Professor Sir Edward Byrne receives Lifetime Achievement Award

Professor Christina Mitchell AO, Dean, Faculty of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences presented Professor Sir Edward Byrne with the faculty’s 2021 Lifetime Achievement Award on Friday.

Professor Sir Edward Byrne shaking hands and smiling with Professor David de KretserEach year, the Monash Faculty of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences recognises an individual who has made an outstanding contribution, both nationally and internationally, to human health and wellbeing. This year, the faculty bestowed the award upon a previous Vice-Chancellor of Monash University, an outstanding neuroscientist, researcher and Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences.

Professor Byrne began his career in Adelaide after graduating with first class honours from the University of Tasmania in 1974. He was made Neurology Registrar at Royal Adelaide Hospital in 1978. He finished his neurology training and completed his doctorate at the Institute of Neurology Queen Square and in 1982 was awarded the Queen Square prize for neurological research. In 1983, he was appointed Director of Neurology at St Vincent's Hospital and Professor of Clinical Neurology at the University of Melbourne in 1992.

Professor Byrne was a founding director of the Melbourne Neuromuscular Research Unit and the Centre for Neuroscience in 1993. He was also made Professor of Experimental Neurology at the University of Melbourne in 2001.

His major research contributions have been in the field of mitochondrial medicine and neuromuscular disorders. More recently he has worked on changes in universities and health systems to meet societal needs.

He first came to Monash University as the Dean of the Faculty of Medicine Nursing and Health Sciences, a role he held from 2003 until 2007. Professor Byrne was then appointed the Vice Provost (Health) at University College London (UCL). He held that position until becoming the eighth University President and Vice-Chancellor at Monash University in 2009.

In the commercial world, Ed Byrne served for many years as a non executive director at Cochlear Ltd and also as a director of Bupa both in the UK and Australia. He has served on a number of research institute and charity boards. The University of Melbourne awarded him a Doctor of Science, a higher degree conferred in recognition of a demonstrated record of research excellence.

Professor Byrne was admitted as an Officer of the Order of Australia in 2006 and a Companion of the Order of Australia, Australia’s highest honour, in 2014. He went on to be awarded a Knighthood in the Queen’s Birthday Honours in October 2020 for contributions to higher education and healthcare.

Professor Byrne also has wide interests in the arts and has published four books of poetry through Melbourne University Press and has recently co-authored with Charles Clarke, a former senior UK Cabinet Minister, a book “The University Challenge: Changing universities in a changing world”.

Professor Sir Edward Byrne joins the distinguished ranks of the recipients of the faculty’s Lifetime Achievement Award which includes:

  • The inventor of the bionic ear, Professor Graeme Clark AC;
  • Former Australian of the year Professor Fiona Stanley AC;
  • Molecular biologist Professor Joe Sambrook;
  • Eminent cancer researcher, Professor Ian Frazer AC;
  • Sir Gustav Nossal AC – arguably the most prominent Australian scientist of the modern era.
  • Professor Jack Martin, founder of skeletal research in Australia
  • Professor Suzanne Cory AC, one of Australia’s most distinguished molecular biologists
  • Former Vice-Chancellor and President, Emeritus Professor Richard Larkins AO
  • Professor David de Kretser AC
  • Professor Warwick Anderson AM
  • Professor John McNeil AM
  • And 2019’s winner, Professor Lois Salamonsen.

About Monash University

Monash University is Australia’s largest university with more than 80,000 students. In the 60 years since its foundation, it has developed a reputation for world-leading high-impact research, quality teaching, and inspiring innovation.

With four campuses in Australia and a presence in Malaysia, China, India, Indonesia and Italy, it is one of the most internationalised Australian universities.

As a leading international medical research university with the largest medical faculty in Australia and integration with leading Australian teaching hospitals, we consistently rank in the top 50 universities worldwide for clinical, pre-clinical and health sciences.

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