Prof E Ambikairajah wins UNSW Excellence in Senior Leadership Award 2014
Posted on: 13/12/2014 (Saturday)
At a ceremony hosted by the Vice-Chancellor of the University of New South Wales on the 3rd December 2014, Professor Ambikairajah, the Head of School of Electrical Engineering & Telecommunications (EE&T) was awarded the UNSW Excellence in Senior Leadership award. This award is presented to recognise and reward the outstanding and valuable contribution of a select few senior staff to the success of the University and is the highest award of this kind in the university.
Prof. Eliathamby Ambikairajah
Head of School, Electrical Engineering & Telecommunications
Prof. Ambikairajah was nominated for this award in October 2014 by the 10 Senior Professors in the School, supported by several members of the Industry Advisory Board, the Dean of Engineering, and alumni, all of whom recognised his leadership of the School and UNSW, particularly over the last 6 years as Head of School. Prof. Ambikairajah designed and developed the School’s new 2-year accredited postgraduate coursework program, which resulted in surging enrolments. He also designed a new innovative 5-year BE ME program. Both of these programs are the first of their kind in Australia, and have now been adopted as a University model. His leadership contributions over the past 15 years and these programs have propelled UNSW Electrical Engineering to become the largest school of its kind in Australia, ranked highest in research performance.
Professor Eliathamby Ambikairajah was born in Koddady, Jaffna, Sri Lanka and studied in Jaffna Hindu College from 1959 to 1969. He then received a Bachelor of Science (Engineering) in Electronics and Telecommunication from the University of Sri Lanka’s Katubedde Campus in 1974. For the next three years he worked as a scientific officer with the Ceylon Institute of Scientific and Industrial Research (CISIR), on ionospheric absorption research, before becoming the first student from Sri Lanka to receive a research scholarship to attend the Philips International Institute (PII) in the Netherlands, where he obtained a postgraduate diploma in electronic engineering. At Philips Research Labs, he co-invented automatic radio tuning and the demodulator for station program identification signals.
He undertook his PhD at Keele University in the UK and then went on to become the Head of Electronic Engineering in the AIT, Ireland. He became the Dean of Engineering and also held joint appointments at the National University of Ireland, Galway (1984-1999). He was an invited Research Fellow with British Telecom Laboratories (BTL), Martlesham Heath, England, for 10 years (1989-1999).
Prof Ambikairajah then joined the University of New South Wales, Australia in 1999 and was appointed the Head of School of Electrical Engineering and Telecommunications in 2009. As Head of School, he has been instrumental in turning Electrical Engineering & Telecommunications around and setting it on a strong growth trajectory. Over this time, he made a concerted effort to grow the capabilities of all staff in the School and generated a team of academics and professional staff, taking the School to new heights. His staff management style is exemplary as he encourages his staff to develop to their full potential, evidenced by his UNSW “Best Nurturer of Postdocs and Early Career Researchers Award” in 2013, and his teaching excellence has previously been recognised by the Vice Chancellor’s Teaching Award in 2004 for his innovative use of education technology.
This is the first time that a Head of School of Electrical Engineering & Telecommunications has won the UNSW Excellence in Senior Leadership Award and he is also the only winner of the Vice Chancellor’s Teaching Award in the School.
Prof Ambikairajah receiving his UNSW Excellence in Senior Leadership Award from the UNSW Vice Chancellor Prof Fred Hilmer