Professor Elizabeth Webster returns to the University of Melbourne to lead the Melbourne Institute

After a decade of impactful research and leadership at Swinburne University of Technology, Professor Elizabeth Webster will commence as Director of the Melbourne Institute: Applied Economic & Social Research in late July 2024.

She will take over from Professor A. Abigail Payne, who was appointed in 2016 and will now devote her time to policy-driven research at the Institute.

“I am privileged to be chosen to lead the Melbourne Institute which is Australia’s premier university economic policy unit,” says Professor Webster.

“Many people will know of its reputation in spearheading the establishment of Medicare, the Henderson Poverty Line, HILDA and numerous other economic reforms.

“I plan to continue and strengthen how it applies independent, quality economic analysis to the major problems and opportunities facing Australia.”

Professor Webster is currently the Pro Vice-Chancellor for Research Impact and Policy and Director of the Centre for Transformative Innovation at Swinburne University of Technology.

She first joined the Institute in 1983 as a Research Fellow with a Master of Economics and Bachelor of Economics (Honours) from Monash University.

Professor Beth Webster smiling, posing for photo
Professor Elizabeth Webster

After several years working in the public service at the federal and state levels, Professor Webster gained her PhD from the University of Cambridge in 1996 and nurtured her career in multiple roles with the University of Melbourne, including as a Professional Fellow with the Institute (2010-2014) and as Director of the Intellectual Property Research Institute of Australia (2002-2008).

She is a past President of the European Policy for Intellectual Property Association and the Asia Pacific Innovation Conference network, and in 2022 was named a Distinguished Fellow of the Economic Society of Australia.

Professor Paul Kofman, Dean of the Faculty of Business and Economics said it’s fantastic to welcome Professor Webster back to the University.

“Elizabeth is an esteemed economist who is highly regarded in industry, the Academy and our Faculty.

“I have no doubt she will be able to continue the impressive legacy of Abigail and the Melbourne Institute,” said Professor Kofman.

Professor Webster is a fellow of the Academy of the Social Sciences in Australia, and her research streams include the economics of innovation, research and development and intellectual property, labour economics, and industrial dynamics.

She has authored over 100 articles on the economics of innovation and firm performance and has been published in RAND Journal of Economics, Review of Economics and Statistics, Journal of Industrial Economics, Journal of Law & Economics, and the Journal of International Economics and Research Policy.

She has been appointed to several committees including the Bracks Review of the automotive industry, Lomax-Smith Base funding Review, CEDA Advisory Council, and the Advisory Council for Intellectual Property.

“I look forward to engaging further with our partners in the government, industry, and community sectors as well as our friends from other disciplines and universities,” said Professor Webster.