Gig Guide: CSIRO taps ANU dean for quantum step up

Joseph Brookes
Senior Reporter

The national science agency has added a local quantum expert to lead a major portfolio, Accenture has poached its rivals’ partners and Defence has picked the universities and contractors to shape its next STaR Shot.

CSIRO this week announced it has appointed Professor Elanor Huntington as its new executive director of digital, national facilities and collections. Professor Huntington joins from the Australian National University, where she is dean of the College of Engineering and Computer Science.

She competed her PhD in experimental quantum optics in 2000, going on to research the control of quantum systems, including the interface between theory and applications.

Professor Elanor Huntington is CSIRO’s new executive director of digital, national facilities and collections. Image supplied

At ANU, Professor Huntington formed three new schools of computing, cybernetics and engineering and oversaw the creation of purpose built infrastructure and cross sector partnerships. She holds board appointments to Innovation Science Australia, Significant Capital Ventures, Questacon, and is involved in other government scientific advisory roles.

CSIRO chief Larry Marshall said Professor Huntington’s experience solving complex challenges meant she was well placed to lead the multidisciplinary digital, national facilities and collections portfolio.

“Innovation happens at the intersection of people and perspectives, which will be critical as she leads a world-class team helping CSIRO to drive Australia’s recovery and future resilience, including reshaping industries through AI and providing national labs and scientific infrastructure for the nation.”

Professor Huntington replaces Dr Dave Williams, who is retiring after nine years with CSIRO.

Earlier this month, CSIRO also added Jonathan Law to its executive team as executive director, growth. Mr Law has led CSIRO’s mineral resources business unit for the past decade and has been with CSIRO for nearly 20 years. He will focus on international partnerships and commercialisation pathways.

Armed with hundreds of millions of dollars in recent government contracts, Accenture has splashed out on some of its rivals’ personnel. The multinational services firm recently added four new managing directors, including a former PwC partner and two former Deloitte partners.

Galia Jenshel has left Deloitte, where she was a partner in its risk advisory business, to be managing director of Accenture’s strategy and consulting business.

Melbourne based Mike Jones also joins Accenture from Deloitte, which bought his analytics consulting firm in 2018 and made him a partner.

Kylee Anastasi is now a managing director in Accenture’s strategy and consulting business after spending more than a decade with PwC. Figen Mizrak also joined Accenture as managing director in its technology advisory division. She was previously a senior manager at PwC.

Denise Goldsworthy will become Edith Cowan University’s (ECU) fifth chancellor after being elected by the university’s council unopposed. Her education background is in metallurgy, but Ms Goldsworthy is better known as a businesswoman, holding leadership roles with Rio Tinto and BHP.

ECU’s current chancellor, Kerry Sanderson, will conclude her term at the end of this year.

The University of Wollongong this week announced the appointment of senior professor Gursel Alici as executive dean of the Faculty of Engineering and Information Sciences.

A graduate of Oxford University, Professor Alici joined UOW in 2004 and has served as head of the University’s School of Mechanical, Materials, Mechatronic and Biomedical Engineering since 2011.

Former Victorian lead scientist Dr Leonie Walsh will lead a new operating in chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear environments (OCE) STaR Shot (science, technology and research) advisory council alongside Defence’s OCE STaR Shot leader Dr Axel Bender.

The council includes four universities, Australian Nuclear Science and Technology, emergency services, Defence’s Science and Technology Group and two contractors, and will design the OCE innovation challenge. The challenges are aimed at aligning strategic research to Defence Force structure priorities.

The innovation manager of global road safety group International Road Assessment Programme will lead an artificial intelligence (AI) project aimed at improving road safety in New South Wales. Monica Olyslagers will lead the Transport for NSW project to use AI to convert raw data from roads into an international standard five-star ratings systems, as well as potentially develop predictive algorithms for fatality and injury outcomes.

“Raising the standard of the world’s roads to a 3-star or better standard for all road users will help to focus policy and investment. With crash costs typically halving with each incremental improvement in star rating, the potential for 3-star or better roads to save lives is significant,” Ms Olyslagers said.

Rebekah Grindlay, Carli Shillito and Sally-Anne Vincent have been made assistant secretaries at the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT), while Christopher Cannan, Kate Duff, Adam McCarthy and Fiona Webster have all been promoted to the position of first assistant secretary.

The Australian Taxation Office, which is involved in its own major and whole of government technology projects, has added two new assistant commissioners: Gail Hopley as product strategy and management and Allannah Traill in service delivery support and improvement.

Finder has added Damon Pezaro as chief product officer, tasking him with scaling Finder’s product vision and strategy internationally. Mr Pezaro joins from online lender Prospa where he spent four years after a senior executive role at Domain Group.

Online safety advocate Jacqueline Beauchere has been named as Snap’s first global head of platform safety. She joins the Snapchat company from Microsoft where she was the tech giant’s  chief online safety officer, overseeing all aspects of its online safety strategy.

Do you know more? Contact James Riley via Email.

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