Prof. Durrant-Whyte to Take Helm at NICTA

The NICTA chief executive David Skellern is due to retire early next year and Hugh Durrant-Whyte will replace him. He was appointed the new CEO after an international search by executive placement specialists Russell Reynolds and Associates.

Prof. Durrant-Whyte is currently the robotics expert at the University of Sydney where he heads the Australian Centre for Field Robotics. He will join NICTA (formerly National ICT Australia) in December and Dr Skellern will work on a through handover process with him until early next year.

Prof. Durrant-Whyte established an Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence in robotics. He has also contributed to many commercial companies with Marathon Robotics recently securing a $57 million contract with the U.S. Navy.

He was named NSW Scientist of the Year for 2010 last month and has brought in $50 million funding to the Australian robotics industry over the last 10 years.

In 2002, NICTA won a competitive selection process to be established as Australia's national centre of excellence in Information and Communication Technology (ICT) research, under an Australian Government policy initiative to promote science and innovation called Backing Australia's Ability. The creation of the centre was intended to address a previously identified weakness in long-term strategic ICT research in Australia. NICTA was officially opened on 27 February 2003. NICTA has over 700 staff and over 250 research students spread across five cities.

NICTA's research projects have a defined scope and duration, and are the main mechanism for intensive collaboration with external parties.

A few examples are:

  • Smart Transport and Roads
  • Ultra-High Speed Wireless Networks
  • Human Performance Improvement
  • Advanced Surveillance
  • Constraint Programming Platform


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