Speakers for National Security, Science & Technology Forum

The speakers below was featured in the 2018 Summit.
Speakers for the 2019 Summit will be announced from January 2019.


Professor Chi-King Lee, Professor in Civil Engineering, School of Engineering & IT, UNSW Canberra


Professor Chi-King Lee has been working in the areas of finite element modelling and structural engineering for many years. His main research interests include automatic finite element mesh generation and adaptive algorithm, steel structure, sustainable building structure system and protective engineering for structure. He acts as reviewer for many international journals in the areas of numerical modelling, structural mechanics and engineering. He also worked as a consultant for the PSA Singapore on the dynamic fatigue study of container quay cranes as well as for a building design software company to provide recommendations on the implementation of their analysis and design software.

PhD University of London, Imperial College, London 1996
MPhil University of Hong Kong 1993
BSc(Eng) University of Hong Kong 1989

Professional Affiliations
Member, American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE)
Member, Singapore Structural Steel Society (SSSS)

Career History
June 2015–Present, Professor in Civil Engineering, School of Engineering & IT, UNSW Canberra, Australia
1998-2000 Lecturer, 2000-2001 Assistant Professor, 2002–June 2015 Associate Professor, School of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore
1996-1997 Post-doctoral fellow and honorary lecturer, Department of Civil and Structural Engineering, The University of Hong Kong

Research Interests
Computational Mechanics: Automatic mesh generations, Meshless methods (RKPM/EFGM) and Generalized and eXtended finite element methods (GFEM, XFEM), Adaptive algorithm

Steel structures and sustainable Building Structure System: Use of high strength steel in construction, Fatigue performance of tubular and crane structures
Integrated design procedure for optimal sustainable building structural system

Protective engineering for structures: Explosion safety of ammunition magazines, Impact and ricochet behaviours of explosion debris, Combined blast and fragment loading on structures, Progressive collapse of reinforced concrete structures



Mark G. Stewart is Professor of Civil Engineering and Director of the Centre for Infrastructure Performance and Reliability at The University of Newcastle in Australia. He is co-author of Probabilistic Risk Assessment of Engineering Systems, Terror, Security, and Money: Balancing the Risks, Benefits, and Costs of Homeland SecurityChasing Ghosts: The Policing of Terrorism, and Are We Safe Enough? Measuring and Assessing Aviation Security, and has published more than 400 technical papers and reports. He has 30 years of experience in probabilistic risk and vulnerability assessment of infrastructure and security systems. Professor Stewart has received extensive Australian Research Council support, including an Australian Professorial Fellowship, to develop probabilistic risk-modelling techniques for infrastructure subject to military and terrorist explosive blasts, and cost-benefit assess­ments of aviation security, policing, and counter-terrorism protective measures for critical infrastructure.

PROFESSOR PRIYAN MENDIS, Department of Infrastructure Engineering, University of Melbourne

Professor Priyan Mendis has received international recognition for his work in protective and structural engineering and security. Priyan has successfully undertaken commissions for clients within the public and private sectors both nationally and internationally. He has lectured in structural engineering and protective engineering at the University Melbourne, Australia for more than 20 years and attached to the Dept of Infrastructure Engineering. He has been invited to lecture to both researchers and practising engineers on various topics related to protective technology of structures, both in Australia and overseas.

Alex Remennikov, Associate Professor of Structural Engineering, University of Wollongong, Head of School of Civil, Mining and Environmental Engineering


Alex Remennikov is an Associate Professor of Structural Engineering at the University of Wollongong and Head of School of Civil, Mining and Environmental Engineering. He received his PhD from the National University of Construction and Architecture, Kiev, Ukraine in 1994. After graduation, he was awarded a New Zealand Foundation for Science and Technology Post-Doctoral Fellowship at the University of Canterbury to study response of steel braced buildings to severe earthquake loads. Alex joined the University of Wollongong in 2001. His research interests include analysis and design of structures subject to extreme loads, experimental investigation of structures under impact and blast loads, and the development of high-performance protective structures for critical infrastructure protection against effects of terrorist attacks. He has published over 160 research journal and conference papers in the area of response of structures to extreme loads. Recently, Dr Remennikov has expanded his research area into the behaviour, design and experimental validation of response of reinforced concrete structures with FRP bars to extreme loading events. In addition, Alex has been involved in a variety of engineering consulting projects for governmental organizations and private sector, involving protection of Australian Embassies, Australian Reserve Bank facilities, NSW and Federal Government facilities and other critical infrastructure against terrorist attacks.

Professor Tristan Perez, Professor - Autonomous Systems, Decisions & Control, Electrical Engineering & Computer Science,Queensland University of Technology (QUT)  

Topic: Control of Complex Systems and Resilience of Critical Infrastructure

Professor Tristan Perez is with the Institute for Future Environments at the Queensland University of Technology. He has over 18 years of experience in research collaboration with industry and defence. His areas of expertise include mathematical system theory, autonomous systems, robotics, decision making, and control. Over the past ten years part of Tristan’s work has focused on the resilience of autonomous systems and the quantification of its uncertainty as it relates to mission safety and performance requirements. He works with industry partners such as Boeing on qualification of autonomy, and also on complex systems with the Australian Department of Defence Science and Technology Group’s Maritime Division, Tactical and Weapons System Division, and Joint Operation Analysis Division.

Tristan obtained his Electronics Engineering Degree (6-year programme) at the National University of Rosario in Argentina, and his PhD on the topic of Performance Limitations and Control of Uncertain Systems at The University of Newcastle, Australia. Tristan is a Chief Investigator at The Australian Research Council (ARC) Centre of Excellence for Mathematical and Statistical Frontiers (ACEMS), which brings together a critical mass of Australia’s best researchers in applied mathematics, statistics, mathematical physics and machine learning.

Dr. Damith Mohotti, School of Civil Engineering, Faculty of Engineering and IT, University of Sydney, Australia

Topic: Continuous Impedance-Graded Metallic Composite System for Shock Mitigation

Dr Mohotti has developed expertise in many interrelated areas in structural and materials engineering including extreme loadings on structures (blast and impact), wind loadings on buildings and development of smart materials. He is considered as an expert in advanced numerical simulations with his immense contribution to the development of this sector. In addition to his expertise as a researcher he has gained worthy of experience working as a structural engineer and a consultant. 

Roles and responsivities
Dr. Damith is currently working as a lecturer in the School of Civil Engineering at the Faculty of Engineering and IT at University of Sydney. He currently works as a member of the industrial engagement committee of the school and hold the responsibility of delivering three key units of studies on design of concrete and prestressed concrete structures.

- International Association of Protective Structures (IAPS)
- Concrete Institute of Australia (CIA)
- Engineers Australia (EA)

Honours and awards
- Eureka Prize for Outstanding Science in Safeguarding Australia, 2013
- Engineering excellence award –IESL NSW branch 2017
- Project contribution award Defence Materials Technology Centre (DMTC), 2014


Topic: Detecting and Mitigating Cyber Attacks in Critical Infrastructure

Dr Foo is a researcher in the field of secure network protocols with an active interest in network security applications. These include specific applications in the areas of cyber physical systems security and security in industrial controls systems such as SCADA and the smart grid.  Dr Foo has extensive experience with computer networking having worked and taught in this area for over 15 years.  Dr Foo has also been responsible for the design and development of the QUT SCADA security research laboratory

Major tim napper, SENIOr project officer - national projects (land, capital facilities and infrastructure branch, infrastructure division, australian army

Topic: "Ballpark Blast" program

Major Napper attended the Australian Defence Force Academy (ADFA) graduating in 2007 with a Bachelor of Civil Engineering with first class honours. In 2008 Major Napper was posted to the 17th Construction Squadron and in 2010 was selected to raise the JTF 633 Force Engineer Construction Team for Operation Slipper, Afghanistan. He led delivery of Patrol Base Musazai, successfully designing and constructing the base despite significant enemy actions against the construction site. For his contribution to Mentoring Task Force 1, Major Napper was awarded the Meritorious Unit Citation.

 Major Napper has held several other appointments at the 1st Combat Engineering Regiment (Darwin), the School of Military Engineering (Sydney), the 19th Chief Engineer Works (Sydney) and Capital Facilities and Infrastructure Branch (Canberra). As the Australian Representative for the American, British, Canadian, Australian and New Zealand (ABCA) Armies, Major Napper developed a new military standard for Force Protection Engineering Protective Thicknesses for Expeditionary Field Fortifications. Major Napper’s continued work for ABCA also resulted in new international procedures for the assessment of the protective levels of structures. These efforts significantly enhanced international interoperability and developed links with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and Australian Security and Intelligence Organisation.

 Major Napper has developed the ‘Ballpark Blast’ software program which was internationally recognised in The Hague at the 2016 International Physical Security Forum. It has since been requested for use in numerous intelligence, military, academic, foreign affairs and police organisations with distribution across 10 countries.

 In 2016 Major Napper deployed to the United States led Combined Joint Task Force – Operation Inherent Resolve (CJTF-OIR) headquarters, Kuwait. Major Napper successfully integrated the ‘Ballpark Blast’ program into the CJTF-OIR headquarters, supporting his leadership of the inception of the AUD$112 million Baghdad Basing Project and his representation of the CJTF-OIR within the Department of State led Mosul Dam Interagency Task Force. For his contribution to CJTF-OIR Major Napper was awarded the United States Joint Service Commendation Medal.

 As a Senior Engineer at the 19th Chief Engineer Works Major Napper has led several projects on the Defence Estate for Army Headquarters and throughout Papua New Guinea for International Policy Division. Additionally, he has led the Army Aboriginal Community Assistance Programme (AACAP) for the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet. Currently, Major Napper is a Senior Project Officer at Capital Facilities and Infrastructure Branch, responsible for approximately $1.5 billion of national projects across the Defence estate.

Major Napper holds a Masters in Project Management and is a Chartered Professional Engineer and Registered Professional Engineer of Queensland.

Clinton Jacobs  -  Cyber and Intelligence Program Manager, National Security, Science & Technology Centre, Defence Science & Technology Group

Mr Jacobs is currently the Cyber and Intelligence Program Manager within National Security Science and Technology Centre (NSSTC) in Defence Science and Technology Group (DST Group). Mr Jacobs has over 20 years of experience working within the national security community for a range of agencies. The roles that Mr Jacobs has undertaken include a wide range of engineering design and development tasks, system integration, project management, team leadership, communications infrastructure development, tactical communications, capability analysis, support to military operations, and ISR capability development and support. Mr Jacobs has a Bachelor Degree in Electronics and Communications Engineering (University of Canberra), a Master’s Degree in Electrical Engineering (University of New South Wales), a Graduate Certificate in Scientific Leadership (University of Melbourne) and a Master’s Degree in National Security Policy (National Security College at the Australian National University)

Professor Tuan Ngo, Department of Infrastructure Engineering, University of Melbourne

Prof Tuan Ngo is the Director of the Advanced Protective Technologies for Engineering Structures (APTES) Group at the University of Melbourne. He is also the Research Director of the ARC Centre for Advanced Manufacturing of Prefabricated Housing and Leader of the CRC-P for Advanced Manufacturing of High Performance Building Façade Systems.

Prof Ngo has made a significant contribution to research in vulnerability modelling of critical infrastructure, particularly in the area of assessment of the effects of natural and technical hazards on buildings and infrastructure. He is recognised as an expert in protective technologies for protecting critical infrastructure by many government organisations and industry. Prof Ngo has been involved in many projects to provide security assessment, risk modelling and protection solutions. These projects include design and strengthening of high-rise structures, government buildings, embassies, airports, bridges, tunnels, power stations and critical industrial facilities in Australia and overseas. 

Prof Ngo has carried out significant research collaborations with industry and government agencies to perform large-scale experiments of prefabricated modular components of building structures (facades, wall panels and floor slab systems). Prof Ngo has led a team of researchers in Protective Armoured Systems of the Defence Material Technology Centre (DMTC). His team has developed novel material testing and characterisation techniques and a multi-scale simulation framework for modelling ultra-high strength armour materials and vehicle structural components subjected to extreme mine blasts and ballistic attacks.   

Prof Ngo is the winner of the 2013 Eureka Prize for Outstanding Science in Safeguarding Australia. He received the Safeguarding Australia Award for Best Contribution to National Security Technology Research in 2011. He also received the Award for Excellence in Concrete by the Concrete Institute of Australia-Vic Branch in 2017 and the University of Melbourne Excellence Award for Industry-engaged Research.

Dr John Best, Vice President, Chief Technical Officer, Thales Australia

Dr John Best is Vice President Chief Technical Officer at Thales Australia. His responsibilities include technical strategy, research and development, innovation and engineering. Partnerships and collaboration are significant components of the Thales innovation system and within his portfolio of responsibilities.

John’s early career was spent at the Defence Science and Technology Organisation, where he contributed to, and led, programs of work ranging across underwater weapon effects modelling, mine warfare operations research, virtual environments and combat systems.

John is a director of the Defence Materials Technology Centre (DMTC), a defence oriented research consortium, and Eurotorp Pty Limited.

He holds a Bachelor of Science degree with First Class Honours in Physics from the University of Queensland, a PhD in Mathematics from the University of Wollongong and an MBA from the University of Adelaide. He is a graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.

Professor Chengqing Wu, Structural Engineering, University Technology, Sydney

Dr Wu is Professor of Structural Engineering at University of Technology, Sydney. Dr Wu’s current research interests include the analysis and design of structures under blast loading, retrofitting of structures against blast loads, particularly on blast resistance of ultra-high performance concrete. So far Dr Wu has attracted nearly 5 million dollars research funding from the Australian Research Council (ARC), the Defence Science and Technology Organization (DSTO) Australia and other organizations. Dr Wu has served on a number of international conference committees and chairmanship, undertaken guest editorships as well as having delivered many keynote and invited speeches. So far, he is author of one book, the editors of three conference proceedings, four special issues for international journals, author or co-authors of more than 100 referred international journal papers in blast and impact areas. Dr Wu is an associate editor of ASCE Journal of Performance of Constructed Facilities and an editorial board member of International Journal of Protective Structures. He was also the Chair of the Australian Chapter of the International Association of Protective Structures (http://iapsaustralia.org/) from 2013 to 2017.

Dr Yixia Zhang, School of Engineering and Information Technology, UNSW Canberra

Dr. Zhang is a Senior Lecturer in School of Engineering and Information Technology in the University of New South Wales (UNSW), Canberra and the Undergraduate Civil Engineering Program Coordinator. Before she moved to UNSW Canberra, she worked as a Lecturer and Assistant Professor in other campus of UNSW. She worked as a postdoctoral research fellow in UNSW, the University of Queensland of Australia, Pohang University of Science and Technology in South Korea after completing her PhD in the University of Hong Kong in 2001. She obtained her Bachelor degree and Master degree in Engineering Mechanics from Tianjin University, China in 1992 and 1995. She was awarded the Postgraduate certificate for Higher Education by the University of New South Wales in 2007.

Dr. Zhang has a strong expertise in Computational Mechanics and advanced numerical methods and modelling techniques. Her research areas includes the characterization of material and structural behaviour using advanced numerical modelling and experimental technique. Her research interest in recent year is on advanced materials and novel application of advanced material in structures. Since 1998, she has published over 200 peer-reviewed scholarly research papers including more than 70 research papers published in top leading international journals in her research areas. She was awarded the Spitfire Defence Memorial Fellowship in 2011 and was received by the Australian Governor in General for her research on impact-resistance construction material. She has been awarded over 20 research grants (over A$1m) from various resources including ARC, government agencies, Defence and industries. She has supervised 7 PhD students and 1 Master student to completion as a primary supervisor since 2012. She has served as local organisation committee and international technical committee member or advisory board member for over 15 international conferences. She has been a frequent reviewer for up to 20 leading International journals.

Hongxu Wang, Research Associate, School of Engineering and INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY, UNSW Canberra

Hongxu Wang is a research associate working in the Impact Dynamics Laboratory at the University of New South Wales, Canberra. He was awarded a PhD degree with specialisation in Mechanical Engineering in 2017 and his thesis topic was ‘Impact Behaviour of UHMWPE Woven Fabrics and Fabric-Reinforced Composite Laminates’. Currently, his main research interests centre on the dynamic behaviour of advanced materials and structures subjected to impact and shock loadings.

MD ABDUL KADER, PhD Candidate, School of Engineering and Information Technology, UNSW Canberra

Kader is a PhD candidate in the School of Engineering and Information Technology (SEIT) at the University of New South Wales (UNSW), Canberra. His thesis topic is “Mechanical Properties and Deformation Mechanisms of Closed-cell Foam Structures during Dynamic Loading”. Before starting his PhD program, he worked as a Lecturer in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at RUET, Bangladesh.