Development Australia (EDA), the national peak body for economic development. Under Jacqueline’s leadership, EDA membership has more than tripled to over 1400 members in just 4 years.

Jacqueline is one of Australia’s most experienced industry cluster managers and has facilitated industry development and new investment across a range of sectors. Her advocacy and lobbying have resulted in legislative change at the local, state and federal levels.

Jacqueline has held CXO roles across a range of sectors in QLD and NSW, is an award-winning copywriter and an experienced company director with current positions on the Board of Dare Disability Services and RDA Sydney.

Secretariat

With over 30 years of experience across Research, Development and Implementation, Dr Tom Lewis’ current focus is on managing projects and helping people – be they grouped by organisation, sector, community or region – to work together to achieve common goals.

On his journey to date, Tom has played key roles in commercial and academic organisations, ranging from hands-on development and design of technical operations to strategic management.

Tom brings a deep understanding of the needs and drivers of commercial, research and government agencies, and works to be an effective link between these three sometimes disparate communities.

A highly experienced collaborator, creator, and change maker, Allison has an extensive background in leadership, strategy, and innovation. She actively contributes across industry sectors including agribusiness, agritourism, food and beverage, waste management, renewable energy, and not for profit.

 

Allison was the 2018 AgriFutures Tasmania Rural Woman of the Year. Undertaking a project focused on increasing the potential for individuals with literacy and diversity challenges to start on their product development journey has increased her desire to build pathways for change. She has been actively involved in a number of cluster initiations and looks forward to contributing to the awareness and growth of clusters across Oceania.