Professor Richard Hillis

Professor Richard Hillis
 Position Pro Vice-Chancellor (Research Performance)
 Org Unit Division of Research and Innovation
 Telephone +61 8 8313 3278
 Location Floor/Room 1 09 ,  Mitchell ,   North Terrace
  • Biography/ Background

    Richard Hillis re-joined the University of Adelaide in 2019 as Pro Vice-Chancellor (Research Performance), providing leadership in achieving the University's strategic goals in relation to research quality, revenue, productivity and international standing. Richard graduated BSc (Hons) in Geology from Imperial College (London) in 1985 and PhD from the University of Edinburgh in 1989. He spent 18 years at the University of Adelaide (1992-2010) where he was Mawson Professor of Geology, State of South Australia Chair of Petroleum Geology and Head of the Australian School of Petroleum.

    Richard led the Australian Stress Map project (1992-2010). Its results were applied from understanding the driving forces of plate tectonics to impacts on petroleum exploration, geothermal exploration and carbon dioxide geosequestration. Richard and colleagues published a prize-winning paper in 2004 recognizing the potential for unconventional hydrocarbons in South Australia's Cooper Basin, a concept subsequently proven by exploration. Richard has ~200 peer-reviewed publications, >5,000 citations and an h-index of 42 (April 2019). He has also undertaken ~40 oil industry consulting projects, including for Chevron, Santos and Shell and has delivered professional short courses worldwide.

    Richard and colleagues established JRS Petroleum Research in 2001 to apply stress data to petroleum exploration. JRS grew to a company employing 10 FTEs at the time of its 2011 sale to Ikon Science. Richard was also involved in geothermal exploration, providing technical basis for the ASX IPO (Initial Public Offering) of Petratherm and acting as non-executive director (2004-2014). Richard and colleagues founded, and were non-executive directors of, KCL Resources in 2010. KCL obtained a Spanish potash asset and backdoor listed on the ASX via Highfield Resources which has a market capitalisation of ~$200M (April 2019). Richard is a non-executive director of AuScope (an NCRIS company).

    From 2010-2018 Richard was CEO of the Deep Exploration Technologies Cooperative Research Centre (DET CRC) which developed transformational technologies for mineral exploration. DET CRC's coiled tubing drilling technology received the CRC ‘Excellence in Innovation' Award (2018). Richard also initiated the successful $218M MinEx CRC Bid.

    Richard is a Fellow of ATSE (Australian Academy of Technology and Engineering) and of the Geological Society of Australia. He was awarded the Geological Society of Australia's Webb Medal for leadership in the earth sciences (2014) and South Australian Scientist of the Year (2018).


  • Qualifications

    BSc (Hons) Geology (1985) Royal School of Mines, Imperial College, University of London


    PhD (1988) University of Edinburgh
    "The Geology and Tectonic Evolution of the Western Approaches Trough, UK"


    Graduate of the Australian Insitute of Company Directors (2012)

  • Research Interests

    Mineral Exploration Technologies

    Petroleum Geomechanics

    Sedimentary Basin Tectonics

    Geothermal Energy

    Geological Storage of Carbon Dioxide

    Pore Pressure and Basin-Centred Gas

  • Publications

  • Professional Associations

    Australian Academy of Technology and Engineering

    Australian Society of Exploration Geophysicists

    European Association of Geoscientists and Engineers

    Geological Society of Australia

    Geological Society of London

    Petroleum Exploration Society of Australia


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Entry last updated: Wednesday, 5 Jun 2019

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