Isle Utilities (Asia Pacific): Meet the Team – Dr Kelly Hill, Senior Innovation Manager

Isle Utilities (Asia Pacific) starts their ‘Meet the Team’ series. Our first team member to be profiled is Dr Kelly Hill, Senior Innovation Manager’

Isle Utilities (Asia Pacific) invites you to ‘Meet the Team’. Our first team member to be profiled is Dr Kelly Hill, Senior Innovation Manager’

  • How long have you been an Isle Team Member?  

I have been an Isle team member since July 2022, aptly joining on 4th July – Independence Day (USA)

  • What led you to choose a career in the water sector?  

Having always had the drive to make a difference in the world I followed a career path related to the environment and ended up in the water sector when hired by the Scottish EPA. I was undertaking a Master of Science degree in Sustainable Catchment Management at the time.

  • Did you have a different career path before joining Isle?

My background is related to water – and research. Having undertaken a PhD in South Australia and realising I had spent four years creating and writing a thesis no one may ever read, I decided I needed to move into the communication of science, ensuring research outcomes are made available and adopted into the water industry.

I spent the six years prior to joining Isle at Water Research Australia, where I co-developed and led several national research initiatives with the water industry, including the Collaboration on Sewage Surveillance of SARS-CoV-2 (“ColoSSoS”), and the water industry consortium to support the national CRC Solving Antimicrobial Resistance in Agribusiness, Food and Environments (SAAFE).

  • Have you worked and/or lived outside Australia?

I was born in the UK and lived there until my role with Scottish EPA (SEPA) took me up to live in Eastern Scotland. I then received a scholarship from the International Centre of Excellence for Water and Resource Management (ICE WaRM), which enabled me to conduct my Master’s research in South Australia. That was a three-month research scholarship. 12 years on and I am still here….what can I say, I love this country!


  • What does your role at Isle entail?

My role at Isle brings together two of my passions – ensuring new knowledge is available and adopted into the industry, and National and/or International interest, reach and liaison – These are built into all the programs I work in:

a) W-Lab – Water Technology Innovation Program, which is delivered for Water Services Association Australia (WSAA) to their members. The integrated nature of this program I love, with executive and leadership ideas and support from the ‘Ideation Summit’s Member Intent sessions, to the inclusion, review and technical analysis of the technologies presented into the program by the operators, and staff with experience across that area. This breadth, along with Isle’s expertise in technology innovation mapping, due diligence and trialling, ensures that the program is valuable to W-Lab members. W-Lab provides its members with a network that can understand, drive and leverage the most innovative technologies that align to the needs of the water industry.

b) Bulk Water Innovation Partnership (BWIP).
This program is also a membership-based partnership focusing on source (bulk) water providers. As I have a background in catchment management and I am on the Australian Water Association’s Catchment Management Specialist Network, I really enjoy this group and have a keen interest in the future research and innovation of our bulk water providers.

c) World Water Innovation Forum (WWIF).
This forum is a small group of elite innovators. To be considered for this program, the utility must demonstrate exceptional innovation through trialling new initiatives and technologies. The trial proposals are reviewed by the group, adding further value and then outcomes are shared ensuring learnings can be shared among participants.   This is another member-based program, on which I act as the Asia-Pacific lead, connecting our APAC members to the Isle members globally.


  • Outline the benefits of what you do to Isle as an organisation, to your clients and to the industry sector

The benefits of my role to Isle include the passion I have for collaboration. Needless to say, this is reflected in my role of the Membership Programs lead, I bring like-minded utilities together. For the clients, this benefit translates into knowledge sharing, a network of expertise, and the ability to collaborate and co-fund (saving time and money), for the sector. For the sector more broadly my role – the role in W-Lab, BWIP and WWIF, drives innovation, celebrates the early adopters of new innovations and enables the fast followers to learn while innovating.

  • Outline the successes and benefits of Isle’s operations to the Asia Pacific market?

Some benefits of Isle’s operations to the Asia-Pacific market include:

· the ability to leverage the latest understanding in technology innovation in the water sector

· having Isle staff physically located in the Asia Pacific region, and

· the expansion of knowledge and sharing of lessons globally.

Isle is more than the three programs I am involved with and while this “Getting to know Isle” series is being released, I’d encourage you to read the entries from all Isle staff. The
breadth of the business, and how it impacts and benefits the water sector globally is massive!


  • What do you like about being a part of the Isle team?

The Isle team is a network of innovation, water and energy expertise. The culture is so open and friendly, it’s like being a part of a global family. While each individual has their own expertise, there are great channels of connection among the global staff, and everyone is happy to help and add value where possible.

  • Interests outside work?

Outside of work I have a few key interests, one of which is South Australia specific – and it is the love of South Australian fine wine – particularly Shiraz. South Australia has several world-class wine regions, and, well, being a scientist, a wine lover, and having spent some time at the School of Agriculture, Food & Wine at the University of Adelaide…it isn’t surprising I’ve developed a passion for the art of fine wine.

Another South Australia specific hobby is beach life. Having spent the majority of my life in the UK, in a small village in the middle of England, I try to maximise the time I spend on the beach and I hear that the Adelaide beaches are a few of the beaches outside of Perth, Australia, where the sun sets over the ocean.

  • Anything else to add?

Something that is very dear and special to my heart is my involvement with the Native Waters Network, a grass-roots network in which I am one of 6 co-founders. We are three indigenous and three non-indigenous water carers, where we envision water governance systems that holds indigenous knowledge in equal regard to western scientific
knowledge. Before the pandemic we engaged in a fantastic knowledge exchange with youth from Wemindji in Northern Quebec and South Australian indigenous
communities – watch the video at–cbs to see the exchange in action.


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