Dick Strugnell is a microbiologist with a research interest in disease-causing bacteria and in the development of vaccines against bacterial infections. This interest was sparked by studies he performed as part of his PhD in the early 1980s at Monash University on the agent of syphilis, Treponema pallidum. After periods as a post-doc in the UK in Birmingham, in industry at the Beckenham labs of Wellcome and back at Monash Clayton, Dick joined the University in late 1991 as a Senior Lecturer in Medical Microbiology. He was promoted to Associate Professor and Reader in 1999 and Professor in 2001.
He has been involved with Graduate Research matters since late 1999 when a simple question regarding a scholarship led to an invitation to join GRSC, the scholarship scoring committee and, from there, the Research Higher Degrees Committee of Academic Board. Barbara Evans, the then Dean of the School of Graduate Studies appointed Dick an Associate Dean in 2005 and then Deputy Dean in 2007. Dick assumed the role of PVC(Graduate Research) in December 2007.
Dick's interest in “transferrable skills” provision as part of graduate training stemmed from his work in the CRC for Vaccine Technology where he was part of the Education Advisory Committee. The CRC, like some other large multi-nodal collaborations, was a focus for research training that provided great extension opportunities, including IP training and funded work experience, to some 90 PhD students over 13 years.
The University of Melbourne is blessed to support many of Australia’s best graduate researchers and the role of the PVC(Graduate Research) is to help provide an intellectual environment that will allow each candidate to reach her/his potential, to support Supervisors and candidates as they tackle the challenging journey of a research degree, and to ensure that research training makes a significant contribution to the research strategy of the University.