Alec Cameron swaps Aston for RMIT

Australian academic administrator and former engineering executive returns amid policy focus on commercialising research

July 27, 2021
Alec Cameron

Scientist and engineer Alec Cameron will take the helm at Australia’s second biggest tertiary institution, with RMIT University announcing that the former Rhodes scholar will be its next vice-chancellor.

Professor Cameron, who has led Aston University in Birmingham since 2016, will take up his new role early next year.

It will be a homecoming for the Australian-born academic, who obtained degrees in science and electrical engineering at the University of Sydney before studying robotics at the University of Oxford, where his supervisor was machine learning pioneer and current New South Wales chief scientist Hugh Durrant-Whyte.

Professor Cameron has been deputy vice-chancellor at the University of Western Australia and at UNSW Sydney, where he was also dean of the Australian School of Business and served as president of the Australian Business Deans Council.

Earlier in his career he held senior positions in information technology and telecommunications companies including Sun Microsystems, Alcatel and Telstra. He is returning to Australia amid a government policy focus on improving universities’ links with business and boosting the commercial returns of university research.

He said he was excited to join a university known for its focus on technology, design and enterprise and the employability of its students.

Predecessor Martin Bean stepped down in June for health reasons, but plans to return part-time in 2022 to help develop RMIT’s digital offerings and work with its industry partners.

Chief operating officer Dionne Higgins will be interim vice-chancellor until Professor Cameron’s arrival.

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