Professor Robert Perrons

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PhD in Engineering (University of Cambridge), S.M. (Massachusetts Institute of Technology), Bachelor of Engineering (McMaster University)

Prior to joining QUT in 2011, Rob worked in a wide variety of roles and locations for Shell International’s Exploration & Production division.  He started his career in Shell’s Strategy & Economics team in 1997, and then worked for several years as a production engineer in the company’s overseas operations (offshore and onshore). He then left Shell for three years to work as an Industrial Research Fellow at the University of Cambridge, but re-joined Shell again in 2004 to become the company’s Executive Coordinator of Global Research & Development in The Hague. He graduated summa cum laude with a B.Eng. in mechanical engineering from McMaster University in Canada.  He also earned a Master's degree in Technology & Policy from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and a PhD in engineering from the University of Cambridge, where he was a Gates Cambridge Scholar.  He is a Fellow of both the UK’s Institution of Mechanical Engineers (IMechE) and Engineers Australia, and is chartered as a Eur. Ing. in Europe.  Additionally, he serves as an adviser to Unearthed Solutions, EnergyLab, and several energy and resource sector technology startups around the world. Rob was named as a Fulbright Scholar in 2020, is a member of the United Nations Resources and Energy Expert Group, and serves the Australian Government on an ad hoc basis as a member of their Expert Network to advise on matters related to innovation and emerging technologies in the energy and resource sectors. He lives in the Brisbane area with his three sons.

Additional information

  May 2011 – present                         Queensland University of Technology                     Brisbane, QLD, Australia Professor of Technology Management & Strategy
  • Research and publishing in the field of technology management and strategy, mainly with an emphasis on the energy industry and resource sector
  • Lecturing and teaching in the area of technology management and business strategy
  • Concurrently linked to the University of Cambridge as an Affiliated Researcher
  • Served until 2017 as leader for university-wide “Transforming Innovation Systems” research theme via the university’s Institute for Future Environments
  May 2019 – present                                              United Nations                                          Geneva, Switzerland Member of Expert Group – Resources and Energy
  • Provide strategic and technical advice to policymakers and thought leaders from the resources and energy domain, including governments, companies, and academia
  • Offer provocative “what if?” scenarios to stretch strategic thinking about future of energy and resources
  • Gave keynote address at annual meeting at UN’s Geneva office in 2019
  May 2015 – present                                   Australian Government                                 Canberra, ACT, Australia Member of Expert Network – Energy Industry, Energy Technologies, and Innovation 
  • Provide advice to government and relevant stakeholders about the energy industry and emerging innovations within the sector
  • Help to accelerate the commercialization of promising new energy technologies
  January 2015 – August 2015                  Queensland University of Technology             Brisbane, QLD, Australia Acting PwC Chair in Digital Economy
  • Helped to shape research agenda for newly established endowed Chair at the university
  • Cultivated links with industry and government
  • Worked extensively with a broad range of organizations including Australia Post, utility companies, and venture capitalists to explore new business models for the digital economy
  • Delivered frequent media and invited speaker engagements
  • Assisted with global search to find suitable candidate for the Chair on an ongoing basis
  Jan. 2010 – April 2011                          Shell Exploration & Production Co.                     New Orleans, LA, USA Manager – Learning & Development
  • Developed and deployed learning strategies for a population of approximately 950 professionals
  • Facilitated discussions with Shell’s high-level executives to align learning portfolio with business needs, and to determine how portfolio should be amended in the future
  March 2006 – Dec. 2009                                   Shell International E&P                           New Orleans, LA, USA Smart Fields Consultant
  • Negotiated with asset managers to “right-size” Smart Fields technologies and capabilities for each target asset, and identified where smart technologies would deliver maximum value
  • Developed and managed strategic roadmap that articulated timeline for deployment of key Smart Fields technologies
  • Managed program communications and teaching
  Sept. 2006 – May 2008                                   Bear Stearns – Primary Insight                      New York, NY, USA Subject Matter Expert (ad hoc basis)
  • Explained high-level technical oil & gas concepts to members of the financial industry such as hedge fund managers, stock brokers, and investment analysts
  • Offered forward-looking projections as to how technologies are evolving in the upstream oil & gas industry, and put forward perspectives on the strategic implications of these developments
  Oct. 2004 – Feb. 2006                                   Shell International E&P                          Rijswijk, The Netherlands Executive Coordinator of Research & Development
  • Prepared executive-level presentations and speeches for internal and external audiences, frequently including VIPs such as senior government officials and CEOs of energy firms
  • Facilitated and organized meetings for senior managers within Shell E&P’s R&D organization
  • Orchestrated monthly and quarterly results reporting process from R&D division to higher levels of the organization
  • Managed research links between Shell E&P and University of Cambridge
  Oct. 2001 – Sept. 2004                                            University of Cambridge                                  Cambridge, UK Industrial Research Fellow & Lecturer
  • Mapped technology make vs. buy strategies with CEOs, CTOs, and senior managers in industry
  • Provided consulting services to Caterpillar Inc. to advise on high-level outsourcing policies
  • Taught undergraduate and post-graduate classes, executive education programs
  Aug. 1998 – Sept. 2001                                Shell UK Exploration & Production                             Aberdeen, UK Production Engineer
  • Managed long-term strategic and manpower planning for US$150 million/year facility
  • Developed low-cost technical solution for pipeline liquids problem at Bacton gas terminal, thereby saving the company nearly $500,000
  • Optimized operations and environmental performance at Bacton gas processing plant
  • Led production operations and maintenance teams on the Cormorant Alpha platform in the North Sea, and completed training for shift supervisor position
  • Acted as technical advisor in support of legal defense for tax disagreement with UK government
  • Planned extensive maintenance routines and Permit to Work logistics for scheduled shutdown periods, and conducted “toolbox talks” to ensure jobs were carried out safely
  • Advised project team on technical feasibility of proposal to export Norwegian oil to UK terminals via spare capacity in North Sea pipelines
  Nov. 1997 – July 1998                                 Shell International E&P                        The Hague, The Netherlands Strategy & Economics Analyst
  • Worked with executive-level managers to develop scenarios for energy industry in 2020
  • Developed and led operations for communications and media strategy