Professor Mary O'Kane
10am Friday 12 April - Faculty of Science and IT
Professor Mary O'Kane is the NSW Chief Scientist and Engineer, a position she has held since 2008. She is also a company director and Executive Chairman of Mary O’Kane & Associates, a company that advises government, universities and the private sector on innovation, research, education and development.
As NSW Chief Scientist and Engineer, Professor O'Kane works with academia, industry and government to ensure scientific knowledge and research is adapted and used to benefit NSW. A key responsibility is to provide the government and community with the best quality advice on policy requiring scientific and engineering input. In her role, she serves on several committees and advisory groups including the Medical Devices Expert Group, the Renewable Energy Taskforce (both of which she Chairs), the Innovation and Productivity Council and the Coal Innovation Council.
She is also a Fellow and former Vice-President of the Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering and an Honorary Fellow of Engineers, Australia.
Born in central Queensland, Professor O'Kane is a computer engineer and recognised pioneer of research in artificial intelligence, in particular computerised speech recognition. Professor O’Kane completed a Bachelor of Science at the University of Queensland in physics and mathematics and a Doctor of Philosophy at the Australian National University in 1982. She also holds honorary doctorates from Central Queensland University, Macquarie University and the University of Canberra.
Prior to her role as NSW Chief Scientist and Engineer, Professor O’Kane led a successful academic career including as Vice-Chancellor and President of the University of Adelaide from 1996 to 2000, Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research) at the University of Adelaide from 1994 to 1996, and Dean of the Faculty of Information Sciences and Engineering at the University of Canberra from 1989 to 1993.
Professor O'Kane holds a number of positions, including Chair of the Development Gateway; Chair of the Cooperative Research Centre for Spatial Information; and Director of PSMA Ltd, the Capital Markets Cooperative Research Centre, and Business Events Sydney.
Professor O’Kane was Chair of the Australian Centre for Renewable Energy from 2010 to 2012 and is a former member of the Australian Research Council, the Co-operative Research Centres Committee, the board of FH Faulding & Co Ltd, the board of the CSIRO and the panel for the Australian Government's Review of the National Innovation System.