WHo WaS Rod Walker?

Professor Rod Walker was a pioneer in civil unmanned aircraft systems / drones. Professor Rod Walker was the founding director of the Australian Research Centre for Aerospace Automation (ARCAA), co-founder of the UAV Challenge (Outback Rescue), founding Board Member of AAUS, respected researcher and educator at Queensland University of Technology, and a passionate advocate for the civil unmanned aircraft systems industry.

It was Rod’s vision to see drones routinely benefit all Australians in applications such as search and rescue, bushfire fighting, emergency response, environmental and infrastructure management, and the provision of aerial services to rural communities. For more than a decade Rod led industry, government, and academia in addressing the many technical and regulatory challenges facing the realisation of his vision. Sadly Rod passed away before he could see his vision realised. However, he left behind the foundations for a viable and sustainable commercial unmanned aircraft systems industry. You can help us to keep Rod’s dream alive and to honour Rod’s name for generations to come by donating towards the establishment of the Fund.

Donate to the Fund

ABout the Award

The prestigious Rod Walker Award is intended to inspire and recognise final year undergraduate students whose project or thesis demonstrates excellence in the advancement of civil unmanned aircraft systems in Australia.

The winning recipient will receive a cash prize, award plaque, and travel and registration costs to accept the award at an industry conference, valued at over $5,000.

Details of the 2018/2019 award will be announced soon. Past recipients of the award can be found here:

Eligibility criteria, judging information, and key dates for the 2018/2019 awards to be announced soon.

Rod Walker


The Rod Walker Memorial Endowment Fund was established to ensure Rod’s vision would be realised and lasting recognition of Rod’s significant contributions to the industry. The Rod Walker Memorial Endowment Fund will offer awards and incentives to those individuals and organisations who demonstrate excellence in forwarding the civil unmanned aircraft systems industry. The aim is to inspire and motivate people to continue to address the technical and social challenges facing the civil unmanned aircraft systems industry.

The Rod Walker Memorial Endowment Fund is managed by QUT. No fees or charges are taken out of donations, with all monies gifted going directly to the Fund. The Endowment Fund is governed by some of Rod’s close friends and colleagues. To contact the governance committee please visit the Contact Us page.


We cannot do this without your help! We are actively fundraising to honour Rod’s name and continue his good work in perpetuity. The more we can raise, the more we can do to support the individuals and industry members demonstrating excellence in their pursuit of Rod’s vision. A small contribution, something that would only take a moment, could last a lifetime.

A receipt will be issued for all donations made. In Australia, donations over $2 are tax deductible. On behalf of Rod’s family, friends and colleagues we thank you for helping us to reach our fundraising target, for honouring Rod and for keeping his dream alive.

The easiest and securest way to donate to the Rod Walker Memorial Endowment Fund is online via the Giving to QUT website. Make sure to select ‘other’ and enter the fund name the “Rod Walker Memorial Endowment Fund”.

QUT staff can salary sacrifice their donations and also setup regular donations out of their pre-tax pay, arrangement can be made via QUT Staff Giving. Make sure to nominate that the funds go towards the “Rod Walker Memorial Endowment Fund”.
For more information on how to donate – including corporate donations – please contact us or visit the Giving to QUT website.

2018/2019 application details coming soon

Details on how to submit your application to the 2018/2019 Rod Walker Award will be announced soon. Like us on Facebook to stay up to date with award announcements.