CSIRO ICT Centre gets new director

Dr Ian Oppermann to drive the successful R&D centre early next year

The CSIRO has appointed a former Nokia Siemens Networks global technology and sales partnering head to the role of director of its ICT Centre.

Dr Ian Oppermann will commence on January 28, 2010, and aim to boost the centre's international “connectedness” while striving for "greater engagement with local industry".

See a slideshow of the CSIRO's greatest hits.
“In addition to Dr Oppermann’s extensive professional experience, he has been an active scientist holding senior editorial and conference organisational positions, supervising PhD students and contributing to a significant number of journal publications and books,” CSIRO’s group executive for information sciences, Dr Alex Zelinsky, said in a statement. Oppermann will be responsible for the centre's 300 research staff and will report to Zelinsky, who will now focus solely on information sciences.

The CSIRO ICT Centre has offices in Canberra, Hobart, Brisbane and Sydney focusing on research into wireless technologies, autonomous systems, networking technologies, information engineering and e-health.

Notably, this year the centre's Dr John O’Sullivan received the Prime Minister's Prize for Science and a $300,000 grant for his contribution to the development of IEEE 802.11a and 802.11g Wi-Fi products.

It was the centre's research into these Wi-Fi technologies that led the CSIRO to successfully sue some of the biggest names in ICT for breaching its patent and resulted in the boosting of its financial fortunes to the tune of $205 million in the year to June 2009.

According to the organisation’s annual report the WLAN settlement helped turn a budgeted deficit of $34.2 million over the same period into a surplus of $122.0 million. The value of the out of court settlements, however, has remained confidential.

On the back of the win the agency has also announced it will invest up to $150 million from the proceeds into a new Science and Industry Endowment Fund.

Oppermann has also previously worked as a director of the Centre for Wireless Communications at the University of Oulu in Finland and holds several degrees including a PhD in electrical engineering (mobile communications) from the University of Sydney.

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