NSW Chief Scientist & Engineer

Professor Hugh Durrant-Whyte

Professor Hugh Durrant-Whyte, NSW Chief Scientist & EngineerProfessor Hugh Durrant-Whyte is the New South Wales Chief Scientist & Engineer.

Professor Durrant-Whyte is a world authority on machine learning and robotics, and their application in areas including cargo handling, mining and defence. He is particularly well known for his work with Patrick in delivering the automated container terminals in Brisbane and Port Botany, and for his pioneering work with Rio Tinto in delivering the automated 'Mine of the Future'.

He is director of Durrant-Whyte and Associates, an information technology consultancy firm. He works part-time for the University of Sydney as Special Advisor for the Western Sydney Strategy. He also works part-time for Rio Tinto as a Special Advisor, providing technical advice for mine automation and data science projects.

Professor Durrant-Whyte is a board member and non-Executive Director of the Defence Cooperative Research Centre for Trusted Autonomous Systems (TAS-DCRC), and a contracted Special Advisor on data and artificial intelligence to Arowana International Limited, a venture company investing in training, traffic management and green energy companies.

He was a Professor and an ARC Federation Fellow at the University of Sydney from 2002-2010 and from 2014-2016, the Director of the Australian Research Centre of Excellence for Autonomous Systems and of the Australian Centre for Field Robotics from 1995-2010, and was the CEO of National ICT Australia (NICTA) from 2010-2014. From 2016-2018, Professor Durrant-Whyte was Chief Scientific Advisor to the UK Ministry of Defence.

Professor Durrant-Whyte is an honorary Fellow of Engineers Australia (HonFIEAus), a Fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (FIEEE), a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering (FTSE), a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Science (FAA) and a Fellow of the Royal Society of London (FRS).

The role of the NSW Chief Scientist & Engineer

The Chief Scientist & Engineer has two main aspects:

  1. to foster and encourage a lively state innovation system particularly by promoting productive links between business, the professions, universities and government
  2. to provide independent advice on how to address (often wicked) policy problems that involve engineering or science. Examples include coal seam gas, sea level rise, road tunnel air quality coal dust emissions and Per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) contamination.

As NSW Chief Scientist & Engineer, Professor Durrant-Whyte consults widely with academia, industry and government to ensure knowledge and research can be adapted and used to benefit NSW.