DSI Colloquium Speakers

Keynote Speakers

Dr. Tim Fountaine – Senior Partner, McKinsey & Company

Tim Fountaine is a Senior Partner with McKinsey & Company based in Sydney. He is a medical doctor/PhD and has more than 15 years’ experience working with governments on health policy and program implementation. Tim also established McKinsey’s AI capability, QuantumBlack, in Asia and works with private and public sector organisations to help them adapt to a world increasingly influenced by AI and digital technologies. Tim has a PhD in neuroscience from the University of Oxford and a medical degree from the University of Auckland.

Dr. Frances Foster-Thorpe – Executive Director of Shaping Futures and Digital Insights, The Cabinet Office (NSW)

Frances has a government and research background and has focused on how to progress large-scale national reforms within Australia’s federal system and with community partners. Since 2019, Frances has been the Executive Director of Shaping Futures and Chief Data Officer in the NSW Department of Premier and Cabinet. During this time Frances has established a NSW foresight team, which supports foresight capability nationally through the NSW Trend Atlas. She also led the National Disability Data Asset Pilot, working with the disability community to design a new way of co-governing national data/digital assets with the affected community and secure agreement to this ~$100 million initiative. She is now working in partnership with the NSW Coalition of Peak Organisations and NSW agencies to reform how Aboriginal communities can access NSW-Government held data, be involved in decisions about that data, and progress towards Aboriginal Data Governance and Sovereignty. Frances has a DPhil & MSc from Oxford, where she was a Commonwealth scholar, and an Arts(Hons)/LLB from UNSW.

Theme Speakers

Prof. Salah Sukkarieh -Lead of Digital Agriculture – DSI

Salah Sukkarieh is the Professor of Robotics and Intelligent Systems at the University of Sydney. He has led the agriculture robotics work at the Australian Centre for Field Robotics for over 20 years and has developed sensing, robotic, and autonomous solutions across all the various Australian commodities.

Dr. Steven Farrugia – CTO, Nanosonics

Dr Steven Farrugia is a seasoned leader in the medical device industry with over three decades of experience driving innovation from concept to commercialization. Until recently, Steve has served as the Chief Technology Officer at Nanosonics, where he oversaw global R&D efforts and held responsibility for Medical Affairs, Regulatory Affairs and the company’s Intellectual Property portfolio. Prior to his role at Nanosonics, Steven held key executive positions at ResMed, contributing significantly to its growth trajectory. With a track record of close to 300 granted and pending patents, Steven has been recognized as one of Australia’s Top 10 Inventors in the Medical Device Industry. He has previously served as an Adjunct Professor of Engineering at The University of Sydney, actively advancing biomedical engineering and STEM education.

Prof. Jinman Kim – Lead of Digital Health Imaging – DSI

Jinman Kim is a Professor of computer science at the University of Sydney. He established and leads the Biomedical Data Analysis and Visualisation (BDAV) Lab at the School of Computer Science. He is the Imaging Theme Leader of the ARC Training Centre in Innovative Biomedical Engineering on musculoskeletal technologies. He is the also the Director of the Telehealth and Technology Center, Nepean hospital. Prof Kim co-leads the ‘digital health imaging’, as part of the Faculty of Engineering’s Digital Science Initiative, with the vision and strategy to improve the use and accessibility of medical imaging via AI innovations. His research focus is on multi-modal learning with medical data, which includes biomedical visual-language representations, image-omics, multi-modal data processing, and biomedical mixed reality technologies.

Prof. Willem Vervoort- Director ARC Training Centre DARE

Willem is the leading hydrologist at The University of Sydney and an expert in quantitative Hydrology and Catchment Management and simulation modelling. He currently is the Director of the ARC Training Centre in Data Analytics for Resources and Environment (DARE). DARE’s mission is to deliver the next generation of data scientists working on the interface of core Data Science and domain science in Minerals, Water and Biodiversity.  Willem’s main research focus is on understanding change related to management actions given high variability of climate and landscape characteristics.

Willem combines remote sensing, field data and simulation modelling to develop quantitative tools scaling from the field to the continent. Current projects include Bayesian model optimisation, multi-objective model optimisation, understanding model uncertainty in relation to observed water quality and quantity, and the use of satellite data to improve model structures and predictions. Recent work developed soil moisture predictions for Australia and water accounting tools from the field to the landscape. 

Willem has extensive experience working with industry in projects with the Cotton industry, Grains industry, Icon water, and more recently with a European/Australian consortium of SME in the water value chain. Willem has worked in Indonesia, Uruguay, Mexico and India, delivering capacity building programs and management advice. He is currently advising the Uruguayan Agricultural research institute on future research directions in water.

Prof. Steve Blackburn – Google DeepMind

Steve Blackburn is a research scientist at GoogleDeepMind and professor at the ANU. His research interests include programming language implementation, computer architecture, software engineering and performance analysis. Steve leads the MMTk and DaCapo projects. He is a passionate educator and a Fellow of the ACM.

Mr. Tom Goerke – Managing Director, Trestle Digital

Tom, a Fellow of Engineers Australia and digital transformation specialist, champions engineering’s role in Australia’s digital and climate future. His passion extends to education, evident in his recent appointment as Chair of Engineers Education Australia (2024). He leverages his expertise as an Adjunct Professor at Curtin University, a Board member of Engineers Australia, and Chair of Hub on SX, a sustainability hub.

A seasoned Electronics Engineer with 30+ years in ICT, Tom holds patents in mobile communications. In 2015, he pioneered digital transformation across Australia and New Zealand by establishing Cisco’s Innovation Central program. This program empowered businesses through technology solutions and has grown into a national network.

Tom founded Trestle Digital (2021) to bridge the gap between digital technologies and Net Zero goals. The company works with industry, universities, and government agencies on this critical convergence. Trestle Digital’s impactful projects include analysing Net Zero’s impact on SMEs for the Federal Government, providing policy advice to government agencies and recently advising the Vietnamese government on data governance.

Tom is a champion of “Smart Zero,” the convergence of digital and Net Zero. He co-authored the ground-breaking 2022 Cisco Curtin “Smart Zero” report, highlighting the crucial role digital solutions play in achieving Net Zero and unlocking economic opportunities.”

Prof. Kalervo Gulson – AI and Education, DSI

Kalervo N. Gulson is a Professor of Education Policy at the University of Sydney and co-leads the Education Futures Studio. Kalervo’s research is located across social, political and cultural geography, education policy studies, and science and technology studies. His current research programme is interested in what happens ‘After AI’, and the role of policy and the future of educational institutions. This work looks at how the human-machine interactions of artificial intelligence pose enormous challenges to the role of educational institutions.

Prof. Jennifer Whyte – Lead for Digital Transformation

Professor Jennifer Whyte is Professor in the School of Project Management, in the Faculty of Engineering at The University of Sydney, and Director of the John Grill Institute for Project Leadership. Her own recent research has focused on systems integration, future making and how digital information transforms delivery of major projects. She leads research in the field with engineers and managers on major projects, and brings this learning back into the lab to develop next generation solutions. Her current research is examining the Sydney infrastructure megaproject ecology, and how innovation can be fostered across projects in this context. She is a Policy Fellow of the Institution of Civil Engineers and retains a position at Imperial College London, associated with the Centre for Systems Engineering and Innovation, in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering.

She joined The University of Sydney as a Professor in 2021, having previously held Professorships at Imperial College London and University of Reading, and has been a Visiting Professor at Stanford University. Her research has significant impact on transforming industry and policy, through participation in Advisory Boards, notably the main board of the UK Construction Leadership Council (2019-2021) and the Building Safely Committee (2018-2019), set up after the Grenfell Disaster. She is currently a member of the Global Infrastructure Hub Academic Advisory Committee.