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.
Happiness and satisfaction
International Society for Quality of Life Research
International Society for Quality of Life Studies
Cummins, R. A. (2012). Self-reported states of wellbeing. Invited Address, 1st Expert meeting on measurement and target setting for wellbeing, World Health Organization, Regional Office for Europe, Copenhagen.
Cummins, R. A. (2012). The dark side of positive psychology. Colloquium, School of Psychology, Deakin University. Melbourne.
Cummins, R. A. (2012). Measuring population happiness to inform public policy, Invited seminar, National Centre for Social and Economic Modelling, Canberra.
Cummins, R. A. (2012). The relationship between Trust and Subjective Wellbeing is mediated by Homeostatically Protected Mood. Paper, Second Asian Conference on Psychology & the Behavioral Sciences, Osaka.
Cummins, R. A. (2012). Is happiness good for you? Public lecture, BrisScience, University of Queensland, Brisbane.
Tanton, R., Cummins, R. & Mohanty, I. (2012) Small area estimates of subjective wellbeing using a spatial microsimulation model: First steps. Paper, International Microsimulation Association European Conference, Dublin.
Cummins, R. A. (2012). Subjective Wellbeing and Public Policy. Invited paper, Subjective Wellbeing Workshop, Australian Bureau of Statistics, Canberra.
Cummins, R. A. (2012). Set-points for Subjective Wellbeing: real or imagined?. Keynote address, Wellbeing and Public Policy Conference, Wellington, New Zealand.
Cummins, R. A. (2012). Measuring Subjective Wellbeing to Inform Public Policy. Invited workshop, Wellbeing and Public Policy Conference, Wellington.
Cummins, R. A. (2012). Subjective wellbeing and health. Invited address, 2nd expert meeting on measurement and target setting for well-being, World Health Organization, Regional Office for Europe, Paris.
Holmes-Truscott ,E.; Browne,J. L.; Cummins, R. A., Reddy, P., Pouwer,F.; Speight, J. (2012) Subjective wellbeing among adults with diabetes: Results from Diabetes MILES Australia. Australian diabetes society/Australian diabetes educators association annual scientific meeting, Gold Coast.
Cummins, R. A. (2012). Is happiness good for you? Invited Alumni lecture, Deakin University, Warrnambool.
Cummins, R. A. (2012). Informal carers: some of your most disadvantaged clients. Invited paper, Interrelate Staff Forum, Newcastle.
Cummins, R. A. (2012). Measuring Subjective Wellbeing. Invited paper, National Disability Services Forum, Melbourne.
Cummins, R. A. (2012). Does healthier and wealthier make you happier?? Invited Alumni lecture, Deakin University, Melbourne.
Cummins, R. A. (2012). Happiness and Quality of Life. Colloquium, Faculty of Arts and Education, Deakin University. Geelong.
Cummins, R. A.; Li, N.; Wooden, M.; Stokes, M. (2012). Set-points for Subjective Wellbeing: Evidence from HILDA longitudinal data. 11th International Conference of the International Society for Quality of Life Studies, Venice.
Cummins, R. A. (2012). Unipolar response scale: A suggested change for the PWI. 11th International Conference of the International Society for Quality of Life Studies, Venice.
2006-9: Editor-in-Chief, Journal of Happiness Studies, Springer.
2005: Designated Expert of International Standing in Quality of Life Research by the Australian Research Council College of Experts.
2004: Best paper published in Social Indicators Research in 2003 (Cummins, R. A., Eckersley, R., Pallant, J., Van Vugt, J., & Misajon, R.) awarded by the International Society for Quality of Life Studies.
2004: Faculty Academic of the Year Award, Faculty of Health and Behavioural Sciences. Awarded by the Deakin University Student Association.
2004: Victorian Public Health Award for Capacity Building Excellence (Cummins, R. A., Davern, M., Hunter, B. James, A. M., Okerstrom, E., McMillan, D., Eckersley, R., & Lo, S. K.). Awarded by the Victorian Department of Human Services.
2000-cont: Director, Australian Centre on Quality of Life
2000-cont: Member, Faculty Board
2011-cont: Past-President - International Society for Quality of Life Studies
2002-cont: Founding co-ordinator - International Wellbeing Group
2005-2013: External Academic Advisor, Master of Social Science in Counselling, City University of Hong Kong.
2008-cont: Member, Academic Advisory Board of the Australian Positive Psychology and Well-Being Conference.
2008-cont: Member, Inaugural Advisory Board for the World Happiness Forum.
2009: Co-Chair (with Anna Lau) Symposium, International Wellbeing Group. 9th Conference of the International Society for Quality of Life Studies, Florence, July.
2010-cont: Member, Expert Panel, National Carer Counselling Program, Carers Australia.
2010-cont: Member, Program Advisory Committee, Master of Wellness, RMIT (www.rmit.edu.au/wellness )
2011-cont: Member, Steering Committee, Australian National Development Index
2011: Chair, External Review Panel, Bachelor of Social Sciences (Honours) in Psychology, Hong Kong Institute of Education.
2011-cont: Member, Advisory Committee, Partners for Livable Communities Australia (www.livable.org.au)
2012-cont: Temporary Advisor, Expert committee on measurement and target setting for wellbeing, World Health Organization, Regional Office for Europe.
2013-cont: Temporary Advisor, Expert Group on the Development of Indicators for Health 2020, World Health Organization, Regional Office for Europe.
Membership of Editorial boards:
1995-cont: Journal of Intellectual and Developmental Disability
1996-cont: Journal of Applied Research in Intellectual Disabilities
1996-cont: International Journal of Practical Approaches to Disability
1999-cont: International Journal of Disability, Development and Education
1999-cont: Social Indicators Research
1999-2003: Journal of Happiness Studies
2004-2005: Editor, Journal of Happiness Studies
2006-2009: Editor-in-Chief, Journal of Happiness Studies
2010-cont: Editor, Journal of Happiness Studies
2005-cont: Applied Research in Quality of Life
2010-cont: Journal of Social Research & Policy
2011-cont: Pakistan Journal of Psychology
2011-cont: Journal of Organisation and Human Behaviour
2011-cont: Encyclopedia of Quality of Life Research
2011-cont: International Journal of Happiness and Development
2012-cont: Journal of Happiness and Wellbeing
2012-cont: Halloran Philanthropy/History of Well-Being project