Professor Tanya Monro,

(Opening Address)

Chief Defence Scientist
Defence Science and Technology


Professor Tanya Monro commenced as Chief Defence Scientist in March 2019.

Professor Monro was previously Deputy Vice Chancellor Research and Innovation and an ARC Georgina Sweet Laureate Fellow at the University of South Australia.

Professor Monro was the inaugural Director of the Institute for Photonics and Advanced Sensing (IPAS) from 2008 to 2014 and was also the inaugural Director for the ARC Centre of Excellence for Nanoscale BioPhotonics (CNBP) at the University of Adelaide. Her research is in the field of photonics, with a focus on sensing, lasers and new classes of optical fibres.

Professor Monro obtained her PhD in physics in 1998 from The University of Sydney, for which she was awarded the Bragg Gold Medal for the best Physics PhD in Australia. In 2000, she received a Royal Society University Research Fellowship at the Optoelectronics Research Centre at the University of Southampton in the UK, and is also an inaugural Bragg Fellow of the Royal Institution of Australia (RiAus).

Prof Monro is a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Science (AAS), the Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering (ATSE), the Optical Society of America (OSA) and the Australian Institute of Physics (AIP). She is member of the Board of the Commonwealth Science and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) and the South Australian Economic Advisory Council.

Her awards include: the Prime Minister's Malcolm McIntosh Prize for Physical Scientist of the Year (2008), South Australian Scientist of the Year (2010), South Australia's Australian of the Year (2011), and the Eureka Prize for Excellence in Interdisciplinary Scientific Research (2015) and she is the 2019 SA winner of the Australian Award for Excellence in Women’s Leadership.

Kerry Lunney

Country Engineering Director and Chief Engineer
Thales Australia


Ms Kerry Lunney has extensive experience developing and delivering large system solutions, including design, software development, infrastructure implementation, hardware deployments, integration, sell-off, training and on-going support. She has worked in various industries including ICT, Gaming, Financial, Transport, Aerospace and Defence, in Australia, Asia and USA. The systems delivered include combat systems, mission systems, communication systems, road and rail ITSs, flight simulators, security systems, vehicle electronic systems, gaming systems and ICT foundation systems.

Kerry is Country Engineering Director and Chief Engineer in Thales Australia. In this role she provides technical leadership and governance on bids and projects, delivers technical training programs, and participates on a number of Technical Boards and Communities of Thales. Recent roles include Chief Systems Engineer, Solutions Architect and Design Authority.

Kerry is a member of IEEE, a Fellow Member of Engineers Australia with the status of Engineering Executive and Chartered Professional Engineer, and holds the Expert Systems Engineering Professional (ESEP) qualification from the International Council on Systems Engineering (INCOSE).

In addition to her “day job”, Kerry is the INCOSE President-Elect. She has also been a past-INCOSE Sector Director for Asia-Oceania, a past-National President of the Systems Engineering Society of Australia (SESA), the Australian Chapter of INCOSE, and has held various roles on conference and events committees and University program advisory boards throughout her career.

Sheryl Lutz

First Assistant Secretary Ships
Capability Acquisition and Sustainment Group


Sheryl Lutz is First Assistant Secretary Ships in Capability Acquisition and Sustainment Group. In this role Sheryl oversees the acquisition of Navy’s future fleet of combat and combat support vessels.

Sheryl’s position prior to her current role, was the General Manager Maritime, for Saab Australia. She has many years of Defence industry experience having worked for Saab for more than 20 years in positions including ANZAC Ship System Design Manager, Engineering Manager and Capability Development Manager. She was the ANZAC Ship Alliance Project Manager for the ANZAC Anti-Ship Missile Defence (ASMD) upgrade from 2004 to 2011 successfully completing sea trials on the lead ship HMAS Perth. After this role she was the ANZAC Alliance General Manager from August 2011 to December 2013. Sheryl has past experience working at Motorola Global Software Group as the General Manager Operations in Australia, Computer Science Corporation (now DXC Technology) and BHP in Whyalla.

Sheryl was educated in South Australia and holds a Bachelor of Applied Science in Mathematics and Computer Science. In 2002, Sheryl was a finalist in the Telstra South Australia Business Women’s Awards. She is married with two children.

Professor Hugh Durrant-Whyte

NSW Chief Scientist & Engineer
NSW Department of Industry


Hugh Durrant-Whyte is the NSW Chief Scientist & Engineer. From 2016-18, he was Chief Scientific Advisor to the UK Ministry of Defence.

From 2014-16 and from 2002-2010, he was a Professor and ARC Federation Fellow at the University of Sydney. From 2010-2014, he was CEO of National ICT Australia (NICTA), and from 1995-2010 Director of the ARC Centre of Excellence for Autonomous Systems and of the Australian Centre for Field Robotics (ACFR).

Hugh is a world-leading authority on machine learning and robotics, and its application in areas including cargo handling, mining and defence.

He has published over 300 research papers, graduated over 70 PhD students, and has won numerous awards and prizes for his work, including being named 2010 NSW Scientist of the Year.

In his career he has worked with many major companies, has co-founded three successful start-up companies, and has won many awards including being named 2008 Engineers Australia NSW Engineer of the Year.

He is particularly well known for his work with Patrick in delivering the automated container terminals in Brisbane and Port Botany, and for his work with Rio Tinto in pioneering the delivering the automated “Mine of the Future”.

He is an honorary Fellow of Engineers Australia (HonFIEAus), a Fellow of the IEEE (FIEEE), Fellow of the Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering (FTSE), Fellow of the Australian Academy of Science (FAA), and a Fellow of the Royal Society of London (FRS).