ACT News


ANU appoints first female engineering dean

The Australian National University has appointed its first female Dean of Engineering and Computer Science, Professor Elanor Huntington.

Professor Huntington is a quantum optics specialist who was lured from the Australian Defence Force Academy where she was head of the School of Engineering and Information Technology at the University of NSW – Canberra.

It means she is returning to the ANU after a 15-year gap, having completed her science degree and PhD there.

Professor Huntington said she was “well aware of visibility of this appointment” given long-standing issues in attracting women into the field and historically low levels of female engineering undergraduates.

“I understand the responsibility that comes from having this position … I inherit the good work of generations of women who have gone before me and I hope to pay it forward to new generations.”

Professor Huntington said she was about seven year's old when she developed a strong leaning towards science – natural ability which was supported by her mechanical engineer dad and a mum who worked at the CSIRO.


One of the earliest graduates of Radford College, Professor Huntington is an active researcher in the control of quantum systems and is particularly interested in the interface between theory and applications.

“The most exciting thing about this field is the transition out of the lab. You can make useful technologies out of quantum systems and do things that you simply can’t do in classical systems,” she said.

Meanwhile, the ANU also announced it had appointed seven new public policy fellows, including two of the country’s top senior public servants, to join its influential policy forum.

Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet secretary Dr Ian Watt and Australian Competition and Consumer Commission chairman Rod Sims have been appointed public policy fellows.

They join new ANU appointees International Relations Professor Lorraine Elliott, Climate Change Institute director Professor Mike Raupach, Politics and International Relations Professor Marian Sawer, Associate Professor Karen Hussey, from the Fenner School of Environment, and Associate Professor Frank Jotzo from the Crawford School of Public Policy.

The ANU public policy fellows program brings together the ANU’s most knowledgeable public policy experts with key policymakers, to strengthen engagement between researchers and the public service and to foster discussion and debate.

The program is chaired by former treasury secretary Dr Ken Henry, AC.