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Dr Petra Kuhnert

Associate Science Director for University Engagement / Senior Research Scientist


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Contact details:

GPO BOX 2583


Petra is the Associate Science Director for University Engagement in Data61 and works on a wide range of applied problems requiring a StatML solution. She has a PhD in applied statistics, focussing more recently on the development of methods at the intersection between statistics and machine learning to develop more informative predictions for risk based decision-making.

Petra leads the Hybrid Prediction Activity in the Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence Future Science Platform in CSIRO, where the focus is on the development of predictive models that are a hybrid of data driven statistical machine learning and domain knowledge.

Petra has a passion for science communication and developing methodologies that are fit for purpose, have relevance to the problem being solved and can aid in the decision-making process to stakeholders. She is interested in developing data workflows with trusted science outputs and uses visualisations as a medium for communicating outputs from data and models to facilitate decision-making.

Petra currently supervises a range of PhD students and postdoctoral research fellows on topics in visualisation, statistics, computer science and machine learning. She is a Research Integrity Advisor for CSIRO and has a keen interest in providing unique STEM opportunities for women.

Petra has collaborated closely with state agencies and Commonwealth government departments which include the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), Department of Agriculture Water and Energy (DAWE), Department of Industry Science Energy and Resources (DISER) and the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority (GBRMPA). She has strong international linkages with the Department of Statistics at the University of Missouri, Columbia USA.

Other Interests

I am involved with an initiative called RLadies ( As I am often in new cities, I helped found both the Canberra and Darwin branches in Australia. R is an open-source statistical programming language and forms the basis for many of my packages, methods and tools that I have developed, particularly the tools relating to visualisation and Great Barrier Reef loads estimation. Starting these chapters, particularly in more remote locations such as Darwin, has created opportunities to discuss my work with others who have interests from a broad range of backgrounds that lead to potential collaborations. This initiative has also offered women and gender-diverse people a voice in the coding and tech space that form the basis of many AI solutions. It has also expanded my collaboration network and my opportunities to engage with more diverse thinking.

Academic Qualifications

  • 1993

    B App Sci (Mathematics)
    Queensland University of Technology

  • 1994

    B App Sci Honours (Mathematics)
    Queensland University of Technology

  • 2003

    PhD Statistics
    Queensland University of Technology

Achievements and Awards

  • 2023--

    APAC WAI Award - 1st Runner Up - Innovator of the Year

  • 2023--

    APAC WAI Award - Environment and Biodiversity Category

  • 2022--

    Venables Award for new developers of open source software (Team Effort)
    Statistical Society of Australia

  • 2013--

    Abdel El-Shaarawi Young Researcher’s Award
    The International Environmetrics Society

  • 2010--

    Julius Award

  • 2010--

    CMIS @ the Table

  • 2009--

    Best Poster
    The International Environmetrics Society Conference

  • 2008--

    Best Poster
    Iinternational Biometrics Conference, Dublin

We have publications by Dr Petra Kuhnert

    Published data & software

    We have published items by Dr Petra Kuhnert