Diversity & Inclusion at the Distributed Sensing Systems Group

July 15th, 2019

At CSIRO, we work hard to build a safe and welcoming culture where people can bring their whole selves to work.

Our mission is to create benefit for Australia through impactful science and innovation but we know that that is not possible without an inclusive and diverse culture.

We are working to recruit diverse people and ensure all our people feel supported to do their best work and empowered to let their ideas flourish. Below are some of the ways we are building a safe and welcoming culture.

Pride@CSIRO is a professional network and social community for LGBTQI+ identifying employees and allies. The network promotes and drives the inclusion of LGBTQI+ employees by raising awareness, supporting peers and challenging discrimination.

We recognise that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples have made and will continue to make extraordinary contributions to all aspects of Australian life including culture, economy and science and we aim to achieve greater Indigenous participation in our research and development agenda and activities.

We know that to be a truly diverse organisation we need to reflect the diversity that we see in society. We need the skills and knowledge to innovate for tomorrow and an understanding of today’s big questions and how they affect everyone.

However, women still hold far fewer leadership positions than men particularly in STEM fields where only 18 per cent of leadership positions are held by women. CSIRO is addressing gender equity through work with the Science in Australia Gender Equity  (SAGE) pilot and the Male Champions of Change (MCC) initiative.

At the Distributed Sensing Systems Group (DSSG), we are striving to ensure we deliver to these commitments and we are aware that there is a long road ahead of us.

Meanwhile, below we share a little bit about the women in our multidisciplinary teams, who we hope can inspire others to follow the same path.

From left to right: Dr Jessica Liebig, Dr Sara Khalifa, and undergraduate student Mia Balogh.

>>Dr Sara Khalifa – Research Scientist

Sara has a Bachelor, Masters and PhD in Computer Science. Her key areas of professional interest are ubiquitous and pervasive computing, smart wearables, Internet of Things, and energy harvesting.

At DSSG, Sara’s research is about quantifying the information content embedded in energy harvesting signals by using signal processing and machine learning algorithms. Energy harvesting could potentially serve the dual purpose of generating power as well as saving sensor-related power consumption by acting as a proxy for power consuming sensors. It will then deliver algorithms for energy-neutral sensing in the presence of energy positive and negative modalities, towards the goal of perpetual sensing and long term tracking.

What attracted me to join the DSSG is the wide variety of applications the group is targeting which drive key impact on large areas of economic interest ranging from health, environment, agriculture, smart cities, to consumer applications.

In addition to the great talented group of individuals across a broad range of technical domain. Every day, I am exposed to new levels of technical depth and breadth which constantly add to my skill set and help grow my career. It is a really great work environment where I feel supported and empowered to do my research“.

>>Dr Jessica Liebig – Postdoctoral Fellow

Jessica has a Bachelor of Science (Mathematics) (Honours) and a PhD in Mathematics. Her key areas of professional interest are network science and applied Mathematics.

At the DSSG, Jess works on the Disease Networks and Mobility (DiNeMo) project, trying to understand how infectious diseases that are endemic overseas may spread in Australia. Currently she is developing a predictive model that can forecast likely times and locations of future dengue outbreaks.

“I very much enjoy the work that I am doing at DSS, as I can see how it would benefit Queensland Health in developing new prevention and control measures for infectious diseases.

I applied for my current role as I could immediately see how I could apply skills that I learned during my PhD candidature to the DiNeMo project. CSIRO’s postdoctoral training program also very much attracted me”.

>>Faezeh Noorbin – PhD Student

Faezeh has a Bachelor of Electronics Engineering, and a Masters in Control Engineering.

She is currently doing a PhD, working on ‘Cattle activity classification with distributed deep learning methods using Tensorflow on embedded systems’. 

Her key areas of professional interest are Artificial intelligence, Machine Learning and Deep Learning.

“I am very interested in interpreting and inferring cattle movements and behaviour just by analysing data, without the need to watch the cattle closely”.

>>Mia Balogh  – Undergraduate Student

Mia is currently studying for a Bachelor of Electrical & Computer Engineering. Her key areas of professional interest are Embedded Systems & Digitalisation.

At the DSSG, Mia  works on developing firmware within the BLEAT team.

“It’s my first time working on an embedded project on such a scale in a collaborated environment. It’s been a great learning experience so far with lots of support from everyone in the team”. 

Learn more about a career at CSIRO here.


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