Professor Ian Mackinnon
Science and Engineering Faculty
Professor Mackinnon is the founder and former Executive Director of the Institute for Future Environments (IFE) at QUT; an initiative that supports transdisciplinary RD&D directed at solving the grand challenge of our time: to sustainably live in, and adapt to, a resource-constrained world that is undergoing rapid and complex change on a global scale.
Professor Mackinnon was previously a senior executive at the Australian Research Council (ARC), one of Australia’s leading research funding agencies. At the ARC, he was Executive Director for Engineering and Environmental Sciences and directed the Linkage Projects Scheme – a program providing strong support for outcome-focused, collaborative research between universities and industry. He also managed the portfolios of the Physics, Chemistry and Geosciences panel and the Maths, Information and Computing Sciences panel for significant periods during his tenure at the ARC. In these roles, Professor Mackinnon was responsible for the critical assessment of proposals and entities that delivered more than $300 million of taxpayer funds per year to the Australian research community.
Professor Mackinnon has more than ten years experience in technology transfer including direct involvement with two start-up companies. He was founder and executive director of NanoChem Pty Ltd which developed environmentally friendly new materials for the chemicals and wastewater-treatment industries. He has served as board member or shareholder representative for four Cooperative Research Centres affiliated with QUT.
Professor Mackinnon began his career at James Cook University and was among its first cohort of graduates and post-graduates in both chemistry and geology. He undertook post-graduate research in crystallography and mineralogy at James Cook and at ANSTO, Lucas Heights, through an AINSE Fellowship. Professor Mackinnon has held appointments at Arizona State University, NASA Johnson Space Centre and The University of New Mexico in the USA. He returned to Australia to establish the Centre for Microscopy and Microanalysis (CMM) at The University of Queensland as Foundation Director and then with promotion to Professor in 1995. The CMM at the University of Queensland is now an internationally renowned key node of the Australian Microscopy and Microanalysis Research Facility – a major platform of the National Collaborative Research Infrastructure Scheme. At that time, Professor Mackinnon also served as Director of Advanced Ceramics Development, UniQuest Pty Ltd, driving contract and commercial R&D in materials at The University of Queensland.
Throughout his career, Professor Mackinnon has developed infrastructure and tools for cutting-edge research or technology demonstration; much of this achieved in Queensland. He has built or had oversight of more than eight different pilot plants, responsibility for installation of more than 25 electron-optical columns and facilitated development of a new technology for the minerals industry that is now installed in more than 50 sites worldwide. Professor Mackinnon was deeply involved in the team that delivered QUT’s Science and Engineering Centre and, since 2009, has been instrumental in the collaborations to establish the IFE, the Cube, CARF, Banyo Pilot Plant Precinct and other research infrastructure for the STEM disciplines at QUT. These facilities, and research groups established by Professor Mackinnon, have been fertile avenues for training and mentoring younger scientists and engineers.
Professor Mackinnon’s current RD&D interests are focused on the synthesis, characterization and modeling of high performance materials for use in the energy, transport and environmental sectors. These materials include boron-based compounds, perovskites, zeolites and clays.more...