Menu Close
Research Professor, Speech & Language Development, Western Sydney University

Research and Timeline:

Over his 40 years of research Prof Burnham has over 200 publications and numerous funded grants on experiential and inherited influences in speech and language development, including infant speech perception; infant-directed speech; auditory-visual speech perception; hearing impairment; dyslexia and literacy; tone languages; human-machine interaction; and speech corpora.

As a Research Professor at MARCS Institute for Brain, Behaviour and Development he has developed numerous many collaborations – with phoneticians, linguists, engineers, clinicians, computer scientists, music cognition researchers, creative artists, and neuroscientists, resulting in of many emergent issues, paradigms, results, and friendships.

Building on 20 years of research in Thailand at Chulalongkorn and Thammasat, he has collaborations in Malaysia, Hong Kong, Japan, and Singapore, has been on loan for 7 months to Linguistics and Multilingual Studies at Nanyang Technological University, Singapore in 2016, and has taught Master Classes in China at the Beijing Language and Culture University in 2017, in Brazil at the São Paulo State University (UNESP) in 2018.

1974: B.A: (Hons1, University Medal); University of New England
1981: PhD: Infant visual perception, Monash University
1981-1998: Lecturer, Snr Lecturer, AssProf, School of Psychology, University of NSW
1999-2014: Foundation Director, MARCS Institute for Brain, Behaviour & Development, Western Sydney Univ.
1999: Founder, MARCS BabyLab
1999-2016: Leader, Speech & Language Program, MARCS Institute, 1999-2016
1997-2013: Co-founder/Vice-Chair, Auditory-Visual Speech Perception Assoc. (AVISA)
2008: Chair, Interspeech Conference (1000 delegates), September 22-26, Brisbane
2016: Founder Asia-Pacific Babylab Constellation (ABC)
2016: Excellence in Research Leadership Award, Western Sydney University
2018: Fellow, Lifetime Award: International Speech Communication Assoc. ‘For contributions to auditory-visual speech perception, and to infant speech perception development’
2018: Fellow, Academy of Social Sciences Australia
2020: University of New England Distinguished Alumni Award


  • –present
    Professor in Speech & Language Development, Western Sydney University


  • 1981 
    Monash University, PhD / Psychology