Speakers

Senator Jim Molan

Senator Jim Molan AO DSC

Senator for New South Wales

Senator Jim Molan retired from the Australian Army in 2008 after 40 years of service. He served as a field commander, infantryman, a helicopter pilot and a military diplomat in Papua New Guinea, Indonesia, East Timor, Malaysia, Germany, the US and Iraq.

Senator Molan’s involvement in politics began in 2012 when, along with now Prime Minister Scott Morrison, he co-authored the Coalition’s border control policy, Operation Sovereign Borders. Senator Molan was appointed as a Senator for New South Wales in December 2017 and left the Senate in July 2019. He was reappointed as a Senator in November 2019.

In the Senate, Senator Molan advocates for positions on immigration, Defence and national security that increase Australia’s self-reliance and put Australian sovereignty first.

Catherine Bennett

Professor Catherine Bennett

Chair of Epidemiology, School of Health and Social Development, Deakin University

Trained in epidemiology and population genetics, Professor Bennett’s career cuts across university and government sectors, including stints in outbreak detection and response with NSW Health and the Australian Government.

After working as Olympic Public Health Coordinator for Northern Sydney, Catherine returned to academia and was Associate Professor in Epidemiology with the University of Melbourne before joining Deakin University as inaugural Chair in Epidemiology in late 2009. She was Head of the School of Social Development until 2019, leading it to be one of the top 100 Public Health Schools in the world.

Catherine is an active researcher, leading an NHMRC funded longitudinal cohort study examining community transmission of ‘superbugs’, and collaborating in a range of international COVID-19 projects examining COVID-related policy and the evidence behind it, excess deaths during the pandemic, contact tracing apps and developing COVID-safe protocols for industry, venues and activities. Catherine has been a leading public analyst and expert commentator during the COVID-19 response, keynote speaker, and advisor to governments and institutions here and overseas.

Dr Kaja Antlej

Dr Kaja Antlej

Senior Lecturer, Industrial Design and CADET Virtual Reality Lab Researcher – Museums/Heritage, School of Engineering, Deakin University

Dr Kaja Antlej is Senior Lecturer in Industrial Design at the School of Engineering, Deakin University. She is also a researcher at the CADET Virtual Reality Training and Simulation Lab, where she leads the GLAM (galleries, libraries, archives, museum) theme. Kaja is interested in the intersection of human-centered design, virtual museums, gamified extended reality, 3D printing, space exploration and futures thinking. Dr Antlej has a Masters in Industrial Design and a PhD in Museum and Heritage Studies, both from the University of Ljubljana. In 2015, she completed her Endeavour Post-doc at the University of Canberra. Kaja is also an alumna of the Southern Hemisphere Space Studies Program at the International Space University and the University of South Australia.

A/Prof Cheryl Desha

Associate Professor Cheryl Desha

Director Industry Engagement, School of Engineering & Built Environment, Griffith University

Associate Professor Cheryl Desha is Theme Leader for the ‘Digital Earth and Resilient Infrastructure’ research agenda, Cities Research Institute (CRI) and Engagement Director (Industry) for the School of Engineering and Built Environment, Griffith University (South East Queensland, Australia).

With the reality that “everything is connected and ‘where’ is critical to thriving, now and into the future”, Cheryl is working towards resilient and regenerative cities through enabling evidence-based decision-making that is locally relevant. This involves industry and government partnerships to deliver right-time and right-place decision support, within the context of disaster management.

Cheryl’s research journey has been inspired by the Cynefin Framework approach to decision making (by David Snowden), and Socio-technical Transition Theory (by Frank Geels). She also draws upon her technical training in nature-inspired (biomimetic), nature-loving (biophilic) and place-based (digital-spatial) design.

Cheryl is a Chartered Member of Engineers Australia, and a member of the Surveying and Spatial Sciences Institute (SSSI). She is a Council member of the International Society of Digital Earth (ISDE) where she co-leads Working Group 2 ‘Industry Partnerships’. She is an Advisory Board member of the United Nations Global Geospatial Information Management (UN-GGIM), where she sits on the Disasters and Private Sector Network working groups.

In 2020 Cheryl was awarded the Queensland Government’s Individual Champion of Change Award by the Inspector General Emergency Management. In 2020 and 2021 she was a state finalist in the Engineers Australia Professional Engineer of the Year Award.

Jawahar Bhalla

Jawahar Bhalla

Principal, JB Engineering Systems and iPhD Candidate, University of Adelaide & Shoal Group

JB is a passionate Systems professional with over 30 year’s experience across multi-national organisations in technical and strategic leadership roles. He contributes to the advancement of Systems Thinking, Systems Engineering and Modelling & Simulation locally and globally as foundational enablers to understanding complexity for a better, safer world.

He is the Technical Director of INCOSEs’ Australian Chapter, SESA, an SME Industry Co-Chair of the ADF Synthetic Environment Working Group, a past member of the SimAust Board and a founding member and past Chair of the SimAust Professional Development Committee.

He has a BE in Aerospace Engineering and a BSc in Computer Science from UNSW, a Masters’ in Systems Engineering from UNSW@ADFA and is a current iPhD candidate on an Australian Government Research Training Program scholarship, with industry partner Shoal Group, at the University of Adelaide, Australia.