Chris Downs, PhD


Chris Downs has more than 30 years of experience in the food industry as a scientist, innovation leader, and executive, with a focus on science and innovations that support the development of foods and beverages that are healthy, safe, and sustainably produced. Chris brings a global perspective to the ways in which the science of food can improve the global food system.

Chris wants to be known for shaping and improving organizations that support food industry professionals in delivering sustainable nutrition to more than 9 billion people by 2050.

He serves as director of the Food and Beverage Accelerator (FaBA) at the University of Queensland, in Australia. Previously, he was general manager of crop and food science, at the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries in Brisbane. Prior to this, he was research director (food innovation) for the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO). As a member of the CSIRO Agriculture and Food Executive, Chris led the delivery of science and innovation underpinning the development and delivery of healthy, safe, and sustainable foods, food ingredients, and beverages for Australia’s food industry and global consumers.

IFT Highlights

Chris has extensive governance and board experience, including as board chair, in organizations and companies involved in science and innovation in the food system. Recent board roles include the Australian Institute of Food Science and Technology and the High Value Nutrition National Science Challenge, in New Zealand.  


BS from the University of Auckland, New Zealand

MS from the University of Auckland, New Zealand

PhD in protein biochemistry from Macquarie University, Sydney, Australia

GAICD – Graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors