Innovation, Enterprise and Technology

Strategic Innovation Leadership

I am founder and director of the UNSW Business AI Lab and deputy director of the UNSW AI Institute.

Australia lags in university-industry partnerships and engagement. I have a strong track record in working with industry and startups on sharing knowledge, know-how and establishing collaborative projects. I also inspire and connect my team to exciting opportunities.

I established and lead the team that developed an exciting and innovative data analytics research program into CBA. We delivered exceptional customised research-based training to more than 5000 bank employees over 2 years. Building on this high level of engagement I developed the CBA-UTS Social Robotics Partnership with William Judge, head of Social Robotics at CBA. This created unprecedented opportunities for PhD Students and undergraduates to work with CBA business clients in the CBA Innovation Lab. 

My work has been adopted by numerous industry partners and researchers alike. IBM has been a strong supporter through an ARC Linkage Project and seven IBM PhD Fellowships for talented students in my research team.

I led the effort to bring UTS into the US-based startup Willow Garage and the Personal Robot 2 Community with Stanford University, MIT, Cornell University, Carnegie Mellon University, University of Tokyo, Samsung, Bosch and several other leading universities.  

Recently I developed partnerships with the Softbank, self-flying drone startup HEXO+, and the South Western Sydney Local Health District.

I led the UTS-Stanford Launchpad project (2016 - 2019) that culminated in the creation and co-design of UTS Launchpad.

Partnership with HEXO+
Partnership with HEXO+

International and National Innovation Leadership

  • Advisory Council CNBC DIsruptor 50 Connect 2023
  • Advisory Board member for several amazing startups including CipherStash a startup that focuses on encryption in use and Kit a Commonwealth Bank of Australia Company that helps kids learning saving behaviours since 2022.
  • Australian SKA Regional Centre (AusSKA) Board member 2023 - 2026 - the Australian regional centre for the international SKA (Square Kilometre Array) project one of the worlds largest science projects expected to last more than 50 years. Australia will host SKA-Low, which will have 131,072 antennas receiving low-frequency radio waves. Each antenna will be 2 metres tall and shaped like a Christmas tree. SKA-Low will be constructed at Inyarrimanha Ilgari Bundara, the CSIRO Murchison Radio-astronomy Observatory in Western Australia.
  • Advisory Board of the Defence TrailBlazer for Workforce, Innovation & Culture 2023 - 2026.
  • Advisory Council CNBC DIsruptor 50 Connect 2022
  • United Nations
  • Expert Advisory Group, Economic Impact of Artificial Intelligence 2017 - 2019
  • Tech Against Terrorism 2016 - 2019
  • 2019 UK Government Study Impact of AI in Healthcare 
  • South Western Sydney Local Health District Innovation Reference Group since 2016.
  • Robotics RoadMap for Australia, Advisory Group 2017 - 2018
  • Bragg Prize for Best Australian Science Writing Advisory Board 2018
  • US National Robotics Week from 2012
  • China Science Week - Keynote Address and Robot Demonstrations 
  • Australian Research Council
  • ARC College of Experts: 2006 - 2008
  • ARC Consultant: 2009
  • Excellence in Research for Australia (ERA): 2011 - 2013.
  • Influencing State and Federal Government Policy
  • Dept of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Leadership Program, Invited Speaker on AI Policy
  • ANZ School of Business Executive Program, Invited Speaker on AI Policy
  • Business Missions: USA
  • Advice and recommendations: Innovation, technology and entrepreneurship
  • Reports: Advanced AI technologies
  • Academy of Science: Robotics,  AI Report and Invited Talk
  • Academy of Technology, Science and Engineering: Report writing; Invited talks; Membership Committee from 2018.
  • Sydney Science Week Festival 
  • World Science Festival

  • ACM Awards Committee: Eugene L. Lawler Award For Humanitarian Contributions Within Computer Science And Informatics 2014 - 2018. ACM is the prestigious American Computing Machinery the peak body for computing.
  • Scientific Foundation KR Inc: President 2006 - 2008; Past President 2008- 2010; Non-executive Director since 2010. KR Inc is the peak body for knowledge representation and reasoning a critical area in AI research and computing.
  • Other Award Committees
  • Australasian AI National Awards Committee from 2015.
  • IJCAI Best Paper
  • KR Best Paper
  • International Conference on Social Robotics Best Paper
  • Ro-MAN Prize Committee
  • Advisory Boards
  • Australian Robotics Roadmap 2017 - 2018
  • Disruptive Innovation Week, Sydney 2017 and 2018
  • International Joint Conference on Artificial Intelligence (IJCAI)
  • Editorial Boards
  • Advanced Intelligent Systems, Wiley, from 2018
  • Information Systems Journal from 2014
  • International Journal for Social Robotics from 2012
  • Artificial Intelligence Journal, 2007 - 2017.
  • Journal of Artificial Intelligence Research, 2006 -2009.
  • Major Scientific Conference Leadership: KR, IJCAI, ICSR, AAAI Symposiums, RoboCup Symposium, see community engagement  for more.
  • Program Committees: IJCAI, AAAI, ECAI, JELIA, HRI - for more see Program Committees for more.

Australian Research Council Projects: 10 x ARC Discovery Projects; 2 x ARC Linkage Projects

Other Major External GrantsEU 7th Framework; Australia China Partnership; Australia Japan Foundation; 

Early Career Researcher Opportunity and Development: 8 x Postdoctoral Fellows; 4 x Chancellor Fellows; 2 x Endeavour Leadership Fellowships; 7 x IBM PhD Fellowships

Coaching Student Teams and Individuals

  • Social Robotics team competing at RoboCup@Home; won the Best Human-Robot Interface Award and second place in the Social Robot league.
  • A wide variety of presentations for the public and the research community, e.g. UTS Shape Shifters
  • Robot Soccer I have led more than a dozen internationally competitive teams to International World Championships since 2002; 
  • 100,000 € Valeo Challenge: The UTS Unleashed! team were Finalist out of 1000 entries which included top universities around the world; 
  • Enabling Work Experience School Students: Topics include robotics, software engineering, design thinking, ideation, prototyping, technology and society.

University Leadership

  • Roche, Digital Diagnosis Innovation, 2022-2023

  • Judge, The Legal Forecast's Disrupting Law Competition 2023

  • CBA, Stocklands and ATN Social Robotics Partnership Steering Committee, 2016 - 2019

  • Partnership Leader, CBA Social Robotics Project, 2016 - 2019

  • EY Data Analytics Partnership Steering Committee 2016 - 2017

  • Director, Disruptive Innovation, UTS 2015 - 2017 a newly created university-wide role to help inspire and energise transdisciplinary teaching, research and industry engagement.

  • Program Director, CBA Data Analytics Exec Training 2014 - 2016 $1.3M external income

  • Project Lead, EY on Disruptive Innovation 2015 - 2017.

  • UTS Chancellor Research Awards Selection Committee 2013 and 2016

  • University Workload Policy Review Committee 2010 - 2016

  • Associate Dean, Research, Engineering and IT, UTS July 2010 - February 2014
  • Assistant Dean, Research, Business and Law, University of Newcastle, 2002,
  • Assistant Dean, Teaching and Learning, Business and Law, University of Newcastle, 2000 - 2002.
  • Head, Information Systems, Business and Law, University of Newcastle, 1998 - 2000.

Awards and Recognition

  • Best Faculty Advisor Award, Enactus Australia
  • Fellow, AAAI 2022
  • Google Faculty Award 2021-2022
  • Australasian Distinguished Artificial Intelligence Contribution Award 2019
  • Google Faculty Award 2019-2020
  • #16 on 365 Women in STEM 2017
  • Distinguished Professor, University of Technology Sydney 2017
  • PhD Supervisor Award, Faculty of Engineering and Information Technology, 2016
  • Meet 6 impressive Aussie women scientists, International Day of Women and Girls in Science. Compiled by SBS, 2016
  • PhD Supervisor Award, Faculty of Engineering and Information Technology, 2015
  • Fellow, Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering (ATSE), 2015
  • Fellow, Australian Computer Society (ACS), 2014
  • Top 25 Women in Robotics 2013: "The women on this list are all field leaders with a
  • huge impact on robotics, regardless of their gender"
  • Pauli Fellowship, Wolfgang Pauli Institute, Center of Excellence in Mathematics, Physics and Informatics/Computer Science, Austrian Ministry of Science and Research, Vienna, 2008
  • IBM Faculty Award a highly prestigious award; only Australian recipient in 2007
  • University of Edinburgh Law School LL.M Award 2006 - 2008
  • Commonwealth Fellowship, Australian Academy of Science 1996
  • Fellowship, British Council 1996
  • Australasian Distinguished Doctoral Dissertation Award 1994 Computing Science Association now CORE


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