New research leader to drive innovation

Thursday, 22 August 2019

antonmThe University of Adelaide has appointed a new Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Vice-President to lead the future of its research operations, a key driver of economic benefit for the state and the nation.

Professor Anton Middelberg has been appointed the University’s new Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Vice-President (Research), following an extensive national and international search.

The role is critical to South Australia’s economy, with the University of Adelaide the leading university for research and innovation in the state in areas of strategic priority – including defence and cyber security, energy, mining and resources, agrifood and wine, health and wellbeing, and creativity and culture.

Annually, the University of Adelaide invests around $450 million into its research operations out of a total university budget approaching $1 billion.

A graduate and academic of the universities of Adelaide and Cambridge, Professor Middelberg has a background in chemical and biomolecular engineering. He has led an international career in research, education, commercialisation, and university administration.

Professor Middelberg is currently Executive Dean of the University of Adelaide’s Faculty of Engineering, Computer and Mathematical Sciences, a position he has held since returning to Adelaide in 2017.

From 2014-2017 he was Pro Vice-Chancellor for Research and International at the University of Queensland, and in 2014 was UQ’s Acting Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research). Since 2015 he has held an Honorary Professorship at Tianjin University, China. Professor Middelberg is an elected Fellow of the Australian Academy of Technology and Engineering.

The University of Adelaide’s Vice-Chancellor, Professor Peter Rathjen, said: "We are excited to appoint Professor Anton Middelberg to this senior leadership role within the University of Adelaide, a role that will shape the future of research, research education and innovation in our institution to the advantage of our state and the nation.

“As an Executive Dean over the past two years, Anton has demonstrated vision and energy, with contributions well beyond his own areas of responsibility. He is an original and creative thinker, innovative in his approach to developing strategic initiatives. He has provided welcome leadership in developing new industry partnerships and curricula suited to the future needs of our students.”

Professor Middelberg said: “After many years away from South Australia, the University of Adelaide’s strong international reputation was a magnet to return in 2017, and I couldn’t have come back at a better time.

“Adelaide’s new research and innovation agenda, coupled with a deep level of industry and government engagement, creates many meaningful opportunities for the University, for our state and the nation.

“The University of Adelaide has always been the leading institution in South Australia for research and innovation, but our history is nothing compared to the future of research, commercialisation, entrepreneurship, industry engagement and global partnership that is ahead of us.

“To be part of that future, and to help lead a university that will help to generate new industries and economic development through the power of research, is exciting,” Professor Middelberg says.

Professor Middelberg's new appointment will start on 28 October.

Professor Middelberg succeeds Professor Mike Brooks, who has held the position of Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Vice-President (Research) since 2008. From 28 October, Professor Brooks will continue in his leadership role as Provost of the University of Adelaide.

“As Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research) for the past 11 years, Mike has made an enormous contribution to research leadership, including the establishment of our six research institutes, and to our University community more broadly,” Professor Rathjen said.

“His work has been instrumental to the development of the University’s new strategic plan, and to the creation of our industry engagement priorities and our adopted grand challenges.

“I am pleased that he will continue in the role of Provost, a position that has leadership across the University’s five Faculties. Mike will also play a key role in various University-wide initiatives, including identifying and attracting Top Talent to our University from around the world in areas of strategic need,” Professor Rathjen said.

Professor Anton Middelberg – background

Professor Anton Middelberg has built an outstanding career as a research leader and senior executive over more than 25 years.

He earned his Bachelor of Engineering with First Class Honours and medals for Chemical Engineering and Engineering in 1989, and a PhD at the University of Adelaide in 1993. He held various roles with the University’s School of Chemical Engineering from 1991-1998.

After winning a Fulbright Fellowship to conduct research at the University of California, Berkeley (1997-98), he joined the Department of Chemical Engineering at the University of Cambridge as a member of the academic staff (1998-2003), where he also gained a Master of Arts (MA) in 2001 as a Fellow of Selwyn College, Cambridge.

He joined the University of Queensland as an Australian Research Council (ARC) Federation Fellow in 2003 and held several positions at UQ until 2017, when he returned to the University of Adelaide.

Author of more than 200 peer-reviewed journal articles, Professor Middelberg publishes broadly across science, engineering and health journals. He is currently Editor-in-Chief of the international journal Chemical Engineering Science and an Associate Editor of Vaccine.


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