News: News

Appointment of New Chief Executive Officer for Microscopy Australia – Dr Lisa Yen

The Board of Microscopy Australia announces that Prof. Julie Cairney will move on from her role as Chief Executive Officer and that Dr Lisa Yen will take over as the Microscopy Australia CEO. Prof. Cairney will continue to provide support by transitioning into the role of Scientific Advisor to Microscopy Australia.

Lisa is currently Microscopy Australia’s Chief Operating Officer and has over 15 years of experience in university administration, strategic research management in Centres of Excellence, and operations and management of national collaborative research infrastructure. She has been with Microscopy Australia since 2019. Lisa has a doctorate in cognitive science and a first–class honours degree in psychology.

In making the announcement Microscopy Australia Chair Dr Greg Smith acknowledged the exceptional contribution that Prof. Cairney has made, not only to Microscopy Australia but to establishing collaborative research infrastructure in Australia:

“Julie has been a strong advocate of the power of a collaborative framework for research infrastructure and worked tirelessly to make Microscopy Australia a success. It remains an example of best practice in management, governance and user experience in a shared research infrastructure facility, enabling research outcomes for over 3,000 users each year.

In succeeding Julie, Lisa brings her extensive knowledge and experience of Microscopy Australia operations, combined with a clear vision for the future of our facility. Microscopy Australia’s succession planning has positioned it well as the facility transitions from establishment to sustainability and to future growth. The board is unanimous in its support for Lisa’s appointment.”

Dr Yen said today, “I am delighted to take on this key role and look forward to building on Microscopy Australia’s strong history and ensuring we are well-positioned for renewed investment to ensure Australia has access to advanced instruments and experts that will enable Australia’s research and innovation. I am appreciative to the Board for their support and confidence.”

Prof. Cairney, on leaving the CEO role said that she has been privileged to be able to work with a dedicated and committed team of people and is pleased to be able to continue to support Microscopy Australia. “I am proud to see the achievements of this organisation. The skills, passion, and commitment of our team are deeply impressive. I look forward to continuing to guide its future achievements.”

Dr Yen will be focused on the future, with Microscopy Australia well positioned to take advantage of developing technologies and a more sustainable program for future Australian research infrastructure.  Microscopy Australia will continue to provide world-class service in research services, programs and training with its global research training tools primed for further development.

Aligned with the 2021 National Research Infrastructure Roadmap, Microscopy Australia’s delivery of end user outcomes and international connectivity will continue to be its most important priorities.

Professional Profile: Dr Lisa Yen

Dr Yen’s career has centred on enabling research and innovation collaborations, particularly in Australian universities conducting programs with strong, measurable research outcomes, impact and benefit. Her collaborative leadership and research management skills have been developed within higher-education organisations including user-focussed collaborative research infrastructure. She offers high-level management, leadership, administration, organisational and negotiating skills, all complimented by excellent communication.

Dr Yen is a graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors (GAICD) and a graduate of the Australasian Research Management Society’s Accredited Research Managers (Advanced; ARMA) program.

After a completing a PhD project in language and speech at Macquarie University, Dr Yen worked for 5 years in a university administration role, supporting higher degree research students, human resources and grant management. She then moved into a senior executive role for the ARC Centre of Excellence in Cognition and its Disorders, from 2012 to 2019. Her collaborative leadership style contributed to the successful operations of this national cooperative research program of ~200 staff and students.

Since February 2019, Dr Yen has been the Chief Operating Officer with Microscopy Australia, providing leadership and management to enable best-practice operation and managing a current 5-year project budget of approximately $80M (2019-2023). Microscopy Australia has been awarded another $22M funding for the next 5-years (2024-2028). She has established and maintained active relationships with Commonwealth Government and numerous State Governments in relation to NCRIS funding. She has negotiated and executed a range of funding, collaborative, procurement and commercial agreements.

Media Contact

Dr Jenny Whiting
Marketing & Business Development Manager
Microscopy Australia
02 9114 0566


December 22, 2022