We are a collaborative, transdisciplinary, and diverse team with a bias for action.
Establishing a new branch of engineering is about more than just designing new things. 3Ai is bringing together diverse voices from diverse backgrounds to shape the future of engineering, opening the conversation to ensure our work will be genuinely inclusive, representative and transdisciplinary.
Cultural anthropologist. Futurist. Resident #bookfairy.
Genevieve Bell is the Director of the 3A Institute (3Ai), Florence Violet McKenzie Chair, and a Distinguished Professor at the Australian National University (ANU) as well as a Vice President and Senior Fellow at Intel Corporation. She is a cultural anthropologist, technologist and futurist best known for her work at the intersection of cultural practice and technology development.
After completing her PhD in cultural anthropology at Stanford University in 1998, Genevieve spent 18 years in Silicon Valley helping guide Intel’s product development by developing the company’s social science and design research capabilities.
Genevieve established 3Ai in September 2017 at the ANU in collaboration with CSIRO's Data61 with the mission of building a new branch of engineering to effectively and ethically manage the impact of artificial intelligence (AI) on humanity through better design and management of technology. She is also the inaugural appointee to the Florence Violet McKenzie Chair at the ANU, Non-Executive Director of the Commonwealth Bank of Australia Board, a member of the Prime Minister’s National Science and Technology Council, a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Technology and Engineering (ATSE), an Officer of the Order of Australia, and in 2020 she was named the first Engelbart Distinguished Fellow by SRI International. She also presented the highly acclaimed ABC Boyer Lectures for 2017, in which she investigated what it means to be human, and Australian, in a digital world.
Known for her immense love of books, Genevieve is also our resident #bookfairy! She is particularly good at summoning entire reading lists of books that you never knew you needed.
Distinguished Professor Genevieve Bell
Cultural anthropologist. Cyberneticist. Chief Crocheting Officer.
Alexandra Zafiroglu is a Professor of Cybernetics at the 3A Institute (3Ai) at the Australian National University and a Fellow of the ANU Futures scheme.
After completing her PhD in Cultural Anthropology at Brown University in 2004, Alex commenced a diverse career at Intel Corporation. During her 15 years at Intel, Alex made significant contributions to the R&D and commercial development of technology across the Advanced Research, Digital Home and Internet of Things divisions, being listed as co-inventor on 11 patents. In 2016, Alex was appointed Principal Engineer in Social Science within the Internet of Things Division and was Intel’s foremost domain expert and research practitioner in homes and home life. Alex has also authored multiple publications, presented at academic, regional and industry conferences and is a member of the American Anthropological Association and the Ethnographic Praxis in Industry Community.
Currently, she is interested in the role that social scientists play in exercising ethics, accountability, and data rights in the deployment of commercial cyber-physical systems. She is also spreading the art of crochet, crochet-and-felting desktop-sized ‘3Ai co-workers’ figures to keep team members company during the Great Virtual Institute/Work From Home Experiment of 2020.
Professor Alex Zafiroglu
Systems Engineer. Scientific Diplomat. Old-School Illustrator.
Thomas is the Institute Manager for the 3A Institute (3Ai) at the Australian National University, where he keeps everything running smoothly – even when times are rough.
Hailing from France, Thomas completed his Master’s Degree in Systems Engineering from École Centrale de Marseille, specialising in biochemistry. He then entered the world of scientific diplomacy, first as an intern at the Sino-French Research Centre in Life Sciences and Genomics in Shanghai, then as a Deputy Attaché for Science and Technology at the French Consulate in Los Angeles, and later as Deputy Scientific Officer at the French Embassy in Australia.
Prior to joining the 3Ai, Thomas also managed a national bi-monthly publication featuring expert content from all major art galleries and museums across Australia, and he also served as a Senior Research Development Officer at the Australian National University.
What many people do not realise is that Thomas is an impressive illustrator, having sketched multiple pieces to amuse and amaze the team – often on a weekly basis!
Sustainability expert. Education expert. Time warp expert.
Katherine is Research Lead at the 3A Institute (3Ai) and an Associate Professor at the ANU Fenner School of Environment and Society. She is also currently the Associate Dean (Education) - Interim at the ANU College of Engineering and Computer Science.
Katherine's work focusses on collaborative approaches to policy, action and education for sustainable development. In this field, she has worked in Europe and the Asia-Pacific on projects related to international science and technology cooperation, water governance, risk management, sustainable urban development, politics and cultures of innovation, and climate change adaptation. Katherine has produced over 100 academic publications including 4 books and a diverse range of book chapters, papers, reports and edited collections. Katherine is convenor of the 3Ai Masters program in Applied Cybernetics and delights in the clash and novel synthesis of disciplinary cultures.
Katherine is also currently President of the Australian-French Association for Research and Innovation (AFRAN) Inc, a member of the National Committee on Water Engineering (Engineers Australia) and a Director of the Peter Cullen Water and Environment Trust. She has also worked in the ANU's Centre for European Studies, Centre for Policy Innovation and the H.C. Coombs Policy Forum at the Crawford School of Public Policy on a range of projects, including the PACE-Net and PACE-Net+ EU projects on developing Pacific-European bi-regional dialogue on science, technology and innovation.
One does not simply do all of the above without engaging in the dark art of warping time (it’s the only logical explanation...).
Impactful communicator. People-person. Cavoodle mother.
As engagement and impact lead for the 3A Institute, Maia works closely with the team in exploring collaborations with academia, government, community organisations and private industry.
Maia loves working at the intersection between disciplines. After studying arts and science at university 20 years ago, she trained and worked as a science writer and has since held a variety of strategy, research, communications and business development roles.
Through a keen interest in emerging technology, she completed a Masters of Bioethics focusing on the communication issues involved in democratic decision-making on complex scientific issues (e.g. stem cell research).
She has worked with some of Australia's premier non-profit organisations and managed large-scale social research on issues such as mental health and corporate social responsibility.
Maia is passionate about helping ideas and people find their place in a noisy, complex world, and is enjoying bringing this to 3Ai. She has also promised to bring her cute-as-a-button cavoodle Cromwell to work – the team has not forgotten, Maia!
Engagement & Impact Lead
Air traffic expert. Research specialist. Aspiring swimmer.
Zena is a Research Fellow at 3Ai. Zena completed a PhD in strategic long-range air traffic flow management. She has worked with the Department of Defence as a liaison officer for military airspace. She was a Satellite-Based Augmentation System (SBAS) engineer with Geoscience Australia, working as the technical lead for test and evaluation and the development of a safety case for civil aviation safety-of-life certification. Prior to joining ANU, Zena worked with the Civil Aviation Safety Authority as a research specialist. Her research areas of interest include air traffic flow management and unmanned traffic management. Zena confesses that she cannot swim but is looking forward to taking swimming classes soon (but not in a Canberra winter!).
Data expert. Best-selling author. Board game aficionado.
Ellen is a Senior Fellow at the 3A Institute (3Ai), where she is particularly interested in emerging mechanisms of assurance of automated systems, spanning software, human-intensive audits and review and organisational / regulatory assurance processes.
Having worked in engineering, database design, data publication and maintenance, policy and law, Ellen is not sure how to describe her expertise anymore. Prior to joining 3Ai, Ellen was technical lead for the Consumer Data Standards program within CSIRO's Data61, designing APIs and validation tools to support consumers sharing data safely with organisations of their choosing. She has served as Head of Policy for the Open Data Institute (ODI); ministerial adviser on data to UK cabinet minister Elisabeth Truss; and Manager of Digital Policy and Projects for the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions. Ellen is currently a member of the Australian government's Data Advisory Council.
Ellen has also written about data for publications such as The Guardian, New Scientist, Griffith Review and Inside Story, while her book Made by Humans: the AI Condition (Melbourne University Publishing, 2018) was featured in Best Australian Science Writing 2019 anthology and Highly Commended in the ACT's Book of the Year.
Most importantly, Ellen is an unapologetic boardgame aficionado, even creating a board game about data with Jeni Tennison (CEO, Open Data Institute) that is being played in 19 countries.
Strategic communicator. Legal researcher. Theatre fan.
Sarah is the Marketing & Communications Officer for 3Ai. She holds a Bachelor of Laws (Honours) and Bachelor of Business Management from the University of Queensland. Sarah has worked across a range of industries, including sport, media, financial services, and in the public sector, drawing on a dual background in strategic communications and legal research. She has worked in marketing and communications in professional services as well as professional sport, and has been involved in designing and executing marketing campaigns, developing customer and employee engagement strategies and corporate engagement activities. Most recently, Sarah was a consultant for one of the Big 4 professional services firms.
Sarah’s research area of interest is in the field of sports law, and she presented her research on ‘regulating the use of assistive technology by disabled athletes’ at the Australian and New Zealand Sports Law Association conference in 2018. She is currently studying a Graduate Diploma of Sports Law at the University of Melbourne.
On occasion, Sarah takes the stage in musicals and is particularly proud of her dramatic on-stage death in Les Miserables.
Marketing & Communications Officer
Interdisciplinary researcher. Python expert. Professional juggler.
Zac is a Researcher at 3Ai. He holds a degree in Interdisciplinary Studies with first-class honours from the Australian National University, where he studied a wide range of topics including computer science, moral and political philosophy, and environmental and social sciences. His Honours thesis described Indigenous calendars and linked traditional knowledge to weather observations to better characterise tropical seasonal patterns.
Zac also maintains or contributes to a variety of open source projects, focusing on software correctness, data science, and community praxis. In previous roles, he has designed, implemented, and supported data analysis and reporting pipelines for stakeholders at multi-terabyte scale, taught both theory and practice of supercomputing for environmental sciences, and published several visualisation and performance upgrades in scientific Python packages.
He claims to have spent his youth training with a circus before running away to join the university - we're not sure how much of this is true, but we can confirm he has suspiciously good juggling skills.
Roboticist. Entrepreneur. Skydiver.
Mina Henein is a Research Fellow at 3Ai. Mina completed his PhD at the Australian National University, and the Australian Centre of Excellence for Robotic Vision working on algorithms for space and underwater exploration. Sadly, he did not get to test any of his algorithms in space or underwater, however, his main application domain was autonomous cars.
Prior to his PhD, Mina received a B.Sc. in Engineering and Materials Science majoring in Mechatronics from the German University in Cairo, Egypt. He then worked for Procter & Gamble as a Near-East demand manager before pursuing his M.Sc. in Advanced Robotics. Mina uses his education to travel the world. He received a double M.Sc. degree; European Masters on Advanced Robotics (EMARo) from Università degli Studi di Genova, Italy and Ecole Centrale de Nantes, France. He also previously worked as a visiting research assistant at the Italian Institute of Technology and the Autonomous Systems Lab at ETH Zurich where he carried out his M.Sc. thesis.
Mina is very passionate about soccer, travel, languages and recently got into skydiving. He aspires to complete a solo diving course to be able to skydive solo in every country he visits next (once we can do so again!).
Storyteller. Community-builder. Explainer.
Alison remembers the day her Dad brought home her family’s first Commodore 64 and she has had a love/hate relationship with technology ever since. Her studies and career have taken her around the world, with her work including roles in government, the disability sector and the arts. Alison is the founder and former Chair of South Australian Makers Inc, who established Makerspace Adelaide, was producer of the award winning Maker Faire Adelaide. Alison is a member of the first cohort of 3A Institute at ANU where she completed a Masters of Applied Cybernetics. For much of her career she has worked to create opportunities to enable people to use, understand and benefit from technology in its many forms. Her work invariably includes education, community development, curating events and working with others to make great things happen.
Engineer. Start-up founder. Poet.
James joined the 3A Institute (3Ai) at the Australian National University as a Research Officer in August 2019.
Prior to joining the 3Ai team, James completed a Bachelor Engineering (R&D) from the ANU, majoring in mechanical and material systems. He also co-founded a non-profit group in 2015 delivering educational workshops to regional schools, and a tech startup in 2017 focusing on large-area wireless power.
After suffering from creative withdrawal symptoms while studying engineering, James rediscovered his passion for writing and has revealed his secret identity as a talented poet.
Medical anthropologist. Policy analyst. Resident rowboat specialist.
Amy McLennan is a Senior Fellow with the 3A Institute at the Australian National University (ANU), a Tuckwell Fellow at ANU, and is also a Research Affiliate with the School of Anthropology at the University of Oxford. She is currently involved in projects relating to human wellbeing, technology and policy, and is one of the people behind the design and delivery of 3Ai’s courses and masterclasses.
Trained in biomedical science, human nutrition and medical anthropology, she completed her DPhil at the University of Oxford’s School of Anthropology. She also has experience as a Senior Analyst in the Australian Government’s Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet. She has also held several positions in private industry, including in international development and human-centred design consulting, and continues to offer freelance research, facilitation and education design services.
Amy has been affiliated with the University of Oxford for over a decade, where her work has focused on food systems, nutrition, obesity, health policy and human ecology. She speaks French, has previously worked in the UK, France, Germany, Nauru and New Caledonia, and has collaborated on research relating to other islands of the Pacific and Caribbean.
In addition to her work, Amy is also a rowing ‘enthusiast’ (read: loves getting up to splash about on cold rivers at 5am), having represented University of Oxford in the reserve boat ‘Osiris’ at the 2012 Boat Race held annually between Oxford and Cambridge.
Award-winning photojournalist. Political communicator. Trivia judge extraordinaire.
Andrew Meares is a Senior Fellow at 3Ai where he is investigating the role of images in an ecosystem of distrust in an increasingly fast and connected world.
Andrew is a multi-award-winning photographer and senior Australian media and political communicator. Andrew was a photojournalist at Fairfax for 27 years, President of the Federal Parliamentary Press Gallery for 3 years and in 2018 was a Senior Adviser to then Leader of the Opposition, Bill Shorten.
His photography career has spanned the transition from the darkroom to digital. He won a Walkley Award in 2010 for photos taken on an iPhone. His camera has enabled him to cover much of Australia, travel to war zones and crawl around on carpets and walk backwards down the corridors of Parliament House, The White House, and the Great Hall of the People.
Capable and confident under pressure, Mearsey did not hesitate to take on his duties as judge at the inaugural 3Ai trivia night.
Roboticist. Educator. Baker.
Johan Ahlm Michalove is a Researcher at 3Ai, where he works on creating a new branch of engineering in the management of data, machine intelligence, and cyber-physical systems.
Johan initially trained in computer science and philosophy at the University of Washington (UW), where he cultivated skills in combining the material of artificial intelligence with historical materialism. He then earned his Master of Science (Computer Science) from the Paul G. Allen School of Computer Science and Engineering at UW. As a graduate researcher at the UW Personal Robotics Lab, Johan was involved in research at the intersection of mobile robotics and machine learning, and together with his colleagues launched an accessible open-source robotics platform used by researchers and educators internationally. Johan has also worked at NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), where he contributed to the ground data systems of the Curiosity and Perseverance Mars Rover missions.
Johan is also an experienced educator, having taught and co-designed undergraduate courses in computer ethics, and contributed to a popular transdisciplinary machine intelligence course cited by the New York Times.
When he isn’t busy at the office, Johan can be found applying his amazing attention to detail to the creation of Danish baked goods. We would tell you how good they taste, except he is yet to share them with us :(
Connector. Driving force. Writer.
Ellen O’Brien has pursued several disciplines in academic study including Creative Writing, Digital Environments and International Relations. The through line isn’t always obvious at first glance, but Ellen is driven by curiosity to understand where we are headed and why. Knowing how to explore these ideas through different forms and frameworks has been her motivation and fascination. Ellen’s research thus far has considered the role of power and politics in global migration. At 3Ai, Ellen loves to bring projects to fruition and bring people together around interesting ideas. More broadly, Ellen loves stories of all kinds; she loves learning about big ideas and the groups behind them, and she loves being with people and in places that make her think differently.
Ellen’s first apartment was decorated like a Berlin bar with toadstool fairy lights, ferns, a collection of fancy beer bottles and a stairway in her living room that went nowhere.
Interested in the ethics of emerging technologies. Genevieve Bell expert. Cavoodle devotee.
Juliette joined the 3A Institute (3Ai) at the Australian National University as a Research Assistant in February 2019.
She is currently completing a Bachelor of Philosophy (Arts) at the ANU, where she engages with a range of topics including cultural studies, moral philosophy and Southeast Asian studies. Juliette’s major is in Digital Humanities and she is passionate about the social and ethical dimensions of emerging technologies. She is also an expert on all things Genevieve Bell, having catalogued almost every recorded public talk Genevieve has ever given!
Juliette is also a talented proponent of the experimental baking movement (we have witnessed her wonderful carrot cake) as well as being the self-proclaimed number one fan of cavoodle superstar Cromwell the Magnificent (see Maia Gould).
Admin geek. Miracle worker. Genevieve’s first 3Ai accomplice
Gabrielle is the Executive Assistant to the Director at the 3A Institute (3Ai) at the Australian National University.
She completed her Bachelor of Arts in History and Gender Sexuality & Culture at the Australian National University. Since then, she has performed project coordinator office management roles across strategic communications, insurance, and marketing industries. More recently, she served as Administrator at University House at the Australian National University.
Aside from working miracles with the diary (we’ve seen the inboxes she has to manage...and we are, somewhat selfishly, thankful they are not ours), Gabrielle was also a keystone in the 3A Institute creation story – she became the first-ever employee of 3Ai after Genevieve Bell when she joined in 2017.
Executive Assistant to the Director
Nuclear physicist. Experimentalist. Writer.
Elizabeth T. Williams is a Senior Fellow at the 3A Institute at the Australian National University (ANU).
She completed her PhD in experimental nuclear structure at Yale University in December 2009 before commencing postdoctoral work in fundamental and applied nuclear physics at Yale and CSIRO. Liz joined the ANU in 2012, where she held an ARC DECRA fellowship. She has created and used cyber-physical systems to carry out her research in nuclear science, and has always had a fascination with how complex systems come together in a human context. She is also a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy and an Honorary Senior Lecturer in the ANU Department of Nuclear Physics.
Her passion for research impact and the responsibilities that researchers have to imagine the context in which their research will be used led her to the 3A Institute, where she is currently working on creating a new applied science in the management of data, artificial intelligence, and cyber-physical systems. She is also the main coordinator for our fantastic maker studio!
Liz also has a longstanding interest in journalism, dating back to her work as an arts reporter and features editor at The Yale Daily News. She has used the skills she developed as a student journalist to write news and popular science articles for a range of publications, including Australian Geographic, The Conversation, and Nature Chemistry.
Data practitioner. Analyst. Logician.
Paul Wong is a Senior Fellow at 3Ai. He completed his PhD with the Automated Reasoning Group in the Research School of Information Sciences and Engineering at the ANU.
Paul was formerly a lecturer in Software Engineering at the University of Wollongong, a Senior Policy Analyst with the Commonwealth Grants Commission, and a Defence Analyst with the Defence Science and Technology Organisation.
Over the last decade, Paul has been a data practitioner covering all aspects of the strategic use of data as an enterprise and national asset. Paul has managed enterprise class systems and data, played a key role in the establishment of a national consortium to support digital research infrastructure, and contributed to the improvement of research data management practices nationally. Since 2014, Paul also founded a private consultancy business to provide strategic data advisory, analytical and training services for organisations.
"Mysticism might be characterized as the study of those propositions which are equivalent to their own negations. The Western point of view is that the class of all such propositions is empty. The Eastern point of view is that this class is empty if and only if it isn't." - Raymond Smullyan
It takes hard work and many diverse voices to build the world we want to see. We would like to recognise the input of the incredible people who have contributed to our journey to a new branch of engineering.
Catherine Ball - Honorary Associate Professor
Crighton Nichols - Honorary Associate Professor
Brendan Traw - Distinguished Honorary Professor
Caitlin Bentley - Honorary Research Fellow
John Debs - Affiliate
Ehsan Nabavi - Affiliate
Meet our alumni
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