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Top 100 : 2012
32 COVER STORY -- TOP 100 ENGINEERS AUSTRALIA | JUNE 2012 Academia/ Research Alex Zelinsky, 52 Chief Defence Scientist and Chief Executive Officer, Defence Science and Technology Organisation, Canberra Electrical engineer, University of Wollongong IT HAS been a year of challenges and change for Dr Alex Zelin- sky. At CSIRO, he had executive responsibility for a $256 million project, building the Australian Square Kilometre Array Pathfinder -- a radio telescope in the WA desert powered by a peta-flop super computer facility. The project is expected to be completed next March. In March this year however, Zelinsky left CSIRO to join the Department of Defence as chief defence scientist and head of the Defence Science and Technology Organisation. He said the new workplace is an outstanding world-class research and development organisation with a budget of $460 million and 2600 staff. "I have always sought to work with the best people on the most challenging projects I could find. I have changed my job every six to nine years and I have worked in a wide range of situations: small and large teams, academia and industry, multinationals and start-up companies, in Australia and abroad. "Working on frontier technologies applied to challenging large- scale projects has kept me at the forefront of my profession and allowed me to make a difference . As a result I have never been bored with my work and have always enjoyed using engineering to push at the frontiers of science." However, he said interpersonal relationships on projects are the most rewarding: "Working with people you admire and respect is an enriching experience. I have had great mentors and coaches [and] make a point of being available to give up-and-coming individuals a helping hand." Max Lu, 49 Senior Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research), University of Queensland, Brisbane Chemical engineer, Northeastern University China IN 2008 Professor Max Lu moved into the senior executive leadership team of the University of Queensland (UQ) to help enhance the overall research performance and reputation of the university. He is proud of his achievements as deputy vice- chancellor (research) and senior deputy vice-chancellor in lifting UQ s international ranking into the top 100 in the world. "Through my leadership and strategic oversight [over the past year] UQ has established several major partnerships with industry, including the $25 million BaoSteel Joint R&D Centre and the $10 million Dow Centre for Sustainable Engineering Innovation. I am also instrumental in the development of a set of principles for prioritisation and three-year planning for major capital projects at UQ." He said process engineering and systems thinking skills de- veloped in his chemical engineering discipline have been critical to his research and management success. A major milestone in his career was in 2003, when he was awarded his first Australian Research Council (ARC) Federation Fellowship, propelling his research "into the stratosphere of excellence and impact". He has since gone on to establish the ARC Centre of Excellence for Functional Nanomaterials. Another highlight from the past year was "a wonderful holiday hiking in Nepal with my family" . Alex Zelinsky Hugh Durrant-White Max Lu Peter Lee