Barbara Messerle

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Barbara is a higher education expert and leader whose roles have included Provost and Deputy Vice-Chancellor at the University of Sydney; Executive Dean, Faculty of Science and Engineering at Macquarie University; and Head of School, Chemistry at the University of NSW.

As a researcher focused on catalysis, she has published extensively in internationally refereed journals, graduated 25 PhD students and developed a strong national and international profile that led to ongoing collaborations in the UK, France and Australia.

Influential work

  • Led the university-wide academic response to the COVID-19 pandemic at the University of Sydney
  • Led development of the Academic Excellence program at the University of Sydney
  • Implemented a values-based strategy at Macquarie University’s Faculty of Science and Engineering that strengthened national and international profile, built a strong leadership group and grew teaching and research revenue
  • Restructured the Macquarie University Faculty of Science and Engineering, merging two pairs of departments and completely restructuring the professional administration staff cohort
  • Led the development of enhanced teaching and learning across the Macquarie University Faculty of Science and Engineering
  • Led the transformation of the UNSW School of Chemistry during her eight years as head of the school.

Outside of Nous

Barbara holds a PhD and a Bachelor of Science (Honours 1, University Medal) from the University of Sydney. She has led a research program in catalysis for over 25 years, with a primary goal to design metal complexes that promote the efficiency and selectivity of important chemical transformations such as drug synthesis.

Barbara is a graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors and has held board memberships including: Director, Westmead Institute of Medical Research; Chair, Australian Proteomics Analysis Facility, Macquarie University; Director, Sydney Institute of Marine Sciences; Director, Pymble Ladies College; Advisory Board Member, UNSW Academic Women in Leadership Program; and Director, Australian and New Zealand Society for Magnetic Resonance. She is also a Fellow of the Royal Society of New South Wales and of the Royal Australian Chemical Institute.

In her spare time...

Barbara’s favourite non-work activities include mountain-hiking, bushwalking, cycling and sailing. She enjoys playing the violin, reading books and – most of all – spending time with her family.