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PLuS Alliance Advisory Board Announced

PLuS Alliance Advisory Board Announced

Thursday, August 17, 2017


Former Westpac CEO, UK Labour MP, and a Silicon Valley entrepreneur join Chair Sir Malcolm Grant on the PLuS Alliance Advisory Board

Three of the world’s leading universities have strengthened their shared commitment to advance innovation, research and education by appointing global leaders to an advisory board for the PLuS Alliance.  

Former Westpac CEO Gail Kelly, British former MP Charles Clarke and the Managing Director of Silicon Valley Connect, Ellen Levy, join Sir Malcolm Grant on the PLuS Alliance Advisory Board. Sir Malcolm was appointed Chair in September 2016.

The Alliance was established in February 2016 to bring together three globally influential universities to make a positive and lasting contribution to global innovation, research and education. It is focused on building interdisciplinary collaborative projects in education and research in areas such as sustainable development, global health, social justice, and technology and innovation.

The Advisory Board will play a critical role in providing advice on matters relating to the development and advancement of the Alliance. This includes promoting the Alliance to government and industry and providing independent advice on building global innovation relationships and networks.


Dr Kelly, a leading Australian business figure and former CEO of Westpac, recently established the Gail Kelly Global Leaders Scholarship with a $1million donation. The scholarship provides for an exchange program between UNSW Sydney and the University of Cape Town. She holds a number of international roles, including with the Group of Thirty and Australian

Philanthropic Services. Dr Kelly is also an Adjunct Professor at UNSW Sydney.

The Rt Hon Charles Clarke, a former British Labour Party politician, was the Member of Parliament for Norwich South (1997-2010) and served as Secretary of State for Education (2002-04) and then Home Secretary (2004-06). He holds two Visiting Professorships:  School of Political, Social and International Studies at the University of East Anglia, and Politics and Faith in the Department of Politics, Philosophy and Religion at Lancaster University. He is a Council Member of the European Council of Foreign Relations and a non-executive director of LJ Clarke.

Dr Levy is an investor in over 50 start-ups, a board member and an entrepreneur.  She also serves as the Founding Managing Director of Silicon Valley Connect, an organization helping companies and organizations drive innovation.  Earlier in her career, Dr Levy was an advisor to LinkedIn at its founding, and eventually went on to join the Executive Management team and served as Vice President of Strategic Initiatives up through the company’s IPO. Dr Levy also co-chairs the ASU Innovation Network Council, which aims to build and enhance the university’s interactions with innovative companies and thought leaders in Silicon Valley and throughout America.

Professor Sir Malcolm Grant, Chair of the PLuS Alliance Advisory Board, said:

am absolutely delighted with these three appointments. Each of them has the experience and networks required for this level of leadership, from completely different sectors. They represent the mission of the PLuS Alliance and reflect and enhance our commitment to global education and collaboration. At this early stage of the development of the PLuS Alliance, they bring keen stewardship and the ability to ‘lean in’ and work with us to build global capacity in our research and learning.

Professor Michael M Crow, President, Arizona State University, said: 

Arizona State University is proud to have the “most connected woman in Silicon Valley”, Ellen Levy, join our global efforts. She illustrates so well the transformative power of technology and innovation on learning and research – something so integral and key to the focus of the PLuS Alliance.

Professor Ed Byrne, President and Principal, King’s College London, said:

Charles Clarke is a highly accomplished politician and academic with a keen interest and commitment to social justice. His work in public office as Secretary of State for Education was a standout in its commitment to higher education and its role in the challenges posed by the increasingly rapid process of global change, with a particular and ongoing commitment to international education.

Professor Ian Jacobs, President and Vice-Chancellor, UNSW Sydney, said:

Dr Kelly has an international business reputation after a long career in finance at the highest level. During that career she showed a keen interest and commitment to social justice and education, particularly focusing on projects that cross borders, with a global focus.

Notes to Editors

The PLuS Alliance

The PLuS Alliance has appointed more than 100 Fellows, awarded 20 seed grants, held five international symposia in its core themes, launched the PLuS Alliance Prize for Innovation in Research and Education, and introduced numerous programs at undergraduate and postgraduate level to support students to become global citizens.

Arizona State University

Arizona State University (ASU) has developed a new model for the American research university, creating an institution that is committed to access, excellence and impact. ASU measures itself by those it includes, not by those it excludes. ASU pursues research that contributes to the public good, and it takes responsibility for the economic, social and cultural vitality of the communities that surround it.

King’s College London

King’s College London (King’s) is one of the top 20 universities in the world (2015/16 QS World University Rankings) and among the oldest in England. King’s has a particularly distinguished reputation in humanities, health and medicine, law, sciences and social science, including international affairs. Its research has helped shaped modern life from the discovery of DNA structure to the development of radio, television, mobile phones and radar technology.

UNSW Sydney

UNSW Sydney (UNSW) is a recognised leader in innovation, focusing on areas critical to the future, from climate change, renewable technologies and sustainable cities to business, public health and human rights. Its solar cell engineers hold world records for converting sunlight into electricity, and its quantum physicists are leading the race to build the world’s first quantum computer in silicon. UNSW produces more technology entrepreneurs and top CEOs than any other Australian university.

Charles Clarke

Charles Clarke is a British Labour Party politician, who was Member of Parliament (MP) for Norwich South from 1997 until 2010, a Junior Education Minister in 1998 and served as Home Secretary from 2004 until 2006. In 1997-98 he was a member of the Treasury Select Committee, and then in July 1998 he became Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for School Standards. In July 1999 he was appointed Minister of State at the Home Office, with particular responsibility for the police.

After the 2001 General Election, he joined the cabinet as Labour Party Chair and Minister without portfolio. He was appointed Secretary of State for Education and Skills in October 2002, and then in December 2004 Home Secretary, leaving the Home Office on 5 May 2006, returning to the backbenches. In 2010, Charles Clarke was appointed Visiting Professor to the School of Political, Social and International Studies at the University of East Anglia and was appointed Visiting Professor in the Policy Institute at King’s College London in 2015.

Malcolm Grant

Sir Malcolm is Chairman of the board of the National Health Service, England, and Chancellor of the University of York. He is a barrister with specialist interests in environmental, planning and property law. He was President and Provost of University College London from 2003 to 2013, during which the university rose rapidly in global rankings to being consistently ranked in the top 20 in the world. He was previously Professor and Head of Department of Land Economy at Cambridge, where he also served as Pro-Vice Chancellor. He is an honorary fellow of Clare College, and holds honorary degrees from Cambridge, Otago and UCL. He is a member of the Russian Federation’s International Council on Global Competitiveness of Russian Universities; a trustee of Somerset House; Senior Adviser to Arizona State University; a Bencher of Middle Temple and President of the Council for the Assistance of Academic Refugees (CARA). He has previously served as chairman of the Russell Group, the Local Government Commission for England and the Agriculture and Environment Biotechnology Commission; and has served as a member of the University Grants Committee of Hong Kong, the Higher Education Funding Council for England, the Economic and Social Research Council. He was appointed Chair of the PLuS Alliance Advisory Board in November 2016.

Gail Kelly

Dr Kelly holds a number of international roles: member of the Group of Thirty, the Global Board of Advisors to the US Council on Foreign Relations, member of the McKinsey Advisory Council, senior global adviser to UBS, and director of Woolworths Holdings in South Africa. Within Australia, she is a director of Country Road Group, David Jones, and Australian Philanthropic Services. In addition, she is an adjunct professor at UNSW Sydney, and ambassador for Women’s Empowerment for CARE Australia. Gail retired as CEO of the Westpac Group in February 2015. She is married to Allan and they have four children. She recently published a memoir, Live Lead Learn: My Stories of Life and Leadership (Penguin Random House). The Gail Kelly Global Leaders Scholarship provides an exchange programs for students of UNSW Sydney and University of Cape Town.

Ellen Levy

Ellen Levy is Managing Director of Silicon Valley Connect, working with organisations and entrepreneurs on opportunities for networked innovation. She actively manages a portfolio of about 25 start-ups either as an angel investor or advisory board member. Ellen has spent much of the last decade working with LinkedIn, including having served as Vice President of Strategic Initiatives, head of Corporate & Business Development and member of the Executive Team, and her original role as Advisory Board member when the company was first founded. Prior to LinkedIn, Ellen spent two years running a ground-breaking program at Stanford University, facilitating collaboration between industry partners, Silicon Valley, and the University research community by championing questions related to people, technology and innovation. During her career, Ellen has held formal roles in venture capital (Softbank Venture Capital; NeoCarta Ventures; Draper Fisher Jurvetson), start-ups (WhoWhere, sold to Lycos; Softbook Press, sold to Gemstar; LinkedIn, LNKD), technology think tanks (Interval Research), large corporations (Apple Computer, AAPL; PriceWaterhouse Coopers), and universities (Harvard University; Stanford University). Recently referred to as the Most Connected Woman in Silicon Valley, Ellen focuses much of her time on the dynamics of social networks within "the enterprise," social media and the consumer Internet, innovation ecosystems and supporting organisational models. She has a BA from the University of Michigan, and MA/PhD in Cognitive Psychology from Stanford University.

PLuS Alliance Advisory Board