Upcoming Speakers

  • Dr Elizabeth Finkel

    ASMR Medallist

    'Gene therapy: cure but at what cost?'

    Wednesday, 5 June 2019

    Arrive from 11.30am, lunch 12 noon, speaker 12.30 concludes 1.30pm

    Canberra - 16 National Circuit, Barton ACT 2600

    Book Your Tickets Now

    Science journalists are cautioned never to use to the four letter word “cure.”

    But when it comes to gene therapy, clinicians are daring to use that word.

    They talk of witnessing “biblical results.”   Children with congenital blindness are seeing; three year olds with spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) who should have died by the age of two, are walking and skipping.

    And it’s not just clinicians who are frothing at the mouth.  Big pharma is diving into this space. Last May, Novartis spent $US 8.7 billion to purchase AveExis a gene therapy company that treats SMA.  This February, Roche paid $4.8 billion to buy the start-up company Spark, whose gene therapy product treats blindness.

    As an author of two books about the stem cell and genome revolutions, there are some remarkable features to the gene therapy revolution.

    For one thing, it arrived without me (and many others) noticing.  We all seem to have been dazzled by the hype around CRISPR, a technology that has the power to readily alter the DNA of everything from mosquitoes to mankind, though it has yet to prove itself in the clinic.

    For another, gene therapy seems set to disrupt the way we deliver and pay for medicine.

    The costs are staggering. Novartis has suggested a price tag of $4-5 million for its one-off SMA cure – and that it would be well worth it!  We should find out soon as the FDA is set to approve the treatment this May.

    In this talk allow me to guide you through the gene therapy revolution and how Australian researchers are trying to get into the game.


    Dr Elizabeth Finkel is the recipient of the 2019 medal from the Australian Society for Medical research, the first time it has been awarded to a journalist.

    After a PhD in Biochemistry from the University of Melbourne, she spent five years at the University of California, San Francisco. Returning to Melbourne she turned to freelance journalism.  In 2005 she co-founded the popular science magazine, Cosmos, and from 2013 to 2018 served as Editor in Chief.

    She has written two books: ‘Stem Cells: Controversy at the Frontiers of Science’  and ‘The Genome Generation’.

    She now writes for Cosmos, Science, and The Monthly and contributes to the ABC Science Show.

  • Chris Richardson

    Partner, Deloitte Access Economics

    'Address to the National Press Club on the Future of Work'

    Wednesday, 12 June 2019

    Arrive from 11.30am, lunch 12 noon, speaker 12.30 concludes 1.30pm

    Canberra - 16 National Circuit, Barton ACT 2600

    Book Your Tickets Now

    Deloitte’s Chris Richardson will dispel the myths about robots, work, casual jobs, skills & more. Chris will explain that the future isn’t scary, but it is misunderstood. Deloitte’s ground-breaking research tells us how human skills are hugely under supplied and as a result – skills, rather than occupations or qualifications – are the job currency of the future. These trends in job markets aren’t alarming, they’re liberating, as the boring, repetitive work will be done by robots, leaving the more challenging and interesting work for humans. Deloitte takes a different look at the future of work and explores how what we do at work is changing, as are the skills we need to succeed. This presents an opportunity for business and government to make better choices about our work, our workers, and our workplaces to pave the path to prosperity for all Australians.

To propose a speaker please contact ceo@npc.org.au with a brief bio and photo of the speaker, speech title and brief outline of the speech, along with a proposed date. Your speaker proposal will be presented to the board at the next board meeting for their decision. Please allow up to 8 weeks for notification.