Diversity & Inclusion at the Robotics and Autonomous Systems Group

January 14th, 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 Robotics and Autonomous Systems Group, 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.

» Dr. Sisi Liang – Software Engineer

Sisi has a Bachelor’s degree in Electronics Engineering, a Masters in Electronics Engineering and a PhD in Information Sciences. Her key areas of professional interest include computer vision, image processing, machine learning and software development.

At the Robotics and Autonomous Systems Group, Sisi develops computer vision algorithms.

“I enjoy my work environment due to the support and opportunities I receive from the team; as well as the varied projects I work on, and the diverse people I work with”, says Dr Liang.

» Erin McColl – Mechatronics Engineer and Project Manager

Erin has Bachelor of Engineering (Mechatronics), a Masters degree in Applied Science and a Masters Degree in Biofabrication. Her areas of professional interest revolve around utilising emerging technologies and autonomous systems for human-centric applications. Sha has particular interest in working at the intersection of physical and technical domains.

At the Robotics and Autonomous Systems Group, Erin is the Project Manager for the CSIRO DARPA SubT Challenge team, whilst also leading a project to build tele-operated sensing platforms for a mechanically unique and chemically hazardous environment. Her current focus is coordinating a broad range of capabilities and technical expertise to work towards a common goal and create application-specific solutions.

“Working within the RASG group has given me the unique opportunity to learn from a group of individuals talented in a broad range of technical domains. Every day I am exposed to new levels of technical depth and breadth. Plus, the applications we work towards within areas like search & rescue, environmental monitoring, agriculture, and more, means I get to work on some of most interesting technical problems and apply them to some of the world’s most deserving challenges”, says Ms McColl.

» Katrina Lo Surdo – Electrical and Computer Engineer

Katrina has a Bachelor’s degree in Electrical and Computer Engineering. Her key area of professional interest is embedded systems development, working in the intersection between hardware and firmware.

At the Robotics and Autonomous Systems Group, Katrina works on the DARPA project, where she develops hardware and assists with the power and emergency stop circuitry for two robotic platforms.

“I was attracted to the Robotics and Autonomous Systems Group because the work is diverse, challenging, and I am constantly adding to my skill set”, says Ms Lo Surdo.

» Marisa Bucolo – Vacation Student

Marisa is currently studying Bachelor of Engineering (Mechatronics). Her key areas of professional interest include human robot interaction, building robots that are intuitive to control and meaningful to interact with.

At the Robotics and Autonomous Systems Group, Marisa is working on UI design for the DARPA project.

“It’s been challenging but very interesting so far and the team is great to work with”, says Ms Bucolo.

» Aimee Allen – Volunteer Intern/Student

Aimee has a Bachelor’s degree in Commerce with Mechatronic Engineering electives, apart from 10 years of industry experience working in software engineering. Her key areas of professional interest are robotics vision, perception, soft materials, AI and SLAM.

Aimee came to the Robotics and Autonomous Systems Group as a volunteer to learn from our world-class roboticists and gain additional skills to move her career back into robotics.

“At RASG I have been working towards allowing robots to perceive all types of materials in the real world using a camera as input to build a model of what the robot sees and how it expects those materials to change as the robot moves around and interacts with the materials. I have learnt so much from the engineers at RASG, and I will be continuing this research as a PhD topic this year”, says Ms Allen.

» Dominique MacDonald – Vacation Student

Dominique is currently studying Bachelor of Engineering, majoring in Electrical and Electronics Engineering.

Her key areas of professional interest include integration of robotics and autonomous systems into society, using robotics to make society more efficient and building robots for a human world, by enabling robots to successfully integrate and interact with pre-existing structures.

At the Robotics and Autonomous Systems Group, Dominique is working as part of the Systems Integration and Testing team in the DARPA project. With a varied role, her key focus is around teleoperation communication between systems and hardware integration for power distribution.

“I am enjoying my time thus far, as I have had the opportunity to immerse myself into the project, and have subsequently learnt a lot about robotics and autonomous systems”, says Ms MacDonald.

Learn more about our current positions here.