Deakin Distinguished Professors

The title of Deakin Distinguished Professor is the most prestigious honour that the University can bestow on its staff.

Deakin Distinguished Professors

Professor Catherine Bennett

Professor Catherine Bennett has become a household name over the past two years due to her tireless and expert communication in the media around COVID-19 and our response to it. During the pandemic, Professor Bennett has had national and international media exposures across more than 20,000 media items, including Science Magazine, Nature, BMJ, BBC, Associated Press, CNN, Bloomberg and ABC RN. She has given 50 invited opinion pieces for Europe Now, Inside Story, Reuters, Le Monde, the Guardian, The Age, The Conversation and Herald Sun.

Professor Bennett has more than 50 published editorials since June 2020, all by invitation, thousands of followers and connections on LinkedIn where ‘epi’ posts attract more than 1,000 reads, and up to 22,000. LinkedIn notifications posts are in the top 1% for engagement and led to a blog set up by Deakin to capture and extend some of the commentary.

The strength of Professor Bennett’s science communication has been evident; her media engagement transcends usual scientific translation, to the point where epidemiology is a known science and absolutely associated with Professor Bennett and Deakin University. She has been an advocate for transparent communication from government, and for accountability in decision making; for industry, she has engaged around COVID-safe practices across a range of settings.

Professor Bennett was appointed as the Foundation Chair in Epidemiology Deakin University in 2009 and was Head of School, Health and Social Development from 2010-2019. She has brought to Deakin $4.6 million (80% category 1), lead investigator $1.7 million in external research funding, but arguably, her presence in the media has contributed much more.

Professor Bennett’s research output includes a h-Index 37, 70 peer-reviewed publications; 80% top quartile journals (SCImago), 16% in Q2.

Some other notable achievements include:

  • Established the Council of Academic Public Health Institutions Australasia (CAPHIA) - 2017 Strategic Achievement Award, Council of Academic Public Health Institutions Australasia, for the establishment of CAPHIA, and contributions as founding President and executive member
  • Chair of Deakin University Health, Wellbeing and Safety Committee (2010-2018)
  • Led Deakin in the Alcohol Culture Change Project (2017-2019), and to smoke-free campus status Group (2013-2015)
  • 2019 Vice-Chancellor’s Award for recognising the contribution of the Alcohol Culture Change Project for improving student wellbeing and safety by changing the drinking culture and related alcohol risks
  • Chair of Victorian Coalition of Universities Tobacco Control Group

Professor Rachel Huxley

Professor Rachel Huxley was appointed to the role of Executive Dean for the Faculty of Health at Deakin University in October 2019. Prior to this, she was the Associate Pro-Vice Chancellor (Research) for the College of Science, Health and Engineering at La Trobe University, Australia where she was also the Co-Director of the Research Centre for Cardiovascular Biology and Disease.

A public health epidemiologist, Deakin Distinguished Professor Huxley has also held roles at the University of Minnesota, University of Queensland and the George Institute, Sydney. In 2017 she was made a Visiting Professorial Fellow in Epidemiology within the Nuffield Department of Population Health, University of Oxford.

Deakin Distinguished Professor Huxley serves as Director of the Academic and Research Collaborative in Health and holds advisory board memberships including the Austin Life Sciences Board, the Victorian Chamber of Commerce, Health Taskforce Committee and the Centre for Alcohol Policy and Research.

Deakin Distinguished Professor Huxley’s research has two main foci; the first is on the determination and quantification of major and modifiable risk factors for chronic disease and sex and ethnic disparities in these relationships; and the second area is in evaluating the health impact of climate change and air pollution. She has published more than 200 research articles, has a h-index of 66 and over 21,000 citations and currently holds several competitive National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) research grants as Principal or Co-Investigator in areas related to obesity, diabetes and women’s health.

Professor Felice Jacka

Professor Felice Jacka is Professor of Nutritional Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology and has been responsible for the development of a highly innovative field of research and practice known as Nutritional Psychiatry, establishing – for the first time – diet and nutrition as of importance to mental disorders. These include the first studies to document a role for diet in adolescent depression – the primary age of onset for common mental disorders, the first study to identify both maternal and early life nutrition as important predictors of children’s mental health, and the first trial to show that dietary improvement can address even severe clinical depression.

Professor Jacka is widely recognised as the international leader in the field of Nutritional Psychiatry. This is represented by regular invitations for opening plenary and keynote presentations across the world, and regular media in forums as diverse as Time Magazine, the Oprah Magazine (cover), New York Times, Wall St Journal, The Atlantic, Scientific American, Scientific American Mind (cover), UK Guardian, CNN, NBC, Washington Post, television and stage shows, and Australian and international documentaries. She is founder and president of the International Society for Nutritional Psychiatry Research (ISNPR), representing hundreds of researchers and clinicians across the globe. She is also immediate past president (inaugural) of the Australian Alliance for the Prevention of Mental Disorders, representing researchers and mental health organisations across Australia and informing policy and research practice.

Professor Jacka has published over 220 peer-reviewed scientific papers, the majority in high-impact journals in the mental health field including the American Journal of Psychiatry, World Psychiatry, BMC Medicine and Lancet Psychiatry, together having generated over 10,000/16,500 citations (Scopus/Google Scholar). Professor Jacka has an h-index of 55/69 (Scopus /Google Scholar) and an average Field Weighted Citation Index of 3.4. She is an ISI Highly-Cited Researcher (2020 and 2021) and the recipient of highly competitive NHMRC Early Career Researcher, Career Development, and Investigator Grant Fellowships.

Professor Jacka’s research has been cited in 82 policy documents produced by 52 organisations between 2009-2021. This includes citations within 15 international policy documents produced by high-profile organisations such as the United Nations, the World Health Organisation, UNICEF, and the European Commission, as well as country-level policies produced by 10 governments, including Australia, Canada, Finland, France, Germany, Latvia, New Zealand, Norway, the United Kingdom and the United States.

Professor Jacka’s research has profoundly influenced clinical guidelines, including the Royal Australian New Zealand College of Psychiatry (RANZCP) clinical treatment guidelines.

In 2017, Professor Jacka set up the Deakin Food & Mood Centre, an internationally recognised centre of research excellence in Nutritional Psychiatry. The team now comprises nearly 50 researchers, including HDR students, postdoctoral researchers, and research staff, and it is growing quickly. The research program spans basic, clinical, health services and public health research, with approximately 20 research studies currently underway.

Professor Jacka is spearheading a significant education and training initiative, with the first offering – a Free Online Course in ‘Food and Mood’ – already enrolling more than 70,000 students from more than 170 countries across the globe via Deakin’s Future Learn.

Professor Jacka’s vision and substantial efforts have founded an entirely new field of psychiatry and effected a paradigm shift in the way psychiatry is understood and practised. In recognition of her effort and achievements, she was awarded a Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) for her contribution to Nutritional Psychiatry in 2021.

Professor Liz Johnson

Professor Liz Johnson began her Deakin career as Pro Vice-Chancellor Teaching and Learning in September 2014, following her service as Acting Executive Dean and Associate Dean Academic in the Faculty of Science, Technology and Engineering at La Trobe University.

In 2019 she took up the role of Deputy Vice-Chancellor Education where she oversaw Deakin's ambitious curriculum reform and management of the student learning experience. In February 2022, in line with broader changes to her portfolio, Professor Johnson took up the role of Deputy Vice-Chancellor Academic where she provides strategic leadership for Deakin’s education agenda, student learning experience and student support.

Professor Johnson has led whole-of-institution curriculum reform projects at Deakin University and La Trobe University and nationally funded projects, including Successful WIL in Science, on work-integrated learning in science faculties, funded by the Office of the Chief Scientist of Australia and the Department of Education and Training. She was the inaugural Director of the Teaching and Learning Centre of the Australian Council of Deans of Science.

Professor Johnson’s leadership in learning and teaching has been recognised by a National Teaching Fellowship, citations for outstanding contributions to teaching and learning from La Trobe University and from the Carrick Institute. In recognition of her ongoing contributions to biochemistry education, in 2007 she received the prestigious Invitrogen Education award from the Australian Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (ASBMB), and the 2007 Vice-Chancellor’s award for teaching from La Trobe University.

Professor Emma Kowal

Professor Emma Kowal has been a Professor of Anthropology at Deakin since 2015 and is an award-winning researcher across several intersecting fields. She is a leader in Australian racial politics including Indigeneity and Whiteness, settler colonialism and postcolonialism, racism and anti-racism. She is also a leader in science and technology studies including the anthropology of genomics, bioethics and public health.

Professor Kowal has been awarded 11 national competitive grants including several Discovery, Linkage, NHMRC and Medical Research Future Fund (MRFF) projects, and prestigious fellowships including an Australian Research Council (ARC) Discovery Early Career Researcher Award (DECRA) Fellowship and an ARC Future Fellowship. In total, she has been awarded more than $23 million in research grants and consultancies.

Professor Kowal has authored more than 120 publications including 77 peer-reviewed books, journal articles and book chapters. As at March 2022, Professor Kowal has recorded more than 2,713 Google Scholar citations and a h-index of 28. Further, Professor Kowal has delivered more than 85 significant invited presentations, guest lectures and keynotes.  Professor Kowal’s research excellence and impact has been recognised with several awards including receiving the 2014 Academy of the Social Sciences in Australia Paul Bourke Award for Early Career Research, a 2015 Thomson Reuters Women in Research Citation Award, and the Australian Financial Review Higher Education Award for Emerging Leader in 2019. She was elected a Fellow of the Academy of the Social Sciences in Australia in 2019.

A scholar of international renown, Professor Kowal has held visiting fellowships at some of the world’s most prestigious institutions including Yale University, Universidade Federal de Santa Catarina and the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science.

Professor Kowal founded the Deakin Science and Society Network in 2017, a cross-University network bringing together thought-leaders from across science, technology and humanities disciplines to conduct problem-based and theoretical interdisciplinary research.  Since 2019, the Science and Society Network has provided seed funding and mentoring to 29 interdisciplinary projects led by early-career researchers across the university. So far, these projects have led to $1 million in external income, including competitive grants from the ARC, UNESCO and the Brocher Foundation, and dozens of high-quality publications and new partnerships.

Professor Kowal has served as the Deputy Director (Research) in the Alfred Deakin Institute for Citizenship and Globalisation (ADI) since 2020.  During her tenure as Deputy Director (Research), Professor Kowal has made a particular contribution to research training and capacity building evidenced by her close mentoring of Australian Research Council (ARC) applicants, supporting the successful applications of DECRAs, Future Fellowships and several Discovery and Linkage Projects, and many more applications under consideration.

Professor Sarah McNaughton

Professor Sarah McNaughton’s credentials and contribution to her field of nutrition and dietetics and the university over the past 20 years are exemplary. Professor McNaughton is a true “all-rounder” who has made significant and sustained contributions to the School of Exercise and Nutrition Sciences and to the Institute for Physical Activity and Nutrition.

International Standing:

  • External Resource Expert, World Health Organisation WHO Nutrition Guidance Expert Advisory Group (NUGAG) Subcommittee on Diet and Health (2018-present)
  • h-index: 46 Scopus, 7,248 citations
  • Academic Editor Current Developments in Nutrition (2020-)
  • Member, Editorial Board, International Journal of Behavioural Nutrition and Physical Activity (2007-present).

National Standing:

  • Chair, NHMRC Dietary Guidelines Committee (2022-present)
  • Nutrition Society of Australia Medal (2020)
  • NHMRC Discretionary Foods and Drinks Expert Working Group (2018-2020)
  • Council of Deans of Nutrition and Dietetics (CDND; 2017-2020)
  • Management of CVD Risk Expert Subgroup
  • Absolute Cardiovascular Disease Risk Guidelines, Australian Chronic Disease Prevention Alliance (2021-current)
  • Board of Nutrition Australia Victorian Division (2017-2022)
  • Awards Committee Dietitians Assoc Aust (2014-2020)
  • Heart Foundation Expert Reference Group, Position Statement on Meat, Eggs and Dairy Products (2018-2019)
  • Fellow of Dietitians Australia (2018)
  • Council of Academic Public Health Institutions Award (2016)
  • Reviewer: Australian Research Council - Discovery, Linkage, Future Fellowships, Discovery Early Career Fellowships (2008-2017); National Health and Medical Research Council: Early Career Fellowship Panel (2014, 2015, 2016, 2018); Investigator Grant Panel Emerging Leadership Level (2019); Grant applications (2018, 2016, 2012, 2007, 2005).

Funding highlights include:


  • NHMRC Career Development Fellow (Level 2; 2016-2019)
  • Australian Research Council Future Fellow (2011-2015)
  • NHMRC Career Development Award. (Awarded but relinquished due to successful ARC Future fellowship; 2nd ranked candidate in Population Health category; 2011-2014)
  • National Heart Foundation of Australia Senior Research Fellow (2009-2011).

As lead investigator:

  • Two World Health Organisation Tenders (2019-2020)
  • ARC Discovery DP170100544 (2017-2019)
  • ARC Linkage, Infrastructure, Equipment and Facilities; LE140100099 (2014-2017)
  • ARC Discovery DP130100713 (2013-2015)
  • ARC Discovery DP1095595 (2010-2012).

University Contribution:

  • Academic Board Member (2018-2021) – working party on academic freedom (2020-2021)
  • Discipline Leader – Dietetics, School of Exercise and Nutrition Sciences (2015-2020)
  • Deputy Director – Institute for Physical Activity and Nutrition (IPAN) (2020-2022)
  • IPAN EMCR Director (2021-present) – mentor to 20+ food and nutrition academics over the past five years
  • School Executive Group (2016-2021)
  • Healthy Futures Theme Leader, Science and Society Network, Deakin University (2018-2019)
  • Research Transformation Program – Steering Committee, Deakin University (2018)
  • Faculty of Health Representative, Working Group, Healthy Eating Action Plan, Deakin University (2015-2016)
  • Excellence in Research Australia Working Group, Deakin University, 2015. Responsible for Field of Research (FOR) Code 1111 (Nutrition and Dietetics)
  • Higher Degrees by Research (HDR) Coordinator (2010-2011; 2014-2015)
  • Nine HDR completions as principal supervisor.

Professor Kon Mouzakis

Professor Kon Mouzakis has a distinguished international academic reputation in the field of artificial intelligence and digital technology and its application. Professor Mouzakis’ leadership, research and translation is exceptional and has had significant economic and social impact, in addition to the major and influential contribution he has made to education and training in his field.

Professor Mouzakis joined Deakin in March 2016 as inaugural Director of Deakin’s Software and Technology Innovation Lab (DSTIL) and Professor of Software and Technology Innovation. He was previously the Director of Swinburne University’s Software Innovation Lab (SSI Lab). In 2019, Professor Mouzakis was appointed Co-Director of Deakin’s Applied Artificial Intelligence Institute (A2I2).

Maximising the positive social, cultural and economic impact of AI and digital technology has been the cornerstone of Professor Mouzakis’ career. Professor Mouzakis has been a strong advocate of translational research and real-world impact. He has generated two commercial software products and three spin-outs. His commercial software products provided readily accessible information to inform the strategies in reducing accidents on the roads in the state of Victoria.

Since joining Deakin, Professor Mouzakis has attracted over $12 million in research funding and more than $25 million during his academic career. He has been the recipient of Vice-Chancellor’s Awards at both Deakin University and Swinburne University for both industry engagement and industry partnerships. Professor Mouzakis has published widely including many classified reports for the Department of Defence. The software products Professor Mouzakis has developed were nominated for an Institute of Engineers Australia Excellence Award for CrashStats (The road crash accident database system for the state of Victoria).

Professor Mouzakis pioneered the world first Trauma Reception and Resuscitation (TRR©) System, with Professor Mark Fitzgerald (Alfred Trauma Centre), a system that significantly reduces trauma resuscitation errors and morbidity through a complex, real-time generated, algorithmic artificial intelligence. It provides real-time computer-aided decision support displays to hospital trauma teams for the first 60 minutes of trauma management. This technology is now used in Australia, China, India and Saudi Arabia. This work has truly been the pinnacle of translation research, allowing his work to save many lives around the world, through the reduction of “errors of omission” by 21% and the reduction of blood transfusion and improved airway management.

Professor Mouzakis further impact in health has come as Director, ARC Industrial Transformation Hub for Digital Enhanced Living (ITRHDEL), whose main objective is to create ecosystems for new technologies for assisted living. The Transformation Hub has four Australian universities and six international universities participating in the program.

Professor Mouzakis is a Chief Investigator (CI) with the Defence Science and Technology Group (DSTG), the research division of the Department of Defence. Spanning over 25 years, Professor Mouzakis has attracted over $10 million in funding for the translation research he has undertaken with the Joint and Operations Division, Aerospace Division, Land Division, Weapons and Combat Systems Division and Cyber and Electronic Warfare Division. His focus is on the human machine interaction and interfaces, as well as the effectiveness and safety in training our defence force personnel using “human in the loop AI” as the cornerstone of his work in creating Defence Solutions.

Professor Mouzakis’ emphasis on employability of graduates has been recognised across the sector and he has been an influential leader in Information Technology education. He established the now standardised Industry Based Learning (IBL) program adopted by many Australian universities, which he pioneered for more that 25 years at Swinburne University of Technology. Professor Mouzakis has placed more than 4,500 students in paid internships, 12-month Industry Based Learning placements, and was responsible for the industry sponsored Bachelor of Information Technology Scholarship degree at Swinburne University.

Additionally, Professor Mouzakis has been instrumental in providing career opportunities to many thousands of students and young graduates, before and during his tenure at Deakin University. These opportunities have been provided through his mentorship and the employment of many through the Swinburne Software Innovation Lab (SSIL), Deakin’s Software Technology Innovation Lab (DSTIL) and most recently through Deakin’s Applied Artificial Intelligence Institute(A2I2).

Professor Alex Newman

Professor Alex Newman obtained his PhD in 2010 and has since published more than 100 refereed articles in leading international journals. On Google Scholar his work has attracted over 10,000 citations resulting in an h-index of 54. He has published in the top field journals in the management discipline and has seven highly cited papers according to the Web-of-Science.

In recognition of his distinguished publishing record, Professor Newman was highlighted by Stanford researchers as being in the top 1% of management scholars worldwide in 2020 and 2021. He was also recognised by the Australian Research Magazine as the field leader in both the human resources and organisations and ethics disciplines in 2021, and one of only 40 rising stars across the whole of Australian academia in 2019 and 2021.

The inaugural top scientists ranking published by is based on h-index, publications and citations values collected on 6 December 2021. Australia had 63 economics and finance scholars and 82 in business and management above the h-index threshold. Professor Newman appears on this listing.

In addition to research impact and journal rankings, Professor Newman also excels in terms of societal impact and research engagement.Two years ago, he jointly established the Deakin Centre for Refugee Employment, Advocacy, Training and Education (CREATE). Over the last 18 months, CREATE has won seven major awards for the research impact it has achieved through supporting the employment and education of people from a refugee background. These include an Australian Financial Review Higher Education Award in the 'Equity and Opportunity' category, an Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) Innovations that Inspire Award, a PIEoneer International Education Award for Championing Diversity, an Australian Business Dean’s Council Research Excellence Award, an Emerald Real Impact Award, a Green Gown Award in the 'Benefitting Society' category and a Victorian Multicultural Award for Excellence in the 'Community Innovation' category.

Professor Newman has a distinguished service and leadership record at Deakin – as Associate Dean International (2017-2021) for the Faculty and then Head of the Department of Management (the largest department in the Deakin Business School) since mid-2021.

As an educator, Professor Newman excels in running overseas study programs and when COVID-19 struck, he was a pioneer in introducing virtual work integrated learning (WIL) with offshore partners.

Professor Anna Peeters

Professor Anna Peeters is the (Inaugural) Director Institute for Health Transformation (IHT) since 2019 – that brought together Strategic research centres in the School of Health and Social Development and the School of Nursing and Midwifery to address complex health challenges facing health systems globally. Under Professor Peeters’ leadership the focus of IHT’s research is to deliver real impact and solutions that will strengthen our health systems and to contribute the health and wellbeing of all Australians.

Under Professor Peeters’ leadership the Institute brought in $13.7 million total research income in 2021, of which 37% was Category 1.

IHT has seen a growth in research success of early- and mid- career researchers (EMCRs), through specific strategies to support grant success: through small grants to pilot research ideas; investment in grant writing; grant feedback processes (peer review process) and mentoring.

Professor Peeters is internationally recognised for her work building the evidence for effective and equitable policy and practice to deliver policy and practice relevant research that improves health outcomes.

Professor Peeters has published more than 250 papers in peer reviewed journals in her career to date and has an h-index 54 (Web of Science). Professor Peeters has brought in more than $20 million in research funding including a highly competitive personal NHMRC Investigator Grant.

Recent research success includes (2020-1):

  • CIA Delivering enhanced healthcare at home for older people in rural Australia. Medical Research Future Fund (MRFF) Rapid Applied Research Translation, $9,067,407
  • CIA NHMRC Investigator Grant $1.7 million Evidence-based healthy food provision at scale
  • Lead Investigator VicHealth Unicef regional food systems work, $30,000
  • Lead Investigator Western Alliance Telehealth evaluation in primary care in regional Victoria, $50,000
  • CI Huxley R (CIA) Mapping sex differences in the journey of an individual with coronary heart disease through the healthcare system. NHMRC 2021 Ideas Grants, $843,258
  • CI Sacks G (CIA) NHMRC Partnership Supporting food companies to implement policies for improving population nutrition, $309,498
  • CI Associate Professor Kathryn Backholer (CIA) ARC DP Food and beverage price promotions: An untapped policy target, $355,000.

Research/Policy Translation leadership roles include:

  • Principal Research Translation Investigator at Western Alliance
  • An NHMRC Investigator Grant fellow
  • Board Member, Victorian Health Promotion Foundation (VicHealth)
  • Board Member, Obesity Australia
  • Chair of the Deeble Institute for Health Policy Research Advisory Board
  • Member, World Cancer Research Fund’s Policy Advisory Group.

Professor Andrea Witcomb

Professor Andrea Witcomb has been a Professor of Cultural Heritage and Museum Studies at Deakin since 2014.

Professor Witcomb’s research across museum and heritage fields is informed by theoretical, historical and professional practice. She brings an interdisciplinary approach to her research, locating her work at the intersection of history, museology and cultural studies. She is an internationally renowned scholar and leader in her field enabling understanding of the role objects and exhibitions in contributing to positive change within society. Professor Witcomb’s esteem and impact in her field is evidenced by having been awarded five successful Australian Research Council grants on which she was Chief Investigator.

Professor Witcomb has authored more than 50 peer reviewed articles and book chapters alongside two monographs and three edited books. She has published research in the highest-ranking journals in her field including the International Journal of Heritage Studies, Landscape Research, and Museum Management and Curatorship. With a h-index of 21 and 2,567 citations on Google Scholar, Professor Witcomb’s research has had significant impact in her field nationally and internationally. Two of her publications have been ranked in the top 1% of most cited publications in her field globally, and a further 12 publications are ranked in the top 10%. As further evidence of her esteem and recognition at the national level, Professor Witcomb was awarded the 2018 Patricia Grimshaw Prize for a co-authored article ‘Remembering and Fighting for their Own: Vietnam Veterans and the Long Tan Cross’, as well as shortlisted for the Western Australia’s Premier’s History Prize in 2010 for her co-authored book ‘From the Barracks to the Burrup: The National Trust in Western Australia’.

Professor Witcomb has delivered more than 40 invited keynotes and presentations, including most recently in the United Kingdom, China, Estonia, Germany and Qatar. In 2016 she was invited as a keynote speaker for the 50th anniversary conference of the Museum Studies program at the University of Leicester in the UK, which is the oldest and most recognised program in the world. In 2018, her contribution to her field was recognised by naming the annual conference of the International Council of Museums International Committee for Museums and Collections of Ethnography (ICME) after her first book, Reimagining Museums. The conference, held at the National Museum of Estonia in Tartu was opened by a keynote address given by Professor Witcomb.

Throughout her career, Professor Witcomb has developed and sustained strong partnerships with government and industry organisations, through which she extends the impact of her research. Between 2011 and 2021, she served on the Cultural Heritage Committee of the National Trust of Australia, contributing to the assessment of heritage significance for a number of sites, trees and public art, the Trust’s first RAP with Indigenous communities and heritage advocacy. She has also served on several Museum committees including Museums Australia and the Western Australian Maritime Museum. Through these appointments, Professor Witcomb has informed and influenced policy and the strategic direction of cultural heritage collections and collecting nationally.

Professor Witcomb served as the Director, Cultural Heritage Centre for Asia and the Pacific, Deakin’s flagship research centre from 2010 until 2015, building upon and extending the University’s global reputation for education and research excellence in the field.

From 2012-2020, Professor Witcomb served as the Deputy Director of the Alfred Deakin Institute with responsibilities spanning governance and research and researcher development. As Deputy Director Research in the Alfred Deakin Institute, Professor Witcomb established and implemented best-practice mentoring and researcher development programs with a focus on enabling early career researchers to successfully apply for ARC DECRA Fellowships.

Past recipients


  • Professor Brett Bryan
  • Professor Matthew Groves
  • Professor Alison Hutchinson
  • Professor Craig Olsson
  • Professor Julie Owens


  • Professor Margaret (Leigh) Ackland
  • Professor David Boud
  • Professor Brenda Cherednichenko
  • Professor Matthew Clarke
  • Professor Wei Duan
  • Professor David Lowe
  • Professor Marj Moodie
  • Professor Julianne Moss


  • Professor Tracey Bucknall
  • Professor Chris Doucouliagos
  • Professor John Grundy
  • Professor Beverley Oliver
  • Professor Christine Ure


  • Professor Maxine Duke
  • Professor Ferdi Gul
  • Professor Baogang He
  • Professor Marcel Klaassen
  • Professor Ingrid Nielsen
  • Professor Yin Paradies
  • Professor Guang Shi
  • Professor Anna Timperio
  • Professor Russell Tytler
  • Professor David Watters


  • Professor Mirko Bagaric
  • Professor Neil Barnett
  • Professor Colin Barrow
  • Professor Ian Chen


  • Professor Mike Ewing
  • Professor Matthew Barnett
  • Professor Kylie Ball
  • Professor Clare Bradford
  • Professor Graeme Hays
  • Professor Ivan Stojmenovic


  • Professor Rob Carter – Faculty of Health
  • Professor Wanlei Zhou - Faculty of Science, Engineering and Built Environment
  • Professor Jo Salmon – Faculty of Health


  • Professor Michael Berk - Faculty of Health
  • Professor John Endler - Faculty of Science, Engineering and Built Environment
  • Professor Maria Forsyth - Institute for Frontier Materials
  • Professor Fethi Mansouri - Faculty of Arts and Education
  • Professor Michael Polonsky - Faculty of Business and Law
  • Professor Svetha Venkatesh - Faculty of Science, Engineering and Built Environment


  • Professor Jill Blackmore – Faculty of Arts and Education
  • Professor Mari Botti – Faculty of Health
  • Professor Paresh Narayan – Faculty of Business and Law
  • Professor David Walker – Faculty of Arts and Education


  • Professor Marita McCabe – Faculty of Health


  • Professor Boyd Swinburn – Faculty of Health


  • Professor David Crawford – Faculty of Health


  • Professor Xungai Wang – Institute for Frontier Materials
  • Professor Saeid Nahavandi – Centre for Intelligent Systems Research, Deakin Research


  • Professor Peter Hodgson – Institute for Frontier Materials
  • Professor Julian Mercer – Faculty of Science, Engineering and Built Environment