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Personal profile


PhD Bham., MA York, BA Comb.Hons., Bham


Helen Sullivan is a public policy researcher, teacher, advisor, and senior university leader. Educated in the humanities and social sciences she holds degrees in Modern History and Political Science (BA Comb. Hons, University of Birmingham, UK), Women’s Studies (MA, University of York, UK), and Public Policy (PhD, University of Birmingham, UK). Between 2016 and 2021 she was Director of the Australian National University’s Crawford School of Public Policy, the Asia-Pacific’s leading public policy school. On 1 July 2021, Helen became Dean, College of Asia and the Pacific at the ANU. 

Helen’s scholarship explores the changing nature of state-society relationships. She is widely published and highly cited; the author of eight books and more than 100 peer reviewed academic articles, book chapters, and policy reports. Her work is supported by grants from national research councils in the UK and Australia, as well as industry funding from a range of national, regional and international institutions. She appears regularly in print, mainstream and online media commenting on contemporary public policy issues.

Helen’s career is defined by a long-term commitment to bridging the gap between research and policy. She has led and supported numerous successful innovations across the world.  In 2011 she co-designed the University of Birmingham’s Policy Commission Program bringing together academics with experts from public policy, industry and civil society to develop new and implementable solutions to major policy problems.  In 2013 Helen established the Melbourne School of Government – a multi-disciplinary School that broke new ground through its integration of engagement and impact with research and teaching.

Helen’s research has won  awards from global academic societies including the Public Management Research Association and the International Research Society for Public Management. She serves on a number of editoral boards including: Asia and the Pacific Policy Studies, Asia-Pacific Journal of Public Administration, Critical Policy Studies, Local Government Studies, Public Administration, and Public Administration Review.

Helen serves on the Executive Board of the International Research Society on Public Management, and is Past President of the Australian Political Studies Association. She is a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy. In 2016 she was awarded a National Fellowship of the Institute of Public Administration Australia in recognition of her significant contribution to public policy practice.


Research interests

State-society relationships

Theory and practice of governance and collaboration

Citizen participation

Dynamics of local/urban governance and politics

Impact of reform on public policy systems

Leadership and followership

Researcher's projects

Book manuscript, Collaboration and Public Policy, under contract

Research collaboration, Cultural pluralism and super and stable diversity, with Dr Hayley Henderson (ANU), and SGS Economics and Planning


  • JA Political science (General)
  • Policy making and implementation
  • Leadership
  • Reform
  • H Social Sciences (General)
  • collaboration
  • JS Local government Municipal government
  • neighbourhoods
  • local politics
  • urban politics

Expertise Areas

  • Public Administration
  • Public Policy
  • Urban Policy
  • Political Science


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Network (past 5 years)

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