Professor Higgott has been Pro Vice Chancellor for Research at the University of Warwick in the UK for the last four years, and has previously held professorial appointments at the Australian National University and the University of Manchester.
He is currently on leave from Warwick and is engaged as a Winthrop Professor at the University of Western Australia. He is also director of a $15 million European Commission project of research institutes from 15 leading world universities examining the implications of the emergence of a multi-polar world.
Announcing the appointment, Murdoch University Chancellor Terry Budge said Professor Higgott would be an asset to the University and to Western Australia.
“Richard Higgott’s academic record as an international research leader in his chosen field speaks for itself,” he said.
“But importantly for us he brings to Murdoch a wide array of senior university management experience in one of the world’s most successful young universities. Warwick University is only a few years older than Murdoch yet it is a beacon of what can be done by young universities.
“Richard’s experience, gained in both Warwick and internationally, combined with his knowledge and experience of both the Australian university system and Western Australia, represents a perfect combination of skills for the incoming Vice Chancellor of an internationally ambitious, but locally grounded university such as Murdoch at this important stage in its development.”
Professor Higgott is no stranger to Perth, having held posts at the University of Western Australia and Murdoch in the early years of his academic career, including several years on the Advisory Board of Murdoch’s internationally recognised Asia Research Centre. He also has personal links to the University – his wife Diane Stone, also a Warwick and UWA Professor, is a Murdoch graduate, as are his mother-in-law and sister-in-law.
Professor Higgott said: “I am delighted to be returning to Murdoch as Vice Chancellor, having been impressed by its strong performance in the recent Excellence in Research for Australia exercise, which recognised several areas of world class research and many areas of above national average research at the University.
“For a still developing university, this was an excellent outcome. However, I am convinced that with the right research leadership and encouragement it can do better still.
“I am also looking forward to continuing to grow Murdoch’s enviable reputation for teaching excellence and in improving access and social inclusion.
“I believe it is time for Murdoch, building on its considerable, but perhaps too often under-appreciated applied knowledge and skills, to enhance its interaction with both the public and private sector policy communities at this important time in Western Australia’s development. I am excited to have the opportunity to be part of that effort.”
Professor Higgott will replace current Vice Chancellor Professor Gary Martin, who has held the role on an interim basis since Professor John Yovich’s retirement from academia. Professor Yovich had been Vice Chancellor and President since July 2002.
Mr Budge paid tribute to Professor Martin, who has steered the University successfully since Professor Yovich’s retirement.
“Gary has done an outstanding job over recent months. His leadership skills have ensured the smooth running and continued growth of Murdoch University during the transition period,” he said.