Professor Asha Rao

Position: Interim Director



Asha Rao started her academic career as an Associate Lecturer at RMIT in 1992, rising through the ranks to become Professor in 2016. She is currently the Associate Dean of Mathematical Sciences within the School of Science at RMIT University, and a Science and Technology Australia 2019-2020 Superstar of STEM. She was awarded the RMIT Award for Research Impact (Enterprise) in February 2020 for her research and outreach activities.

Asha is a trans-disciplinary researcher with diverse research partnerships, ranging from mathematics and communication technologies to social media and architecture, risk management and securing the IoT, resulting in highly ranked publications and over $3.5M in funding over the past 10 years.

Her research in risk which addresses issues such as fraud and money-laundering, has resulted in non-traditional outputs such as an Art installation and invitations to participate in national and international bodies. She was the only academic member on the Standards Australia Committee on Information Security Management Systems from 2005 to 2009.

She has been invited to participate, on behalf of RMIT, in every meeting of the intergovernmental expert group on cybercrime, held in Vienna, Austria, since 2013. This open-ended intergovernmental expert group, established by the United Nations Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice in 2011, examines options to strengthen existing and to propose new national and international legal or other responses to cybercrime.

She has undertaken Leadership roles both within RMIT and outside. As the Associate Dean of Mathematical Sciences, she is responsible for 30 academic staff and several programs, including the highly successful Master of Analytics and Master of Cyber Security. As Program Director for Information Security, she brought management and business into a mainly technical Master of Cyber Security, making many links with the cyber security industry. As the inaugural chair of the Women in Maths, she put in place several initiatives to improve gender equity within the mathematical sciences.

As a cybersecurity expert, she appears regularly on audio visual and print media and has won RMIT Media star awards. She is regularly invited to sit on panels on gender equity and curriculum design sometimes travelling across Australia. Examples include the Security Education Summit (University of New South Wales and the Commonwealth Bank), and the Data Science Education forum (University of Western Australia) both in September 2019. She was nominated by the Vice Chancellor RMIT, to attend a roundtable of academic leaders to assist in the development of Australia’s 2020 Cyber Security Strategy at the Australian Cyber Security Centre in Canberra in October 2019.