BioMelbourne Network appoints new CEO

Posted: 7 May 2024

BioMelbourne Network, the peak body in the Victorian healthtech industry, is excited to announce the appointment of Karen Parr, as its incoming Chief Executive Officer.

Karen has extensive experience leading complex science-based policy and regulatory environments and engaging with a wide range of stakeholders, including federal and state-based government departments, to shape a positive environment for our sector. Karen’s knowledge and experience within the sector includes working within peak industry bodies for biotechnology in Australia, New Zealand and the UK. She will commence her role as CEO on 3 June 2024.

At a time of significant growth for our healthtech sector, Karen joins BioMelbourne Network from her role as AusBiotech’s Director, Policy and Communications. With almost 20 years of for-purpose and government experience, including key roles with the NZ Government, the UK’s BioIndustry Organisation and AusBiotech, she brings strategic insight and policy knowledge that will help steer our sector to create growth opportunities with the delivery of innovative science and technology, research and development and delivering commercial success.

Karen has worked extensively on public policy impacting life sciences companies, including opportunities and challenges traversing capital attraction, tax incentives, clinical trials, regulation, and the commercialisation of medical research. She has established Australia’s Cell and Gene Catalyst, developed and launched numerous research reports that have resulted in increased global investment into Victoria and Australia, and has led several digital transformation projects.

Aligned with our vision to drive Victoria’s healthtech industry to be a leading global hub for research, innovation, commercialisation and manufacturing, Karen’s prior experience will enable her to shape our Network’s future strategy. She will provide strong and effective leadership to lead our organisation and deliver to our members a positive environment, and an ecosystem built on effective networking and sharing of the latest science. Her technology and business insights will ensure that the healthtech industry continues to be a key sustainable driver of the economy, employment and value-added growth in Victoria.

Karen is recognised for her ability to navigate complex stakeholder environments, forge trusted strategic partnerships, and drive meaningful change within the local, national and international environments. At a time when our agenda is focussed on new and emerging technologies such as high-throughput experimentation, coupled with robotics, AI and machine learning, it is critical that we are informed and engaged with policy and regulatory discussions to maximise their impact and beneficial outputs. As a leader, Karen has the ability to evolve our vision and articulate the direction with reason and logic, communicating with purpose and excitement, to ensure clear intent and purpose, whilst delivering success.

As, Chair and on behalf of the BioMelbourne Network Board, our management team and membership, I am delighted to add our warmest welcome to Karen. We look forward to Karen starting her BioMelbourne Network leadership journey, and we are confident that her skills and capabilities, plus her deep sector experience, will serve her well in delivering growth and impact across our Network and the healthtech sector.

The BioMelbourne Network Board looks forward to working with and supporting Karen in her role as CEO.

Ms Parr noted: “I’m absolutely honoured and delighted to accept the role of CEO for BioMelbourne Network and am committed to serving its innovative membership and building on the legacy that has propelled the thriving network to its current success.”

“Victoria is well placed and known for its strength in the healthtech sector community. We can all be immensely proud of both the exceptional support and connectivity the BioMelbourne Network has provided since 2001, whilst actively fostering and growing an innovative, globally competitive sector and transforming the Network, as well as the broader Victorian ecosystem. Whilst our policy makers and leaders work to continue to diversify and modernise the economies of our nation and state, build greater sovereign capability, and create opportunities for growth in Victoria, it will be critical that our sector delivers a clear and aligned voice helping to create a positive and supportive policy and regulated environment that drives investment attraction and commercialisation success.”

“As I embark on this exciting new chapter, I’m energised by the opportunity to lead an incredibly talented team and collaborate across our ecosystem as we advance Victoria’s healthtech sector. I’m honoured to join BioMelbourne as its incoming CEO, and to help the team build on the outstanding work delivered for members every day.”


Media enquiries: Vicky Jones, BioMelbourne Network,

About BioMelbourne Network

BioMelbourne Network is the peak body in the Victorian healthtech industry, driving engagement and growth in research, innovation, commercialisation and manufacturing through local and international networks. Since 2001, we have been actively fostering and growing an innovative, globally competitive sector and transforming our Network as well as the broader Victorian ecosystem. Our members are diverse and experts in their respective fields, from early-career researchers to company executives and experienced directors, and start-ups through to large multinational corporations. We represent universities, researchers, manufacturers, government departments, and the services sector, which includes commercialisation, product design and development, intellectual property, investment and legal sectors.


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