Research excellence, engagement and impact

Professor Janet Nelson is the Deputy Vice-Chancellor Research and Innovation and a Vice-President of the University of Newcastle. She is a proven research leader with international experience across the academic, government, not-for-profit and industry sectors.  She has a keen focus on building and supporting multidisciplinary teams and growing research enterprise.

Janet Nelson

Professor Nelson joined the University of Newcastle in March 2020. In her role, she serves as the university’s chief research officer with responsibilities for the diverse and comprehensive research enterprise.  She’ll draw on her extensive experience in scientific research, business development and research administration to further enhance the university’s reputation for research excellence, engagement and impact.

“The University of Newcastle is home to some of the world’s most well-regarded researchers,” Professor Nelson said. “This reputation was one of the draw cards that motivated me to move half-way around the world from the U.S. to join this impressive institution.”

“The university’s exemplary research outcomes, innovation programs and partnerships are changing lives and making profound impacts on our economy, our society and our world. I’m honoured to be part of it and help facilitate even more innovations.”

Professor Nelson has more than 30 years of experience in scientific research, scientific review, research portfolio administration, complex and multidisciplinary program and project management, business development, and science policy implementation.

Prior to moving to Australia, she was the Vice President for Research and Economic Development at the University of Idaho in the United States. Other previous roles include Associate Vice-Chancellor of Research Development at the University of Tennessee, Director of Business Development for URS Corporation (now AECOM), Director at a Biotechnology Industry Organisation in Washington, D.C., and Deputy Chief and Scientific Review Officer at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland.

Professor Nelson holds a PhD in Chemistry from California Institute of Technology and a BA in Chemistry from Carleton College, Minnesota.  She is an elected Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and an Honorary Member of the National Academy of Inventors.

Looking Ahead

According to Professor Nelson, the COVID-19 pandemic has taught us many lessons – one of which is that there is no single field, industry or sector that can single-handedly deliver the creative, out-of-the-square thinking needed to address the global challenges we face.

“As we carve out a new future, we must continually nurture a collaborative working model – one which opens the doors of the university and invites in the world in,” Professor Nelson said.

“My role is to help facilitate the relationships and connections that make that possible.”

The University of Newcastle acknowledges the traditional custodians of the lands within our footprint areas: Awabakal, Darkinjung, Biripai, Worimi, Wonnarua, and Eora Nations. We also pay respect to the wisdom of our Elders past and present.