Professor Martin Westwell

Academic Status

College of Science and Engineering

place Biological Sciences (350)
GPO Box 2100, Adelaide 5001, South Australia

Martin is the Chief Executive of the SACE Board, South Australia's curriculum and assessment authority. He retains full academic status at Flinders and continues to be involved in research in the science of learning and areas such as (i) teaching that leads to improved transfer of student learning and (ii) critical thinking in science education (primary school to university level); (iv) the role of effective communication in developing expert scientists; and (v) the factors that influence students’ choice of subject at university.

Please contact Martin via the SACE Board

From 2007-2017 Martin was the inaugural Director of the Flinders Centre for Science Education in the 21st Century that supports quality teaching and innovation in science and mathematics education. After completing his degree and PhD at Cambridge University, Martin moved to Oxford University as a Research Fellow at Lincoln College in biological chemistry. A winding career path through the biotech industry and a number of science innovation and science education organisations returned him to Oxford University in 2005 as the Deputy Director of the Institute for the Future of the Mind.

BA (Hons) (Cantab.)
PhD (Cantab.)
Honours, awards and grants

In October 2018 the Australian Council for Education Leaders (ACEL, the largest professional association in the education sector in Australia) presented me with their Gold Medal for the Most Outstanding Contribution to the study and practice of educational leadership in Australia. In the award citation, the ACEL noted that my work “has influenced the way students in this century can and will learn.” “He is recognized for his work as a leading thinker, researcher and presenter in the science and neuroscience of learning itself and his work has influenced curriculum design, pedagogy and assessment at a national and international level.”

Earlier in 2018 I was presented with the Alby Jones Gold Medal Award given for an “inspirational and influential [South Australian] leader who has demonstrated excellence in education, is highly regarded by the broader community and has demonstrated integrity and achievement in the areas of social justice, equity, democracy and human rights.”

International Baccalaureate Schools-Australasia have named me their “Annual Speaker” for 2017. I t.oured the region with lectures on “Changing challenge: using creativity for disposition and differentiation.”

In 2008, I was the Australian Council for Educational Leadership Travelling Scholar, with a lecture series on the science of learning.

In 2006, I was shortlisted for the Parliamentary Science Writer of the Year award given by the British Association of Science Writers for “those who have tackled important scientific issues, and whose written ororalcontributiontoParliamentarybusinesshassetthehigheststandardsintermsofaccuracy,insight, awareness andinnovation.”

I was presented with the 2001 Dorothy Hodgkin “Science & Society Award” by the British Association for the Advancement of Science.

In 1999, I was named the by The Times newspaper “Scientist of the New Century” - an award only given in 1999 & 2000 to a promising scientist under 40 years.

Higher degree by research supervision
Principal supervisor: Transfer of learning (1), Critical Thinking in Higher Education (1)
Associate supervisor: Science Communication in Science Education (1), Critical Thinking in Higher Education (1), Early Years Education and Development
Expert for media contact
Education - Curriculum
Education - Middle School
Education - Science
Education - Teaching
Education - Year 12
Educational neuroscience
STEM education
Available for contact via
Or contact the media team
+61 8 82012092
0427 398 713
Media expertise
  • Education - Curriculum
  • Education - Middle School
  • Education - Science
  • Education - Teaching
  • Education - Year 12
  • Science
  • Educational neuroscience
  • STEM education
Further information

Early Childhood Australia: "Supporting brain development" 2016

TEDx talk: "No, no! You are not thinking, you are just being logical" (youtube) 2015

The Conversation: "Virtual distance: technology is rewriting the rulebook for human interaction" 2015

DECD conference: "Strategic Intent: Leading Learning" (youtube) 2013

SA Life Education supplement: "The future of universities" 2017:

Future of Universities (pdf)

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