Professor Alan Pettigrew

Honorary Doctor of Science

Citation delivered by Professor Patricia M. Davidson, Vice-Chancellor and President at the University of Wollongong on the occasion of the admission of Alan George Pettigrew as a Doctor of Science (honoris causa) on 2 November 2022.


Vice-Chancellor, I present Professor Alan Pettigrew.

Professor Alan Pettigrew is an international leader in the higher education sector and is renowned for bringing exceptional insight and vision to higher education and medical research governance at a national level.

Joining the University of Sydney – his alma mater – as a lecturer in physiology in 1979, Alan began a rapid ascent that saw him appointed Head of the Department of Physiology within ten years, and Chair and then Head of the Department of Veterinary Physiology soon after. He was also Deputy Chair of the University’s Academic Board.

He moved to the University of Queensland in 1993, serving as Pro-Vice Chancellor (Biological Sciences) and then inaugural Executive Dean of the Faculty of Biological and Chemical Sciences. Subsequently he was appointed Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic Planning and Resources) at the University of NSW. Alan undertook various board and committee memberships in parallel to these executive roles, culminating in his ministerial appointment as inaugural CEO of the National Health and Medical Research Council – a highly influential role that included setting medical research funding on a growth path nationally.

Alan returned to academia as Vice-Chancellor and CEO at the University of England in 2006. Following his term there he spent three years as an Advisor to the Chief Scientist of Australia and five years as a member of the Australian Government’s Cooperative Research Centres Committee. He has also undertaken a variety of national and international consultancies on research training and leadership.

In 2014 he joined UOW as an independent Chair of the Board of Directors of the Illawarra Health and Medical Research Institute (IHMRI). In the ensuing six years, Alan brought a fresh dynamism to IHMRI, refining its governance and championing it as a vehicle for attracting the world’s top scientists to the region, serving to improve healthcare and generate local investment and philanthropic and government research funding. Alan also secured the Board’s approval to appoint a clinical director to IMHRI, facilitating robust research and teaching bonds between the Institute and the Illawarra Shoalhaven Local Health District.

Alan is currently a Fellow of Senate, Pro-Chancellor and an Emeritus Professor at his alma mater, the University of Sydney. He remains in contact with IMHRI and UOW since his retirement in early 2020.

Vice-Chancellor, Professor Alan Pettigrew’s rich legacy of outstanding academic governance has bolstered research capacity and collaboration in our institution and beyond, with widespread, enduring benefit for our region and nation.

It is a privilege to present Professor Alan Pettigrew for a Doctor of Science, honoris causa.