Appointment of Chief Defence Scientist

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The Hon Christopher Pyne MP

Minister for Defence

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The Hon Steven Ciobo MP

Minister for Defence Industry

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24 January 2019

Joint Media Release:

  • Minister for Defence Industry, the Hon Steven Ciobo MP

Professor Tanya Monro has been appointed as the Chief Defence Scientist. She will lead Defence Science and Technology group at a time of increasing requirements for scientific and technology to advance Defence capability.

The Minister for Defence, the Hon Christopher Pyne MP, and the Minister for Defence Industry, the Hon Steven Ciobo MP, welcomed the appointment of Professor Monro, who has an extensive background in science, innovation and strategy and has been influential in shaping national initiatives. 

Professor Monro is currently the Deputy Vice Chancellor and Vice President of Research and Innovation at the University of South Australia, where she has delivered significant organisational transformation and positive cultural change.

Minister Pyne said Professor Monro’s research has had significant impact in areas spanning manufacturing, telecommunications, defence and health.

“Professor Monro will bring her extensive experience working at senior levels in both Industry and Educational Institutions to this integral and nationally significant role. In a complex and changing environment she will lead and develop the Defence science organisation whilst collaborating with research agencies, industry and international partners,” Minister Pyne said. 

Minister Ciobo said Professor Monro will continue to drive quality research and advice on all scientific and technological matters to senior Defence leaders and government whilst leading national research programs that directly impact Defence capability.

“Professor Monro has a strong understanding of the capability needs of the Australian Defence Force with an established network across Defence Industry and Defence on a global scale in the scientific field. As the Chief Defence Scientist, Professor Monro will continue to develop enduring and robust relationships with industry and partners,” Minister Ciobo said.

Professor Monro will commence as the Chief Defence Scientist in March 2019.

Minister Pyne and Minister Ciobo thanked Dr Alex Zelinsky, AO the outgoing Chief Defence Scientist who was appointed as head of the Defence Science and Technology Group (DST) in 2012.

“I pay tribute to Dr Zelinsky who served as Chief Defence Scientist from March 2012 to November 2018. Under his leadership DST has forged new partnerships with industry, academia and international allies, ensuring Defence retained a capability edge through the collaborative development of game-changing technologies,” Minster Pyne said.

Minister Ciobo said Dr Zelinsky has assured DST’s research priorities align to meet future Australian Defence Force requirements and the Group remains a valued enabler of Defence capability.  

“Dr Zelinsky was instrumental in establishing long-term bilateral research and development relationships with Australian companies, universities and international partners in areas of strategic significance to Defence. His outstanding contribution to Defence Science and Technology was recognised with an Officer of the Order of Australia in the 2017 Queen’s birthday honours,” Minister Ciobo said. 

Minister Pyne said it was a pleasure working with Dr Zelinsky who departed the role of Chief Defence Scientist in November 2018 to take up the position of Vice Chancellor at the University of Newcastle.

Background on Professor Monro:

  • Professor Monro has worked in both significant national and international roles whilst working on various boards and committees, including the Prime Minister’s Science Council and the SA Premier’s Science and Industry Council.
  • Professor Monro is recognised for her significant contribution to the understanding of how light can be generated, controlled and used to probe and manipulate matter.
  • An influential leader in the field of photonics Professor Monro is a regular presenter and has had numerous pieces of research published in recognition of her significant findings and contributions to the study of photonics.  

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