Professor Michael N Barber brought extensive experience in research, teaching and management to Flinders University when he took up the role of Vice-Chancellor on 1 January 2008.

He also arrived with a desire to broaden the University’s existing positive relationship with its various stakeholders.  In particular Professor Barber is keen to enhance the University’s contribution to the ‘new South Australia’ with its strong defence and resources sectors.

Believing that well-qualified graduates are the biggest contribution universities can make to the modern economy, Professor Barber’s primary focus is to further Flinders’ reputation for teaching and research excellence while exploring opportunities that will deliver the skills required by tomorrow’s labour market and society, both in Australia and internationally.

Professor Barber’s career provides a strong foundation for his ambitions for the University. Educated at the University of New South Wales, where he received first class honours and the University Medal in applied mathematics, Professor Barber received his PhD from Cornell University in the United States in the field of theoretical physics in 1972.

Professor Barber started his academic career as a Queen Elizabeth II Fellow at the Australian National University’s Department of Applied Mathematics. He spent a decade from 1974 as a Lecturer, Senior Lecturer and Associate Professor in applied mathematics at the University of New South Wales.

In 1984, Professor Barber was appointed Professor of Mathematics at Australian National University where, in 1990, he became Dean of the Faculty of Science. Professor Barber was appointed Pro Vice-Chancellor (Research) at the University of Western Australia in 1994, a position he held until 2002.

In 2002, Professor Barber broadened his experience by taking up the position of Executive Director, Science Planning at Australia’s premier research organisation, the CSIRO.  Four years later, he was appointed Group Executive, Information, Manufacturing and Minerals – a position he held until his appointment as Flinders’ Vice-Chancellor.

Throughout his academic career, Professor Barber has been an advisor on science and research to numerous government and industry agencies, both in Australia and overseas.  He was elected a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Science in 1992 and served as Secretary, Science Policy from 2001-05.  In 2011 he was elected a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering.  He is also a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.

Professor Barber and his wife, Jeanette, have two adult children. He enjoys walking, good food and wine, travelling and reading.

Council biography

Contact information

Manager, Office of the Vice-Chancellor 

Ms Kay Anderson 

Tel (08) (+ 61 8) 8201 3904


Executive Assistant

Ms Susan Caust

Tel (08) (+ 61 8) 8201 2101

Fax (08) (+61 8) 8201 5949