Paul Di Pietro, Sharon Robinson and Melanie Randle

UOW appoints new Research and Innovation Deans

UOW appoints new Research and Innovation Deans

New roles will focus on research knowledge exchange and translation, and researcher development and integrity

The University of Wollongong (UOW) has appointed three new Deans to its Research and Innovation Division.

Dr Paul Di Pietro has been appointed Dean of Research Knowledge Exchange and Translation (RKET), and Senior Professor Sharon Robinson and Professor Melanie Randle will share the role of Dean of Researcher Development and Integrity (RDI).

The appointments were announced by UOW Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research and Innovation) Professor Jennifer L. Martin AC.

“I would like to congratulate Dr Di Pietro, Professor Robinson and Professor Randle on their appointments,” Professor Martin said.

“They bring considerable expertise and experience to these positions and will play key roles in developing and progressing UOW’s research and innovation strategy.”

Dean of Research Knowledge Exchange and Translation

As Dean of Research Knowledge Exchange and Translation, Dr Di Pietro will focus on creating a thriving RKET ecosystem and promote entrepreneurship at UOW.

He will develop coordinated RKET strategy and framework, facilitate RKET professional development, lead UOW’s Business Development Network and its Research Infrastructure Working Party.

UOW’s business accelerator and incubator iAccelerate and the Innovation and Commercial Research Unit will now report in to the Dean of RKET.

Dr Di Pietro joins Research and Innovation from UOW’s Faculty of Engineering and Information Sciences where he was the Director of the Facility for Intelligent Fabrication, lead for Industry Engagement activities, the University Defence Strategy Leader and established the Industry 4.0 Hub Shoalhaven.

Prior to coming to UOW, Dr Di Pietro was Head of Innovation and Integration at the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation (ANSTO) and was the Managing Director of the Australian Institute of Nuclear Science and Engineering (AINSE). 

Dean of Researcher Development and Integrity

Professor Robinson and Professor Randle will share the role of Dean of Researcher Development and Integrity (RDI), and will commence on Monday 19 July. They will work together to build a new inclusive culture focused on responsible research and research integrity.

Professor Robinson will focus on the research leadership framework, researcher development and recognition, and the equity diversity research agenda.

Professor Randle will focus on human and animal research ethics, gene technology and biosafety, foreign arrangements, defence export controls and ethics and integrity training

UOW’s Ethics and Integrity Unit, which currently reports to the Director Research Services Office, will now report to the Dean of RDI.

Professor Robinson, who will continue in her role as Executive Director of UOW’s Global Challenges Program, brings extensive research experience to the role and is internationally renowned for her interdisciplinary studies on Antarctic plants and climate change.

She is currently a member of the United Nations Environment Programme Environmental Effects Assessment Panel, the Science Faculty for the Homeward Bound Women’s Leadership Program, and a former member of the Australian Research Council College of Experts.

In 2020, Professor Robinson was named the Deputy Director of the Securing Antarctica’s Environmental Future, a Special Research Initiative for Excellence in Antarctic Science by the Australian Research Council. She received the UOW Vice Chancellor’s Researcher of the Year in 2019 and the City of Wollongong, Australia Day Innovation Achievement Award in 2021.

Professor Randle joins the Research and Innovation Division from UOW’s Faculty of Business and Law, where she is Associate Dean (Equity, Diversity and Inclusion).

Professor Randle has won numerous awards and honours for her research, which applies marketing techniques to change people’s attitudes and behaviours to achieve improved outcomes for both individuals and society as a whole. Her research focuses primarily on vulnerable populations and has included studies that utilise marketing to increase numbers of volunteers, attract more foster carers, achieve greater inclusion of people with disabilities, encourage pro-environmental behaviours, and reduce problem gambling.

Professor Randle has received multiple Australian Research Council grants to fund her research, and she has long-term industry collaborations in the non-profit and government sectors. She is also a current member of the Australian Research Council College of Experts.