Alumnus shapes the future of Australian policy

A commitment to tackling inequality and disadvantage has seen Monash graduate Matthew Tyler (BEc(Hons) 2012) receive the RG Menzies Scholarship to Harvard - Australia’s most prestigious national award for postgraduate...

A commitment to tackling inequality and disadvantage has seen Monash graduate Matthew Tyler (BEc(Hons) 2012) receive the RG Menzies Scholarship to Harvard - Australia’s most prestigious national award for postgraduate study to the United States. 

Matthew will use the $60,000 scholarship to complete a Master’s in Public Policy at Harvard University’s John F Kennedy School of Government. There he will learn from world-leading partnerships between business and government using innovative financing to fund effective social programs.

Matthew’s ambition stems from a broad set of experiences across the private and public sectors.

After completing commerce and arts degrees at the University of Melbourne, he spent four years working as a management consultant at PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), advising some of Australia’s biggest companies on the implementation of major strategic change.

Since leaving PwC in 2011, he has been dedicated to public service. During his studies at Monash (2011-2012) he led research on Indigenous men’s health in the Kimberley as part of an Australian Research Council grant. He was honoured for his academic excellence with the Monash University Medal for Academic Excellence and the R.H Snape Productivity Commission Prize which is awarded to the top student in Economics Honours.

After graduation he undertook an internship with the Strategy and Delivery Division at the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet, before moving onto the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade to work as an economist on the Australian Government’s foreign aid program.

Most recently, Matthew has been policy advisor to Labor MP Claire O’Neil (herself a graduate of both Monash and Harvard), where he has worked with senior Shadow Ministers to conduct analysis on Federal economic and social policies in preparation for the 2016 election. He also played an integral role working on Clare and Tim Watts’ recently released book Two Futures that considers the policies that Australia must get right today to prosper in 2040.

Matthew has volunteered extensively, including as an adviser to the Global Poverty Project, which aims to increase the number and effectiveness of people taking action to end extreme poverty, and as a research assistant with the International Initiative for Impact Evaluation in New Delhi, India. This volunteer work has shaped his view that Australia must subject social programs to more rigorous evaluation. 

After completing his Masters study at Harvard, Matthew aspires to play a lead role in establishing a thriving social finance sector in Australia that supports programs where early intervention mitigates costly remedial spending.

Areas where social finance is being used or considered in the United States include early childhood education, intensive re-employment programs, mental health services and in-place aged care.

“Social finance presents the opportunity for Australian governments to partner with the private sector to fund innovative social programs on a pay for success basis,” Matthew said.

“Although in the very early stages, social finance provides one avenue to scale critical social infrastructure against the backdrop of increasingly tight Federal and State government budgets.

“Using social finance as one part of a broader suite of polices, I am determined to work towards building a more prosperous and fair Australia where a child born in Broadmeadows has the same chance of success as a child born in Toorak.”

The RG Menzies Scholarship to Harvard was started in 1967 by prominent Australian Harvard alumni to honour the Australian statesman and longest-serving Prime Minister.

The Menzies Scholarship grants at least one annual award to talented Australians who have gained admission to a Harvard graduate school. The scholarship has been awarded to more than 75 scholars since 1968.