A senior leader in AI and data science has won the 2022 ACS Digital Disruptors’ Award for ICT Professional of the Year.

Dr Mahendra Samarawickrama, Manager of Data Science and Analytics at Australian Red Cross, took out the top award, presented at the Hilton Hotel in Sydney overnight.

“I am honoured to receive this prestigious award,” Dr Samarawickrama said.

The annual awards celebrate the achievements of individual ICT professionals and group ICT skills, as well as service transformations across a range of award categories.

There were 27 finalists across nine categories.

The awards were the culmination of a feature-packed day at the ACS Reimagination Thought Leaders’ Summit at which attendees heard from IT professionals, politicians, and academics on topics including building the new digital economy, digitally transforming Australian businesses, and data integrity.

“It is with great pride that ACS presented the 2022 Digital Disruptors Awards after being postponed for the past two years due to COVID," ACS President Dr Nick Tate said.

“The high quality of entrants this year showed how the Australian technology sector adapted well and thrived despite the impact of the pandemic and shows we are well placed as a global tech hotspot with the finalists showing the way we can lead the world.”

The Digital Disruptors Awards ceremony attracted delegates from business, government, education and research, joining the festivities to celebrate the achievements and contributions of these individuals and teams.

“I’d like to congratulate everyone who took part in this year’s awards, all the entries were impressive and I would like to commend the judging panel who carried out the difficult task of deciding the winners from such a high-quality field,” said Dr Tate.

Here is the full list of winners:

ICT Professional of the Year

Dr Mahendra Samarawickrama

CXO Disruptor of the Year

Bob Sharon

Best New Tech Platform


Emerging ICT Professional of the Year

Chelsea Abel and Siddhant Shrestha

ICT Research Project of the Year

University of Technology, Sydney

ICT Service Transformation for the Digital Consumer (Corporate)


ICT Service Transformation for the Digital Consumer (Government)

East Metropolitan Health Service - Data & Digital Innovation

ICT Service Transformation for the Digital Consumer (NFP/NGO)

Missions Connect

Skills Transformation of Work Teams (under 100)