Alex Zelinsky

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Alex Zelinsky
Professor Alex Zelinsky on 27 January 2014
Vice-Chancellor of the University of Newcastle
Assumed office
November 2018
Preceded byCaroline McMillen
Chief Defence Scientist
In office
March 2012 – November 2018
Preceded byRobert Clark
Succeeded byTanya Monro
Personal details
Born (1960-03-05) 5 March 1960 (age 63)
Wollongong, New South Wales
Alma materUniversity of Wollongong
AwardsOfficer of the Order of Australia
M. A. Sargent Medal
Scientific career
FieldsMobile robotics
InstitutionsUniversity of Newcastle
Defence Science and Technology Group
Australian National University
University of Wollongong
ThesisEnvironment exploration and path planning algorithms for mobile robot navigation using sonar (1991)

Alexander ‘Alex’ Zelinsky, AO, FAA, FTSE, FRSN[1] (born 5 March 1960) is an Australian computer scientist, systems engineer and roboticist. His career spans innovation, science and technology, research and development, commercial start-ups and education. Zelinsky is vice-chancellor and president of the University of Newcastle joining the university in November 2018.[2] He was the Chief Defence Scientist of Australia from March 2012 until November 2018. As Chief Defence Scientist he led defence science and technology for Australia's Department of Defence.[3][4][5]


While studying at the University of Wollongong (UoW), Zelinsky started his career in 1978 as a cadet systems engineer 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.[6] In 2000 as chief executive officer (CEO), he co-founded, and was a non-executive director of,[7] Seeing Machines Limited, a company listed on the London Stock Exchange (2000–2014).[8] 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).[6]

Zelinsky was Chief Defence Scientist and head of the Defence Science and Technology Group from March 2012[9] until November 2018.

On 20 June 2018, Zelinsky was announced as the next vice-chancellor and president of the University of Newcastle[10] following the retirement of Caroline McMillen.[11] He assumed the role 19 November 2018.[12]

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,[6][7] all from the University of Wollongong.[13] He also served as a member of the University of Wollongong Council (2012–2015).[14]

Zelinsky is a Fellow of:

Zelinsky’s awards and appointments include:

Lists of publications[edit]


  1. ^ a b Officer in the General Division of the Order of Australia Archived 6 September 2017 at the Wayback Machine, 12 June 2017, Media Notes pg.55, 2017 Queen's Birthday Honours list,
  2. ^ "Welcome Professor Alex Zelinsky AO". The University of Newcastle, Australia. 19 November 2018. Retrieved 9 April 2019.
  3. ^ Langford, Ben (11 January 2012). "UOW's Alex Zelinsky top defence scientist". Illawarra Mercury. Fairfax Media. Retrieved 29 June 2015.
  4. ^ "Chief Defence Scientist". Archived from the original on 4 June 2012. Retrieved 21 June 2012.
  5. ^ 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,
  6. ^ a b c Alex Zelinsky Archived 27 November 2012 at, UoW Council Member Profile,
  7. ^ a b c d e Board of Directors Archived 2012-06-03 at the Wayback Machine, Seeing Machines Limited.
  8. ^ Seeing Machines Limited website,
  9. ^ "Dr Alex Zelinsky". Defence Science and Technology Group. Archived from the original on 21 June 2018. Retrieved 21 June 2018.
  10. ^ Gregory, Helen (20 June 2018). "University of Newcastle's new vice-chancellor Dr Alex Zelinsky will accelerate translation of research". Newcastle Herald. Retrieved 9 April 2019.
  11. ^ "New Vice-Chancellor announced". University of Newcastle. 20 June 2018. Retrieved 20 June 2018.
  12. ^ "Welcome Professor Alex Zelinsky AO". University of Newcastle. 19 November 2018. Retrieved 9 December 2018.
  13. ^ University of Wollongong website Archived 25 February 2016 at the Wayback Machine,
  14. ^ University Council Archived 2011-04-09 at the Wayback Machine, University of Wollongong
  15. ^ "Professor Alexander Zelinsky | Australian Academy of Science". Retrieved 4 June 2019.
  16. ^ IEEE Fellows List,
  17. ^ "IEEE Fellows 2008 | IEEE Communications Society".
  18. ^ Institute of Engineers Honorary Fellows List, Engineers Australia website
  19. ^ "Fellows of the Royal Society of NSW (Z)". Royal Society of New South Wales. Archived from the original on 2 April 2021. Retrieved 2 July 2021.
  20. ^ 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]
  21. ^ Past Award Winners Archived 2012-06-02 at the Wayback Machine, ATSE Clunies-Ross award,
  22. ^ Australia's Top 100 Engineers Archived 26 December 2016 at the Wayback Machine, Engineers Australia Website
  23. ^ Boeing names the CSIRO Supplier of the Year Archived 12 May 2013 at the Wayback Machine, Australian Government Dept of Innovation Website
  24. ^ Innovation Hero Awards, Warren Centre Website
  25. ^ Pearcey Medal for Lifetime Achievement, The Pearcey Foundation,
  26. ^ 2013 National Medal, The Pearcey Foundation,
  27. ^ "Electrical College Awards Evening 2015 |". Retrieved 16 July 2017.
  28. ^ "Bragg Fellow Biographies". Retrieved 7 November 2019.

External links[edit]

Government offices
Preceded by Chief Defence Scientist of Australia
Succeeded by
Academic offices
Preceded by Vice-Chancellor of the University of Newcastle