Engineering and Information Sciences


Brian Cullis

Current Positions:

Professor in Biometry, School of Mathematics and Applied Statistics, University of Wollongong


Brian Cullis did his undergraduate studies at the University of Adelaide, completing a BSc (Hons) in Mathematical Statistics in 1977. In 1978 he joined the then NSW Department of Agriculture (now NSW Department of Primary Industries ¿ NSWDPI) to work as a biometrician, in Sydney and Wagga Wagga until 1982. He resigned to take a position as a consultant with Siromath but rejoined NSW Agriculture in 1984 and moved to Tamworth until 1986 after which he moved back to Wagga Wagga and remained there until resigning from NSWDPI in 2010. His career with NSWDPI involved assisting researchers with statistical aspects of their research projects, and included providing assistance with experimental design and analysis and preparation of scientific articles and reports. His career with NSWDPI provided an excellent environment for developing and enhancing his interests in applied statistics of relevance to the bio-sciences.
In 1987 he obtained his PhD from the University of New South Wales under the supervision of Professor Charles McGilchrist. This then led to his appointment to the Research Scientist classification, which is scale designed to recognise the importance of science in the public service by providing a career structure for scientists employed in the public service who execute and publish original research.". He progressed through effciency barriers and higher levels until 2007 to be one of only three researchers in NSWDPI to be appointed as a Senior Principal Research Scientist. From 1994 he was also Research Leader, Biometrics, whose role was to provide administrative and scientific leadership direction of NSWDPI¿s biometrics program which had a staff of up to 25 professional officers.
Professor Cullis resigned from NSWDPI in 2010 to take an appointment as the inaugural chair in Biometry at the University of Wollongong. This position is jointly funded by the Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC) and CSIRO Food Futures Flagship. He is currently leader of the Centre for Biometrics and Bioinformatics in the National Institute for Applied Statistics Research (NIASRA). He is leader of the GRDC funded Statistics for the Australian grains industry project, which is a national project involving 6 collaborating organisations, a budget of over $6,000,0000 over 5 years and involving approximately 15 staff. He also manages numerous other research consultancies and leads the CBB team at UOW.
Professor Cullis has published over 150 scientific articles, is a co-developer of the ASReml software and has successfully supervised many Masters and PhD students. He is a past Co-Editor of Biometrics and is currently chair of the International Programme Committee for the International Biometrics Conference to be held in Florence in 2014.

Research Interests:

Linear mixed models, design of comparative experiments, analysis of genomic data. Current projects include development of new methodologies for the analysis of large and complex multi-environment trial data-sets, generation of optimal designs for a pre-specified covariance structure and development of efficient algorithms and models for one-stage analysis of genomic data-sets in plants.

Professional Activities:

Member Biometrics Society, Australasian Region, 1978-
Associate Editor, Journal Agricultural Science Cambridge, 2004-
Associate Editor, Australian and New Zealand Journal of Statistics, 2009-
Chair of International Programme Committee for IBC 2014, 2012-


GRDC Training in statistical methods and support for plant variety evaluation,1996 ¿ 2001, $489,000
GRDC. Data management systems for crop variety evaluation trials, 1999-2002, $244,000
GRDC Statistical support for plant improvement, 2001-2004, $520,000
GRDC PhD studentship, 2002-2005, $83,000
GRDC PhD studentship, 2004-2006, $86,000
GRDC National Statistics Project KP1 and KP2, 2005-2008, $2,290,000
GRDC National Statistics Project KP3, 2006-2009, $463,000
GRDC Statistics for the Australian Grains Industry, 2008-2011, $2,440,000
GRDC Statistics for the Australian Grains Industry ¿ II, 2011-2016, $6,000,000
GRDC Capacity building in Biometry, 2010-2014, $600,000
RPBC PhD scholarship, 2013-2016, $105,000

Research Students

  • Luke Mazur : Computational Methods for the Analysis of 'Big Data' - Linear Mixed Model With Application to Genomics
  • Christopher Lisle : Improving the accuracy of estimated breeding values in outcrossing plant species