Howard Partners is a boutique Australian public policy research firm was founded in 1998 by Dr John Howard following a ten-year career as a partner in two of Australia’s largest professional services firms and long-held connections with several Australian universities. The firm was incorporated as a private company in 1999.

Howard Partners was established with a mission to link the scholarly values of academic research with the client-oriented tenets of professional advisory and consultancy services. This mission is embedded in the firm’s culture and drives its approach to every commission and assignment.

From time-to-time, Howard Partners appoints Associates of the firm to supplement capability on specific assignments.

Under the leadership of Dr John Howard, Howard Partners has built up a far-reaching publicly available portfolio of articles, research papers, reports, and monographs (listed in Addendum 1), together with numerous op-eds for newspapers and magazines, including The Financial Review, The Australian, Times Higher Education and speciality publications covering research and innovation (20 published in the last two years). Over the years, John has also built an extended range of connections in the Science, Research, and Innovation system.

This firm’s professional knowledge and experience in public policy, economics, public finance, management strategy, accounting, and strategic communication provide a unique combination of capability that has been applied in commissions and assignments for government, business, universities, and NGOs in science, technology, and innovation. The firm is highly regarded by clients for its work, reflected in ongoing and follow-up engagements and commissions.

Between 2008-and 2011 John was Pro Vice-Chancellor, Innovation and Engagement, University of Canberra. He is currently a Visiting Professor at the UTS Business School and an Adjunct Professor at the Institute for Governance and Policy Analysis (Canberra). He holds a PhD in Engineering (Sydney), an MA in public policy (Canberra), and a BEc, Hons (Tasmania). He has been a Member of the American Academy of Management (AOM) since 2001.

Anne Howard has over 25 years of experience working with some of Australia’s top venture capital investors, researchers, innovators, and entrepreneurs in the commercialisation of research.

Anne has held several executive roles in the NFP sector including as CEO of the Australian Venture Capital Association (AVCAL), Executive Director of Knowledge Commercialisation Australasia (KCA), and the CEO of the Public Relations Institute of Australia (PRIA). Anne’s strategic management skills and ability to develop trust-based relationships underpinned her success in these roles.

Anne has also developed skills in knowledge transfer and research commercialisation, and was the Business Manager leading the successful commercialisation of the BARLEYMAX™ grain technology into a retail breakfast cereal product, for which she was awarded the CSIRO medal for business excellence.

Anne was a member of the NSW Innovation Council and has held several advisory roles in business, government and not-for-profit organisations in the Australia’s Science, Research and Innovation system

Anne holds a Master of Information Studies (Canberra) and a BA (Comms), specialising in public relations, marketing, and communication.

Dr. John Howard

John is a highly experienced policy analyst and management consultant with a track record of achievement in the areas of science, research, and innovation policy, program and project performance review, industry economics, public finance, and regional development.



  • Doctor of Philosophy (Engineering), The University of Sydney, 2004
  • Master of Arts (Public Policy), University of Canberra, 1983
  • Bachelor of Economics (Honours) University of Tasmania, 1971
Honorary Appointments

  • Visiting Professor, UTS Business School, University of Technology Sydney
  • Adjunct Professor, Institute for Governance and Policy Analysis, University of Canberra
Career Profile

John has been Managing Director of Howard Partners since its formation 24 years ago (1998). In that role he has been an adviser and project leader at the forefront of public policy research and analysis, science technology and innovation policy. He is an acknowledged expert in national and regional innovation systems including the “triple helix” model of university-business-government engagement.

In these roles, John has been active in facilitating collaborations and strengthening relationships between universities, businesses, and government. He has advised businesses and governments on the tools and techniques for assessment of research impact, the management of innovation, knowledge transfer and translation, and business transformation. He has a particular interest in the role of public research in lifting national productivity performance.

In 1988 John was invited to join the Partnership of Ernst & Whinney (later E&Y) as a lead Partner for Government Services consulting in Canberra. Five years later, he joined the Partnership of Coopers and Lybrand (now PWC) in Sydney.

Before that, in 1984, John had established John H Howard and Associates, which was the genesis of what is now Howard Partners. His early career had been in the Australian Public Service in policy development, analysis and review (Treasury, Finance, and House of Reps Committee Office as an Inquiry Secretary).

John’s career portfolio includes a copious number of policy reviews, program evaluations and management consulting assignments for research organisations, government, business, and industry bodies. Many of these are on the public record. He is continuing to build a comprehensible professional library in management, science and technology policy, and innovation.

In 2008 John accepted an invitation to take on the role of Director and later Pro Vice-Chancellor (Innovation and Engagement) at the University of Canberra. In that role he was responsible for promotion of innovation and knowledge transfer at the University, engaging with Government and industry, and representing the University in industry forums and networks. He also led teams in the preparation and submission of applications for grants under major higher education funding programs and attracted over $50m in grant funding for the University.

At the end of 2011 John returned to full time consulting with Howard Partners. He retains academic connections through his honorary appointments at University of Canberra Institute for Governance and Policy Analysis and the University of Technology Sydney.


Board Roles

  • Inaugural Chair, Taree Universities Campus, 2019-2020
  • Great Lakes Education Fund, 2011-2020
  • Canberra Business Council, 2007-2012
  • Epicorp Business Incubator, 2008-2012


Anne Howard

Practising public relations, marketing, and communications professional with more than 25 years’ experience in designing and implementing integrated communication campaigns for government organisations, universities, industry associations and not-for-profits.

Anne provides strategic communication advice to organisations looking to build reputation and develop trusted relationships. She is also an expert in attitude and behavioural change.



  • BA (Communication) – public relations, marketing and communications, and social psychology
  • Master’s Degree (Information Studies) – Internet communication and social media. Anne received the Dean’s Award for Excellence
  • Certificate in Colour and Design
  • Australian Institute of Company Director’s course
    Career Profile

    Director, Howard Partners Pty Ltd 1999-present
    Anne has been a director of Howard Partners since its formation in 1999. During that time Anne has led and advised on numerous Howard Partners assignments, particularly those concerned with marketing and communication, knowledge transfer and research commercialisation. Anne has also held several concurrent roles, outlined below.

    CEO, Public Relations Institute of Australia (2016-2017)
    PRIA is the peak body representing more than 4,000 professional PR and communication practitioners across Australia. Anne repositioned the Institute through reinvigoration of the industry’s Golden Target Awards, and introducing a professional development program through online learning.

    Business Manager, Food Futures Flagship, CSIRO (2008-2010)
    Anne led the business team for the successful commercialisation of the novel BARLEYMAX™ grain technology into a retail breakfast cereal product. She was awarded the CSIRO medal for business excellence.

    Director, Anne Howard Communications (2002-2007)
    Anne provided strategic communication advice and delivered national awareness campaigns for technology transfer companies, national professional associations, and commercialisation events in the bio-sciences arena.

    Executive Director, Knowledge Commercialisation Australasia (KCA), 2000-2001
    Anne was retained by the Board of KCA to build a stronger membership and increase awareness and understanding with key stakeholders about innovation, commercialisation, and the role the research community could play in helping to build Australia’s economic success.

    Inaugural Chief Executive Officer, the Australian Venture Capital Association, 1995-1999
    Anne was instrumental in developing AVCAL into a strong and viable industry organisation, taking it from a little-known NGO representing an alternative asset class to a peak industry body that played a key role in the Australian Government’s industry policy agenda, including the introduction of the Innovation Investment Funds (IIF) program.

    Anne successfully raised the awareness and understanding of venture capital with Australian SMEs, entrepreneurs and researchers, the finance sector and funds management industry, angel investors, business advisers, IP lawyers and corporate advisers, governments, and the national media.

    Anne gained support and recognition of the importance of supporting Australian innovation and initiated the Australian Venture Capital Awards, as well as the Annual AVCAL conference.

    Anne was funded by the Australian Government to write one of the first books in Australia about venture funding, Winning Australian Venture Capital, published in 1997. Anne was made a Lifelong Member of AVCAL in 1999.


    Board Roles

    • NSW Innovation Council, serving on three Council Working Groups – Biotechnology, Innovation Culture, and Regional Development
    • AusDance ACT – Canberra’s peak body for Dance
    • Sinfonia Mid North Coast – a community orchestra
    • Deputy Chair of the ACT Chapter of the Public Relations Institute of Australia (PRIA)