Dr. Alex Held

Director, Earth Observation Infrastructure, CSIRO

Alex is one of Australia’s leading Earth Observation experts.

Under his stewardship as Director of the CSIRO Centre for Earth Observation, Alex has overseen the establishment of the new radar satellite NovaSAR-1 as one of Australia’s newest national research facility; leads the development of innovative science in remote sensing and drives the development of spatial technology and data analytics to support sustained Earth observation and measurement of our planets eco-systems.

Alex is the Director, Earth Observation Infrastructure and also leads the newly formed CSIRO AquaWatch Australia Mission – a mission in development - which aims to establish an integrated ground-to-space national water quality monitoring system using data from bespoke Earth observation satellites and aquatic based sensors. This Mission seeks to improve the management of our precious water resources using purpose- built space technology – and support growth across Australia’s high-tech space sector.

In early 2021, and in global recognition of his work, Alex recently received the COSPAR Harrie Massey Award for “outstanding contributions to the development of space research in which a leadership role is of particular importance”, being the first winner of this award from the southern hemisphere.

Among Alex’s other distinguished work in steering national and international science policy, he served as Co-Chair of the international Committee on Earth Observation Satellites Strategic Implementation Team (CEOS SIT) for 2 years (2020-2021) and spearheaded the award-winning delivery of the Sentinel Hotspots program (2002–2006), which is still used to support bushfire response activities in Australia.