2021 Pearcey Conversations: Online Seminars

March Conversation: Australian Sound Engineering

Online – via Zoom      Wednesday 31 March 2021; 4:00pm – 5:00pm AEDT

Since Pearcey created the first computer to play music, Australia has had a rich heritage in Sound Engineering and Innovation. Join this esteemed panel to discover more about Australia’s sound engineering capabilities; find out what sound quality is and how it’s achieved; and what it means to different people such as music and movie buffs, and those with impaired hearing.

Speakers Include:

  • Alan Davis – Chief Product Officer, Nuheara
  • David McGrath – Principal Member of Technical Staff, Dolby Laboratories
  • Colette McKay – Principal Scientist, Bionics Institute
  • Moderated by Elaine Saunders – Deputy Chair, Pearcey Foundation Melbourne Branch and Managing Director at Bingarra ScaleUp Solutions


David McGrath
Alan Davis
Chief Product Officer
Dr Alan Davis is an experienced audio product engineer who has spent more than 12 years developing and bringing to market innovative audio technologies for consumer electronics and audio communication products. He holds a PhD in Digital Signal Processing from Curtin University, Australia. Alan has held management positions at Dolby Laboratories and Sensear, an industrial communications company.
David McGrath
David McGrath
Principal Member of Technical Staff, Dolby Laboratories
David McGrath graduated from the University of Sydney in 1986 with degrees in Science and Electrical Engineering. Until 1990 he was an integrated circuit designer and his involvement in the development of a specialised chip for Fast Fourier Transform processing eventually led him into the audio field. In the early 1990’s, he worked for a year at the CSIRO Division of Radiophysics, and in 1991 he co-founded Lake Technology, a company that specialised in building Digital Signal Processing systems for use in simulation of room acoustic. Lake’s products for headphone simulation of spatial audio scenes led to a collaboration with Dolby Laboratories that began in 1998 and culminated in the acquisition of Lake, by Dolby, in 2005. Today, David continues to work in the field of spatial audio, as part of the Sound Technology Research group at Dolby Australia.
Colette McKay
Colette McKay
Principal Scientist, Bionics Institute
Professor Colette McKay leads the translational hearing research at The Bionics Institute of Australia. She holds honorary appointments at the University of Melbourne Department of Medical Bionics and Department of Otolaryngology.

She obtained her PhD in Physics in 1979 followed by the Diploma in Audiology in 1980. Until 2005 she contributed to the development of the cochlear implant at the Department of Otolaryngology. Her work in that period led to two prestigious principal research fellowships. In 2005 she took up a chair position at Aston University in Birmingham UK where she developed a new hearing research programme and the new UK undergraduate course in audiology. From 2007 to 2013 she led the Audiology and Deafness Research Group at the University of Manchester, where she retains an honorary appointment. In 2013 she returned to Australia with a veski Senior Innovation Fellowship. www.veski.org.au/colette-mckay Her current research focus includes objective programming of cochlear implants for infants, the development of fNIRS as an imaging tool to evaluate cross modal plasticity in deafness, and the application of signal processing to new deep brain stimulation devices.

Elaine Saunders
Elaine Saunders
Managing Director, Bingarra ScaleUp Solutions
Dr Elaine Saunders is a successful entrepreneur and an advocate on hearing loss. A Biomedical Engineer, Audiological Scientist, business-woman, disruptor, author, speaker and professional Director, Elaine has co-founded and led two award-winning companies which have changed the hearing industry: Blamey Saunders hears, a hearing aid and telehealth company; and Dynamic Hearing Pty Ltd (now part of Cirrus Logic),

Elaine has led two teams to win the Australian Good Design Award and two companies to sustainability and exit. She has advised many companies through growth, from start-up. Elaine’s recent personal awards include the BioMelbourne Network’s Women in Leadership Award (2015), AFR/Westpac’s 100 Women of Influence (2015), the American Academy of Audiology’s Award for Achievements in Industry (2010) and the ATSE Clunies Ross Medal for Entrepreneur of the Year (2016). In 2004 she was the National Telstra Business Woman of the Year winner in the Govt, Private & Corporate Sector. She was a Churchill Fellow, and is a Fellow of the Academy of technology, Science and Engineering.

Elaine is an Adjunct Professor at Swinburne University, and Chair of its Innovation Precinct Advisory Board. She is a Non-Executive Director of the Australian National Fabrication Facility (ANFF),the NFMRI, and a former Non-Exec Director of Alfred Health. She also led the Cooperative Research Centre team that developed a new electrode for Cochlear Ltd.

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