Alex Zelinsky

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Alex Zelinsky

Dr Alex Zelinsky.jpg
Born (1960-03-05) 5 March 1960 (age 58)
EducationUniversity of Wollongong
AwardsOfficer of the Order of Australia
Scientific career
FieldsMobile robotics
ThesisEnvironment exploration and path planning algorithms for mobile robot navigation using sonar (1991)
Chief Defence Scientist
In office
March 2012 (2012-03) – October 2018 (2018-10)
Preceded byRobert Clark
Vice-chancellor of University of Newcastle
Assumed office
November 2018 (2018-11)
Preceded byCaroline McMillen

Alexander "Alex" Zelinsky, AO, FTSE[1] (born 5 March 1960) is an Australian computer scientist, systems engineer, roboticist, and the Chief Defence Scientist of Australia since March 2012. His career spans innovation, science and technology, research and development, commercial start-ups and education. As Chief Defence Scientist he leads Defence Science and Technology for Australia's Department of Defence.[2][3][4]


While studying at the University of Wollongong (UoW), Zelinsky started his career in 1978 as a cadet at The Broken Hill Proprietary Company Limited (BHP). In 1984 he joined UoW's academic staff where he taught computer science while completing a PhD in robotics. He worked as a Research Scientist at the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST), Japan, developing computer vision and robotics technologies (1991–1994). He was appointed Professor of Systems Engineering at the Australian National University in 1996, holding that position until 2004.[5] In 2000 as CEO, he co-founded, and was a non-executive director of,[6] Seeing Machines Limited, a company listed on the London Stock Exchange (2000–2014).[7] He has also been a Senior Executive at CSIRO (2004–2012), where he served as Director of the ICT Centre (2004–2009), and Group Executive of Information Sciences (2007–2012).[5]

Since March 2012, Zelinsky has been Chief Defence Scientist and head of the Defence Science and Technology Group.[8]

On 20 June 2018, Zelinsky was announced as the next Vice-Chancellor and President of the University of Newcastle (UoN) following the retirement of Caroline McMillen.[9] He assumed the role in November 2018.[10]

Qualifications and awards[edit]

Zelinsky has a Bachelor of Mathematical Sciences (Honours), a Doctor of Philosophy, and in 2010 was awarded an honorary Doctor of Science,[5][6] all from the University of Wollongong.[11] He also served as a member of the University of Wollongong Council (2012–2015).[12]

Zelinsky is a Fellow of:

Some of his awards and appointments include:

  • In 2003, 2004,[15] and 2005, the World Economic Forum selected Dr Zelinsky as a Technology Pioneer in recognition of his commercialisation of technology with Seeing Machines.
  • In May 2005 he was awarded the ATSE's Clunies-Ross Award "for successful innovation involving the application of science and technology for the benefit of Australia".[6][16]
  • Since 2008 he has been named as one of Australia's 100 most influential engineers.[17]
  • In 2011 he led the CSIRO team named as a Global Supplier of the Year by Boeing.[18]
  • In 2012 he was named as an Innovation Hero by The Warren Centre for Advanced Engineering.[19]
  • In 2013 he was awarded the Trevor Pearcey Medal by the Pearcey Foundation for "distinguished lifetime achievement and contribution to the development and growth of the ICT professions, research and industry in Australia".[20][21]
  • In 2015 he was awarded the M A Sargent Medal by Engineers Australia for outstanding professional contributions to engineering.[22]
  • In 2017 he was appointed an Officer of the Order of Australia (AO) in the 2017 Queen's birthday honours. Dr Zelinsky was recognised "for distinguished service to defence science and technology, to systems engineering, and to education as an academic and researcher".[1]

Lists of Publications[edit]


  1. ^ a b Officer in the General Division of the Order of Australia, 12 June 2017, Media Notes pg.55, 2017 Queen's Birthday Honours list,
  2. ^ Langford, Ben (11 January 2012). "UOW's Alex Zelinsky top defence scientist". Illawarra Mercury. Fairfax Media. Retrieved 29 June 2015.
  3. ^ "Chief Defence Scientist". Archived from the original on 4 June 2012. Retrieved 21 June 2012.
  4. ^ On 23 December 2011, Warren Snowdon, Minister for Defence Science and Personnel, announced that Zelinsky would become Australia's Chief Defence Scientist in early 2012, following the retirement of Robert Clark from the role in October 2011.
    Dr Alex Zelinsky appointed as new CDS – 2012 Archived 2012-05-03 at the Wayback Machine., Media Release – Minister Warren Snowdon,
  5. ^ a b c Alex Zelinsky Archived 27 November 2012 at, UoW Council Member Profile,
  6. ^ a b c d e Board of Directors Archived 2012-06-03 at the Wayback Machine., Seeing Machines Limited.
  7. ^ Seeing Machines Limited website,
  8. ^ "Dr Alex Zelinsky". Defence Science and Technology Group. Retrieved 21 June 2018.
  9. ^ "New Vice-Chancellor announced". University of Newcastle. 20 June 2018. Retrieved 20 June 2018.
  10. ^ "Welcome Professor Alex Zelinsky AO". University of Newcastle. 19 November 2018. Retrieved 9 December 2018.
  11. ^ University of Wollongong website,
  12. ^ University Council Archived 2011-04-09 at the Wayback Machine., University of Wollongong
  13. ^ IEEE Fellows List[permanent dead link],
  14. ^ Institute of Engineers Honorary Fellows List, Engineers Australia website
  15. ^ Apax Partners (2004). "The next big thing? – The World Economic Forum's Technology Pioneers 2004" (PDF). World Economic Forum. p. 25. Retrieved 3 November 2012.[permanent dead link]
  16. ^ Past Award Winners Archived 2012-06-02 at the Wayback Machine., ATSE Clunies-Ross award,
  17. ^ Australia's Top 100 Engineers, Engineers Australia Website
  18. ^ Boeing names the CSIRO Supplier of the Year Archived 12 May 2013 at the Wayback Machine., Australian Government Dept of Innovation Website
  19. ^ Innovation Hero Awards, Warren Centre Website
  20. ^ Pearcey Medal for Lifetime Achievement, The Pearcey Foundation,
  21. ^ 2013 National Medal, The Pearcey Foundation,
  22. ^ "Electrical College Awards Evening 2015 |". Retrieved 2017-07-16.

External links[edit]

Government offices
Preceded by
Bob Clark
Chief Defence Scientist of Australia
Academic offices
Preceded by
Caroline McMillen
vice-chancellor of the University of Newcastle