The Centre’s largest expenditure is on people, supporting research fellows and PhD researchers. We welcomed 18 new postgraduate students to the Centre this year, in addition to three new postdoctoral research fellows. We also welcomed 40 new Honours students, exceeding our target of eight students for the year.
The Centre brings together a critical mass of outstanding researchers from around the world, from our accomplished PhD and early career researchers, right through to veterans of industry and academia. Their expertise spans key robot vision areas such as machine, mapping and navigation, visual servo control, 3D reconstruction, low-level and high-speed vision and distributed systems. Our expertise and accomplishments, are being recognised on the international stage, as well as at home. Our extensive media engagement campaign that ran throughout the year resulted in excellent coverage of our transformative work, showcasing the skills and talents of our researchers.
Our strong reputation for quality research and researchers means our people are in demand. In 2017 we said farewell to four of our Research Fellows. We would like to acknowledge and thank:
Dr Chuong Nguyen, from our ANU node who joined CSIRO as a Research Engineer and Experimental Scientist, while continuing his association with the Centre as a Research Affiliate.
Dr Guosheng Lin was a Centre Research Fellow at our University of Adelaide node, leaving Australia for Singapore and taking up the position of Assistant Professor at Nanyang Technological University
Dr Markus Eich, who was based at our QUT node, returned to Germany to join the Continental Automotive Group
Dr Anoop Cherian was based at our ANU node. He is now a Research Scientist at the Mitsubishi Electric Research Laboratories (MERL) in Cambridge, USA
Attracting and retaining talent in the Centre is a major challenge in this fiercely competitive market. To address this and mitigate any risk, we have a succession plan to ensure we are always growing and supporting leadership talent within the Centre. We actively work to promote and maintain the Centre as a rewarding place to work, while continuing to make it an appealing prospect for potential researchers. We also keep in close contact with our alumni, who are often a good source of talent, with key industry experience, together with contacts that can potentially help the Centre.
New Chief Investigators
Congratulations are in order for four of the Centre’s Associate Investigators, who in 2017 were promoted to the position of Chief Investigator. They are Jonathan Roberts, Matthew Dunbabin, and Niko Sünderhauf from QUT, and Tat-Jun Chin from the University of Adelaide.
Jonathan joined the Centre in 2014 and is a Professor in Robotics at QUT. His research interests are in field robotics together with design and medical and healthcare robots.
Matthew joined the Centre in 2014. His wide-ranging research interests include vision-based navigation, image-based habitat classification, adaptive sampling and path planning, as well as robot and sensor network interactions.
Niko joined the Centre as a Research Fellow in 2014. In 2017, he was appointed as a lecturer at QUT, became an Associate Investigator with the Centre before becoming a Chief Investigator in 2017. His research interests include robust place recognition for changing environments.
Tat-Jun joined the Centre in 2014 and is an Associate Professor at the University of Adelaide. His award-winning research explores the areas of robot estimation and geometric optimisation.
As we build our Centre we are also all developing a Centre culture, with a set of pervasive values, beliefs and attitudes that characterise who we are. As people join the Centre, we introduce the Centre’s Vision and Values, our history, and our plans for the future via an extensive onboarding process. We are a nimble enterprise, with the flexibility and capacity to handle diversity and a range of new ideas.
With Nodes across Australia and partners spanning the globe, the internet is a vital tool to ensure Centre cohesion and a collaborative culture. The Centre maintains an active intranet shared workspace using Atlassian’s Confluence. Our staff and partners can also connect, interact and share information through our public social media channels.
We produce two regular online newsletters for the Centre. Our monthly internal newsletter gives all Centre personnel the opportunity to share and celebrate each other’s successes. Our quarterly public newsletter keeps industry, government, collaborators, visitors and friends up to date on the Centre’s activities. We share information on our upcoming public forums and other events, news and triumphs in the public research space and accomplishments on our public website. Our external newsletter has a readership of 1200 people and growing.