Flinders announces next Vice-Chancellor

Professor Colin Stirling has been announced as the next Vice-Chancellor of Flinders University

Flinders University has attracted a distinguished academic who has taught and researched at some of the world’s leading universities to be its next Vice-Chancellor. Professor Colin Stirling will take up the position for a five year term on the retirement of the incumbent, Professor Michael Barber, on 31 December 2014.

Currently Provost and Senior Deputy Vice-Chancellor at Curtin University, Professor Stirling has been a research fellow at the University of California, Berkeley, and held senior executive positions in a 20-year career at the University of Manchester before relocating to Western Australia in 2011.

Chancellor Stephen Gerlach said Flinders was delighted to have attracted a candidate of Professor Stirling’s calibre to the University after a world-wide executive search.

“Professor Stirling will bring highly regarded skills and experience to Flinders at an important stage of the development of the University,” Mr Gerlach said.

“Professor Stirling’s extensive research and teaching experience – including in online learning – and leadership qualities align extremely well with the opportunities and challenges facing Flinders and the higher education sector more generally at this time,” he said.

“Specifically, Professor Stirling’s proven track record in embracing the innovation required to deliver first class outcomes for students and staff alike, and in managing the associated cultural change, will position Flinders for further success in a fast moving and fluid higher education sector.

“As Flinders completes such major initiatives as the $120 million building project at Tonsley, a ‘student hub’ on campus, and a transformation of its IT networks – and celebrates its 50th Anniversary in 2016 – the University will be able to tap the vision, energy and drive that Professor Stirling will bring to the University and apply it to the next phase of development of this fine institution.”

Professor Stirling’s qualifications include a Bachelor of Science (Microbiology) with first class honours from the University of Edinburgh and a PhD in genetics from the University of Glasgow, Scotland. A highly successful researcher in molecular genetics, Professor Stirling generated research funding of more than 23 million pounds (A$ 41 million) during a 20-year research career.

Professor Stirling said “it is both an honour and a privilege to be given the opportunity to lead this marvellous University at such an important moment in its history”.

“Flinders has a great reputation as an innovative university but there is always room for improvement. As Flinders approaches its 50th anniversary, I am convinced we can build on existing areas of expertise and excellence to become an established leader in both research and education,” Professor Stirling said.

Curtin University Vice-Chancellor Professor Deborah Terry said that while she will be very sorry to see Professor Stirling leave Curtin, she knows his strong research background and senior leadership experience will place him in an excellent position to take up the role of Vice-Chancellor at Flinders University.

“I congratulate Professor Stirling on this appointment and publicly thank him for his outstanding contribution to Curtin over the last three years,” Professor Terry said.

Colin Stirling joins Flinders from his role as Provost and Senior Deputy Vice-Chancellor at Curtin University in Western Australia. He has over 12 years’ experience of university senior management including as Deputy Vice-Chancellor Academic and Acting Vice-Chancellor at Curtin plus a number of roles at the University of Manchester including Associate Vice-President then Vice-President.

Professor Stirling has a distinguished scientific record having published extensively in a wide range of leading journals and having won a series of prestigious prizes and awards. Born and educated in Scotland, he graduated in biological sciences from the University of Edinburgh then went on to his doctoral studies in genetics at the University of Glasgow. He spent most of his academic career as Professor of Genetics at the University of Manchester – ranked in the world’s top 50 – and has held several prestigious research fellowships including the Lister Jenner Research Fellowship, a Royal Society Wolfson Research Fellowship and earlier a NATO Research Fellowship at UC Berkeley in the laboratory of Nobel Laureate Randy Schekman.

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5 thoughts on “Flinders announces next Vice-Chancellor

  1. Great to see some youthful energy in the position. Many will be closely watching this development to ensure that it does not bring an end to the world renowned independent GM research being conducted at Flinders…

  2. I am delighted to read the accomplishments of Dr. Stephen Gerlach, a geneticist. I am glad to note that scientisits such as Stephen is being placed on a prestigious and leadership position.

    I wish him the best,


    School of Biolpogical Sciences from 1976-1980, Currently working with the USDA in Wahsington, DC area.

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