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Dr Jonathon Ralston

Senior Principal Research Scientist

Contact details:

PO BOX 883


I am a Senior Principal Research Scientist who leads strategic research in sensing, automation and robotic systems to provide solutions that address complex operational challenges in the mining industry.

I currently lead CSIRO's Integrated Mining Research Team. Our vision is to develop a fully connected digital mine to realise the next generation of remotely supervised mining systems. This includes research activity in driverless underground vehicles, geosensing, advanced VR/AR interaction, and digital twin mining architectures.

My R&D activities with CSIRO span almost 25 years. I have proposed, led and participated in major industry-funded projects that have made significant improvements to the safety, productivity and operational culture of the underground mining industry. These project include teleoperated reconnaissance vehicles, highwall mining guidance systems, continuous miner automation, automated bolting machines and geosensing technologies. I made significant contributions to the award-winning Longwall Automation (LASC) project, which has been commercialised internationally and with over $3B net benefit to the Australian industry.

I am also leading new space mining research for CSIRO in the area of In-Situ Resource Utilisation (ISRU) through CSIRO's Space Technology FSP. Our goal is to develop advanced, niche ISRU capability to support the emerging Australian Space industry - providing an exciting linkage between terrestrial and space mining technology.

I greatly value the opportunity to develop science directions, engage deeply with industry, lead high-performing research teams, deliver projects with that have real impact, and to inspire people to achieve their full potential.

Academic Qualifications

  • 1992

    Bachelor of Engineering (Electronic and Computing) Hons I
    Queensland University of Technology

  • 1996

    Doctorate of Philosophy (Signal Processing)
    Queensland University of Technology

Professional Experiences

  • 2015

    Senior Member

Achievements and Awards

  • 2015

    CSIRO Medal for Innovation for Science - for seminal contributions to LASC Automation

  • 2016

    Sir Ian McLennan Achievement for Industry - for outstanding contribution to National Development