Robert Cummins received his post-graduate training at the University of Queensland (Diploma of Psychology and Master of Science in Physiology) and the University of Western Australia (Doctor of Philosophy: 1978). He moved to Burwood State College in 1979 as Senior lecturer in the Institute of Special Education, and remained in this position as institutional amalgamations formed Victoria College, which then became part of Deakin University in 1993. Within Deakin he was appointed Reader in Psychology (1993-1996) and then to a Personal Chair in Psychology (1997-2013). He was appointed Emeritus Professor at Deakin University in 2014.
His special area of interest is research into quality of life and he is regarded as an international authority in this field. He is the originator of the concept that subjective wellbeing is under homeostatic control, that each person has a set-point for their level of subjective wellbeing, and that the dominant composition of subjective wellbeing is Homeostatically Protected Mood. Professor Cummins takes a special interest in applying this knowledge to understanding the life quality for people who are disabled.
Professor Cummins is a Fellow of the Australian Psychological Society and of the International Society for Quality of Life Studies. In 2005 he was designated 'Expert of International Standing in Quality of Life Research' by the Australian Research Council College of Experts. In 2004 he was the primary author awarded 'Best paper published in Social Indicators Research 2003' and in that same year, along with research colleagues and staff from Australian Unity, won the Victorian Public Health Award for Capacity Building Excellence, awarded by the Victorian Department of Human Services. He was named as the 2007 Distinguished Quality of Life Researcher by the International Society for Quality of Life Studies.
In 2000, Professor Cummins founded the Australian Centre on Quality of Life as a virtual centre within the university. It is designed as a resource for students and researchers. The Centre is listed by Google as the premier site for 'Quality of Life'. It has about 350 members, receives over a million hits each year and is accessed at no cost to the user. The Centre hosts the International Wellbeing Group with professor Cummins as convenor. The IWG comprises around 150 researchers from over 50 countries and has the purpose of developing the Personal Wellbeing Index as a valid international measure of subjective wellbeing.
Supervising post-graduate students remains his major area of his responsibility. In 1998 he received a 'Highly commended' award for the post-graduate supervision from the Deakin University Postgraduate Association and in 2004 he received the 'Faculty Academic of the Year' award from the Deakin University Student Association.
Professor Cummins has published over 300 books, monographs, chapters, papers, tests and reports. His h-Index is 53 and his publications receive over 1,400 new citations each year. His lifetime citations exceed 14,000.
Current Research Activities
* Editor of the Journal of Happiness Studies and a Board Member on 12 other journals.
* Research advisor for the Australian Unity Wellbeing Index.
International Society for Quality of Life Research
International Society for Quality of Life Studies