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Chief Defence Scientist

Dr Alex Zelinsky was appointed Chief Defence Scientist and head of DSTO in December 2011, and took up this position on March 12, 2012.

Chief Defence Scientist, Dr Alex Zelinsky
Chief Defence Scientist, Dr Alex Zelinsky

Dr Zelinsky’s career spans innovation, scientific and industrial research and development, commercial start-ups and education.

Prior to becoming Chief Defence Scientist and Chief Executive of the DSTO, Dr Zelinsky was Group Executive for Information Sciences at the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) and Director of CSIRO’s Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) Centre.

Before this, Dr Zelinsky was Chief Executive Officer and co-founder of Seeing Machines, a high-technology company developing computer vision systems. The company is listed on the London Stock Exchange and was a start-up from the Australian National University in Canberra, Australia, where Dr Zelinsky was Professor of Systems Engineering.

Dr Zelinsky researched in robotics and computer vision at the AIST Electrotechnical Laboratory in Japan and has taught and conducted research in computer science at the University of Wollongong, New South Wales, Australia. He started his career as a Systems Engineer with BHP Steel International.

Dr Zelinsky has extensively advised Federal and State governments in Australia. Most recently as a member of the Australian Government's Defence Industry Innovation Board. He has served on the advisory panels to the Australian Research Centre (ARC) Centre for Vision Science and the ARC Centre of Excellence for Autonomous Systems.

Academic qualifications

Dr Zelinsky has been awarded a:

  • Bachelor of Mathematical Sciences (Honours), University of Wollongong
  • Doctor of Philosophy, University of Wollongong
  • Graduate Diploma, Australian Institute of Company Directors
  • Completed Advanced Management Program, Harvard University
  • Honorary Doctor of Science, University of Wollongong


Dr Zelinsky's contributions to science have been recognised by numerous science and industry awards including:

  • Australian Engineering Excellence Awards, 1999 and 2001
  • Business-Higher Education Round Table Award, 2001
  • Australian Information Industries Award (iAward), 2002 and 2006
  • Australian Eureka Science Prize, 2002
  • US R&D magazine Top 100 Award, 2002
  • ATSE Clunies-Ross National Science & Technology Award, 2005
  • IEEE Inaba Technical Award for Innovation Leading to Production, 2010
  • Warren Centre, Innovation Hero Award, 2012 (Dr Zelinsky delivered the 2013 Innovation Lecture)
  • Pearcey Foundation, Pearcey Medal for lifetime achievement in ICT sector, 2013

Dr Zelinsky has been elected as a:

  • Fellow of the Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering (FTSE)
  • Fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (FIEEE)
  • Fellow of the Institution of Engineers Australia (FIEAust)
  • Fellow of Australian Institute of Company Directors (FAICD)

The World Economic Forum named Dr Zelinsky a Technology Pioneer in 2003, 2004 and 2005.

In 2009, Engineers Australia named Dr Zelinsky Professional Engineer of the Year (Sydney Division) and he has been included in Engineers Australia’s list of the 100 most influential engineers since that year.