Professor Garnaut has played critical role in the transformation of the Australian policy and business landscape over the past 40 years, with roles including Chief Economic Advisor to Australian Prime Minister Hawke (1983-85), Ambassador to China (1985- 88), Chairman of Bankwest (1988-95), Aluminium Smelters of Victoria (1988-90), Lihir Gold (1995-2010) and Ok Tedi Mining (2011-2013), author of the Garnaut Climate Change Review (2008, 2011) and Director of ZEN Energy and sister company Sunshot Energy and Renergi. During his time as Director ZEN Energy grew from a standing start to become the third largest retailer in South Australia, winning long term contracts to supply the government of South Australia and seven commercial and industrial customers in the SACOME Buying Group with low-cost electricity. He remains a major shareholder in the business.  

He is the author of numerous publications in scholarly journals on international economics, public finance, and economic development. Recent books include, Superpower: Australia’s low carbon opportunity (2019) and Reset: Restoring Australia after the Pandemic Recession (2021). 

Professor Garnaut was made Officer of the Order of Australia (AO) in 1991 for service to education and international relations and a Companion of the Order of Australia (AC) in 2017 for service on climate change and energy. 

He is a Professor of Economics at The University of Melbourne. He was previously distinguished Professor of Economics at the Australian National University, the Director of the ANU Asia Pacific School of Economics and Management and was the longstanding Head of the Department of Economics.




Dr Li obtained his PhD in Chemical Engineering in 1993 from Imperial College London. After completing his postdoctoral research at Imperial College London and CSIRO, he joined Monash University in 1996 where he served as a Lecturer, a Senior Lecturer, a Reader and then a Professor.

During his time at Monash University from 1996 to 2009, a key focus of Dr Li’s research was low-rank fuels, especially Victorian brown coal and biomass. His interest in coal has included many aspects of coal science and technology such as pyrolysis, gasification, liquefaction and combustion of coal, as well as the structure and properties of coal. He has made very important contributions to the science and technology of Victorian brown coal. Some of the findings from his research group are considered important milestones in coal science and cornerstones for the development of novel low emission clean coal technologies. He also worked on biomass utilisation, especially pyrolysis and gasification.

Dr Li took up a role at Curtin University in January 2009. His initial work was to establish a major university research centre, which was further expanded into the current Fuels and Energy Technology Institute one of the largest energy research establishments in Australian universities. During this period he became a John Curtin Distinguished Professor.

At Curtin, Dr Li’s research has been specially focussed on the bioenergy science and engineering, while continuing his research on coal, catalysis and fuel cells. He is the key inventor of the technologies Renergi is commercialising.

Professor Li is the author or co-author of more than 300 papers in international journals and conference proceedings. He is the Editor-in-Chief of Fuel Processing Technology, which is one of the key journals in energy. He has also served as a member of editorial and advisory boards of other international journals.