Defence Science and Technology (DST) has announced that Professor Tanya Monro has been appointed as the new Chief Defence Scientist.
Professor Monro will start in the position in March, finishing up her duties as deputy vice chancellor research and innovation and an ARC Georgina Sweet Laureate Fellow at the University of South Australia.
Her expertise is in the field of photonics, with a "focus on sensing, lasers and new classes of optical fibers".
Minister for Defence Christopher Pyne welcomed the appointment of Professor Monro, and said her 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.
Professor Monro was the inaugural director of the Institute for Photonics and Advanced Sensing (IPAS) from 2008 to 2014, as well as inaugural director for the ARC Centre of Excellence for Nanoscale BioPhotonics (CNBP) at the University of Adelaide.
She gained her PhD in physics in 1998 from the University of Sydney, receiving the Bragg Gold Medal for the best Physics PhD in Australia. She's also been recognised for her "significant contribution" to the understanding of how light can be generated, controlled and used to probe and manipulate matter.
“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,” Steven Ciobo, Minister for Defence Industry.
Professor Monro has worked in significant national and international roles while working on various boards and committees, including Prime Minister’s Science Council and the SA Premier’s Science and Industry Council.
Ministers Pyne and Ciobo paid tribute to outgoing chief defence scientist Dr Alex Zelinsky, who departed the role in November last year after taking up the position of vice-chancellor at the University of Newcastle.
“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.