Meet the Vice-Chancellor

Alex Zelinsky

Professor Alex Zelinsky, AO

BMathSc(Hons), PhD, Hon DSc(UOW), GradDip(AICD), FAA, FTSE, FIEEE, Hon FIEAust, FAICD

Why did you join the University Council?

As Vice-Chancellor of the University, I serve on the Council in an ex-officio capacity.

What do you look back on most fondly when it comes to your own education?

I enjoyed the work-integrated learning (WIL) experience of being a Cadet Engineer at BHP Steel while studying at the University of Wollongong. It helped me understand how knowledge gained at University could be applied in the real-world.


Professor Alex Zelinsky AO is the University of Newcastle’s 8th Vice-Chancellor and President and commenced in the role on 19 November 2018.

Prior to joining the University, Professor Zelinsky was Australia’s Chief Defence Scientist and leader of Defence Science and Technology within the Department of Defence.

Professor Zelinsky’s scientific career includes working as a computer scientist, systems engineer and roboticist and spans innovation, science and technology, research, commercial start-ups and higher education.

Prior to joining Defence, Professor Zelinsky was Group Executive for Information Sciences at CSIRO. Previously, he was Chief Executive Officer and co-founder of Seeing Machines, a technology company focused on computer vision. The company is listed on the London Stock Exchange and was a start-up from the Australian National University, where he was a Professor of Systems Engineering.

Professor Zelinsky has a Bachelor of Mathematical Sciences (Honours), Doctor of Philosophy and Honorary Doctor of Science from the University of Wollongong, is a Graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors. He has completed the Advanced Management Program at Harvard University and the Senior Executive Program at London Business School.

Professor Zelinsky has received national and international awards in recognition of his work. In 2017, he was appointed an Officer in the Order of Australia (AO). He has been included in Engineers Australia’s list of the 100 most influential engineers since 2009 and in 2015, Engineers Australia awarded him the prestigious MA Sargent Medal. In 2013, he was awarded the Pearcey Medal, the ICT industry’s premier prize for lifetime achievement. In 2003, 2004 and 2005, the World Economic Forum selected Professor Zelinsky as a Technology Pioneer.

In 2005 Professor Zelinsky received the Clunies-Ross Award for successful technology innovation for the benefit of Australia. In 2000 Professor Zelinsky received the BHERT award for international university-business research collaboration. He is a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Science, the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, the Australian Academy of Technology and Engineering, the Institute of Engineers Australia and the Australian Institute of Company Directors.

The University of Newcastle acknowledges the traditional custodians of the lands within our footprint areas: Awabakal, Darkinjung, Biripai, Worimi, Wonnarua, and Eora Nations. We also pay respect to the wisdom of our Elders past and present.