Announcement: Prof Brendan Gleeson stepping down as MSSI Director

After nine years at the helm, Professor Brendan Gleeson will step down as MSSI Director at the end of September.

Brendan Gleeson

We regrettably announce that MSSI Director Professor Brendan Gleeson will step down from his leadership role with the Institute at the end of September. As Institute Director for nine years Brendan raised the profile of socio-environmental issues and made major contributions to knowledge on social sustainability, social justice and urban governance.

Upon taking the helm, Brendan concentrated the Institute’s efforts on the themes of Future Cities and Climate Transformations with a focus on interdisciplinary coordination and impact both in and beyond the University of Melbourne. Both themes have recently been recognised in their own right through the establishment of the Melbourne Centre for Cities and Melbourne Climate Futures and this is tribute to Brendan’s vision.

Brendan pushed the frontiers of research in his work on urban planning, governance and policy, and disability studies. He drew on his academic reputation and his mentoring skills to progress the work and careers of many younger scholars. Brendan is highly successful in Australian Research Council grants, most recently as lead Chief Investigator in the ARC Centre of Excellence for Children and Families over the Life Course (Life Course Centre).

Brendan and then Deputy Director Professor John Wiseman led MSSI in hosting the successful international Ecocity World Summit in 2017. Brendan was instrumental in securing the establishment of the Enterprise Chair in Environmentalism that has undertaken impactful science communications outreach and policy influence harnessing the leadership efforts of the Honorable Al Gore who made three visits to Australia on behalf of MSSI. He was also an architect of the jointly funded Chair with the City of Melbourne focused on urban resilience. Brendan saw the potential for innovation and impact through a Chair embedded in both the University and government. Brendan has fostered one of the most effective and engaged Advisory Boards within the University.

The staff of MSSI and colleagues at the University are sad to see Brendan step down from his role. His leadership style and vision is much admired, and his generosity of thought and care for colleagues is exemplary. We look forward to continuing to work with Brendan in his role as Professor of Urban Policy Studies in the Faculty of Architecture, Building and Planning, where he will continue to lead the Places Program in the Life Course Centre amongst other things. We wish Brendan every success in the next leg of his scholarly journey.