Professor Maskell, Cambridge’s senior pro vice-chancellor (planning and resources), will succeed Glyn Davis at Australia’s leading higher education institution in October 2018.
He led Cambridge’s Department for Veterinary Medicine for nine years from 2004, before being appointed head of the School of Biological Sciences in 2013.
Allan Myers, Melbourne’s chancellor, described Professor Maskell as “an outstanding university leader and academic, operating at a very senior level at one of the world’s top universities”.
Under Professor Davis, who became vice-chancellor in 2005, Melbourne has significantly improved its research strength and has risen up the global league tables, securing 32nd place in the latest iteration of the Times Higher Education World University Rankings.
Professor Davis also oversaw a radical overhaul of Melbourne’s curricula, breaking the mould in Australia by abandoning the British model of specialised bachelor’s degrees and adopting broader, US-style major-minor courses. Professional training, for example in law, takes place at postgraduate level.
Professor Maskell said that he looked forward to building on this legacy.
“The University of Melbourne has been a centre of excellence for a long time, and its reputation and strength is recognised on the global stage,” he said. “I am honoured to be appointed its next vice-chancellor and I look forward to building on the excellent work of Glyn Davis.”
Professor Davis will remain in the post until Professor Maskell takes office, at which point he will return to teaching and research as a professor of political science.