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Meet the QWMN Secretariat … all of them! Resistance is futile. You will be assimilated.

The QWMN is led by the Queensland Department of Environment and Science, in the Science and Technology Division. Dr Paul Lawrence leads Science Delivery and Knowledge, including the Landscape Sciences unit - the home of the Queensland Water Modelling Network (QWMN) Secretariat. Meet the team:

Dr Paul Lawrence

I am the Executive Director for Science Delivery and Knowledge within the Queensland Department of Environment and Science. I have over 35 years of experience in land and water processes, modelling, and decision support systems and have participated in national and technical advisory committees in natural resource management, reef water quality, land use planning and soil carbon. I managed the science program for the Queensland Climate Change Centre of Excellence and am also the founding Director for the Queensland Water Modelling Network, Chairing the Steering Panel and Core Group.  I have a strong interest in multidisciplinary science to inform policy and planning, and am proactive in collaborative networks across government, university, industry and the private sectors.  I hold Bachelor and Masters Degrees from Griffith University, and a PhD from the University of Arizona in multiple criteria decision support systems. I have also completed an OECD Post-Doctoral Fellowship and an Executive Masters in Public Administration from Monash University.


Stephen Potts

I’m the Director of Landscapes Sciences, which includes the Queensland Water Modelling Network. Landscape Sciences is also responsible for soil, catchment and riverine sciences and analytical chemistry across the Department of Environment and Science (DES). Prior to commencing in this role, I worked in the strategy and policy sections of DES and the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries leading programs including reform of scientific research legislation, implementation of regional planning and the Queensland Agricultural Land Audit. My early career included much time spent in the field undertaking ecological assessments and negotiating acquisitions for the protected area estate. My motivation is a deep commitment to sustainable development – which if I’m honest, I have only truly come to understand by working with so many exceptional people throughout my career – scientists, First Nations people, community, academics, economists, land managers and policy officers. I have three young daughters who will inherit the decisions of my generation, so I’m committed to making sure those decisions are well informed and not detrimental to future generations.


Jenny Riches

I am the foundational Queensland Water Modelling Network Program Manager, coming on board in February 2017 when the QWMN kicked off.  Prior to joining the QWMN Secretariat I was a Principal Policy Officer in the Office of the Queensland Chief Scientist, with one of my projects there, supporting the Great Barrier Reef Taskforce and the Audit of Queensland’s water related science and research capability, a major impetus behind the QWMN. In my role as Program Manager, I am keen to foster collaborative relationships to address the big challenges facing not just Queensland but the world in general – water security, climate change, landscape/system approaches to complex solutions and building in engagement across the ‘water pipeline’ and beyond.  Before joining the Queensland Government in 2005, I spent some time overseas as a project officer in the food security area with the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the UN, an Australian Volunteer Abroad in the Eritrean Ministry of Agriculture – thanks to an initial job as Landcare Officer in Kalgoorlie, WA. We have a great team in the Secretariat – and have forged some fantastic relationships across the sector that will help us continue to work on our goal of underpromising and overdelivering.


Sarah Stevens

I am a Senior Project Officer in Landscape Sciences, supporting the QWMN Program Manager to deliver strategic water modelling projects and initiatives. I have been in this role for two years, and am responsible for providing Secretariat services for QWMN governance structures, project management for water modelling R&D, and engaging broadly across the sector to promote the work of the QWMN and identify emerging priorities for investment. I have five years’ experience in Queensland Government policy programs spanning science policy and legislation, international science collaboration, innovation policy and most recently supporting the government’s response to COVID-19 in Queensland Health. Prior to my career in government, I worked as a research assistant and laboratory demonstrator at The University of Queensland following my studies – BSc (Hons) in ecology and science communication. I am passionate about the effective communication of science to broad audiences, and the use of scientific evidence to inform policy development and decision-making.


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