Chancellor David Gonski AC has announced the appointment of one of Australia’s most dynamic educational leaders, Professor Attila Brungs, as UNSW Sydney’s incoming Vice-Chancellor and President.
Professor Brungs, who will take up the position on 31 January 2022, is currently Vice-Chancellor and President of the University of Technology Sydney (UTS). He will succeed Professor Ian Jacobs, who announced earlier this year his intention to step down after completing seven years in the role and return home to the UK for family reasons.
Professor Brungs has had a distinguished academic career, from receiving the University Medal in Industrial Chemistry as an undergraduate at UNSW, to becoming a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford University and completing a Doctorate in Inorganic Chemistry. His research into heterogeneous catalysis and sectoral leadership saw him elected as a Fellow of the Academy of Technology and Engineering.
From an early career at McKinsey and Co, CSIRO, then UTS (first as Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Research and then Vice-Chancellor), Professor Brungs brings more than 20 years’ experience of operating across industry, government and academia. This experience will be invaluable as UNSW continues to advance its bold and ambitious 2025 strategy.
“This is an outstanding appointment for UNSW,” Mr Gonski said today.
“The position was highly contested which is a great tribute to Professor Jacobs’ distinguished leadership of the University’s 10-year plan, which has seen UNSW grow from strength to strength. The University has focused not only on academic excellence, but on innovation and engagement and social impact; a strategy which Professor Brungs is committed to continuing,” Mr Gonski said.
“Professor Brungs’ inclusive leadership style as well as his commitment to students, to innovation and to partnerships with community and industry, will also perfectly align with our strategy.
“In many respects, Professor Brungs is returning ‘home’ to UNSW where he studied Science as an undergraduate, with distinction. His father, Professor Mike Brungs, was an esteemed member of the materials science and engineering community and a long-serving head of school. His mother and three of his siblings also studied at UNSW.
“We are not only welcoming our 10th Vice-Chancellor and President; we are welcoming back an eminent alumnus and member of the UNSW family.”
Professor Brungs said he was delighted to be taking up what he sees as one of the most exciting roles in higher education.
“UNSW is an outstanding University that not only cares deeply about students but equally about the broader impact its teaching, research and engagement has on the whole community,” Professor Brungs said.
“UNSW is one of the best-placed universities to partner with government and industry to drive the research commercialisation and translation agenda to help forge a bright future as we navigate the post-pandemic world, as well as meeting the skilling revolution Australian society needs.
“This promises to be one of the most challenging periods for higher education in Australia. For 12 years I have been privileged to serve UTS and am now similarly both honoured and excited about harnessing the skills, ideas and experience of the UNSW community – students, staff, alumni, industry and community partners, supporters and friends – to continue to make a significant and positive impact for Australia and the world.”