Ed Byrne (academic)

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Ed Byrne AC
8th Vice-Chancellor and President of Monash University
Term 8 July 2009[1] present
Predecessor Richard Larkins AO [2]
Born 15 February 1952 (1952-02-15) (age 62)
Alma mater University of Tasmania
University of Queensland
University of Melbourne
University of Adelaide
Profession Neuroscientist
Website From the Vice-Chancellor

Edward Byrne (born 15 February 1952)[3] is a neuroscientist and university administrator. He is currently serving as Vice-Chancellor of Monash University in Australia. On 28 June 2013, it was announced that Byrne is to become Principal of King's College London from September 2014.[4]

Early life and Professional qualifications.[edit]

Byrne grew up in northeast England, the son of a GP, and moved to Australia at the age of 15.[5] He studied medicine at the University of Tasmania (MBBS, 1974; MD, 1982) and earned an MBA from the University of Queensland in 2005. He has also been awarded the following degrees and diplomas. Diploma clinical science (Adelaide), Doctor Science (Melbourne), Doctor Medicine (honoris causa) Adelaide, FRACP, FRCPE, FRCP (London), FAAN, FTSE. He trained in Neurology in Adelaide and at the institute of neurology in London where he was awarded the Queen square prize for neurological research. He is a senior fellow of the American Neurological association.

Professional career[edit]

Byrne's career in neuroscience combined prominent work as both a researcher and clinician.[6] His career began in Adelaide, South Australia, as Neurology Registrar at the Royal Adelaide Hospital in 1978. In 1979, he left Australia to undertake a research fellowship in clinical neurology in London.[7]

He returned to Australia to become Director of Neurology at St Vincent's Hospital, Melbourne in 1983 - at just 31 years old.[8]

In 1993, he became Founding Director of the Melbourne Neuromuscular Research Unit and later the Centre for Neuroscience, going on to become Professor of Clinical Neurology in 1992 and Experimental Neurology at the University of Melbourne in 2001.

His contribution to neuroscience has been particularly strong in mitochondrial disease.[5] In 2006, his work was recognised when he was appointed an Officer of the Order of Australia.[9]

Byrne first came to Monash University in 2003, when he was made Dean of its Faculty of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences,[10] a role he held until 2007.

He then returned to the UK, where he became Vice-Provost (Health) at University College London (initially serving as Dean of its Faculty of Biomedical Sciences and Head of its School of Medicine).[6][8]

In 2009, Monash University announced that Byrne would replace Richard Larkins, its outgoing Vice-Chancellor. Immediately upon his appointment, Byrne undertook a restructuring of the University's management and administration, placing the ten faculties into four "clusters". The aim of this was to encourage inter-disciplinary collarboration and reduce duplication across faculties (cutting administrative costs).[11] Byrne has stated that, in his term as Vice-Chancellor, he wants Monash to consolidate and increase the research output of its international campuses in Malaysia and South Africa, and its graduate academy in India, tapping into regional research funding.[12] He has led the establishment of the Monash campus in Suzhou, China in collaboration with South East university, championed close links with Peking university and led a global alliance between Monash and Warwick universities with Nigel Thrift. In his time as vice-chancellor, Monash universituy has consolidated a position as a top 100 research university. Monash's engagement in South Africa has been strengthed by a partnership with the Laureate group.

In addition to his role in universities and medical research, Byrne has served on the boards of various commercial biomedical enterprises, including Cochlear and BUPA.[8] Byrne is a member of the Patrons Council of the Epilepsy Foundation of Victoria.

In his personal life he has a keen interest in fly fishing and classical music.[13]


On 26 January 2006, Prof. Byrne was appointed an Officer of the Order of Australia for service to neurology as a clinician and academic and to advances in medical research, particularly in the area of mitochondrial muscle disease.[9]

On 26 January 2014, Byrne was appointed a Companion of the Order of Australia for eminent service to tertiary education, particularly through leadership and governance roles with Monash University, to biomedical teaching and research, as a scientist and academic mentor, and as a contributor to improved global health.[14]


Academic offices
Preceded by
Richard Larkins
Vice-Chancellor of Monash University