Professor Brenton Prosser

Professor Brenton Prosser

  • Doctor of Philosophy (Flinders University)

  • Postdoctoral degree (University of Nebraska)

  • Graduate Diploma in Secondary & Tertiary Education (University of Adelaide)

UNSW Canberra
School of Professional Studies

Brenton Prosser is Professor of Public Policy and Leadership at UNSW Canberra, Director of the UNSW Public Partnerships and Impact Hub, and Director of the John Howard Prime Ministerial Library at Old Parliament House. His research interests include politics, minority government, governance, public policy, public trust, democratic engagement and mental health.

He has worked in senior leadership roles across public, private and non-government sectors, as well as at leading Australian and UK universities. Brenton has been a senior executive in the APS and a Director of Policy with the largest Australian-based private consultancy firm, Nous Group. He has led numerous multi-million dollar national evaluations of health and social policy for Commonwealth departments. Brenton was Chief of Staff to Senator Nick Xenophon during the period when the Senator first held the balance of power from 2008-2011. He has also been Director of Research and Policy with a national peak body in the social services sector. Most recently, he was Director of an internationally recognized centre for social and economic modelling (NATSEM).

Brenton's previous academic roles include Head of the School of Politics, Economics and Society at the University of Canberra. Prior to that, he was Senior Research Fellow in a UK Russell Group impact centre, where he co-led the first UK citizens’ assemblies on democratic devolution and worked to develop impact strategies within Westminster Palace. He has also held Senior Lecturer positions in sociology (ANU) and education (UniSA).

Brenton has a deep and practical understanding of the relationship between parliament, public sector leadership and policy. His policy experience across government, parliament, private-public sectors and NGOs made him the ideal leader to design new Master of Public Leadership programs at UNSW. Brenton is also an authority on youth mental health and policy, specializing in ADHD. Between 2020 and 2022, Brenton worked with a team from the University of Canberra to design and lead a multi-million dollar evaluation of programs within the Department of Defence Mental Health and Well-being Strategy.

Brenton is the author of five books, over one hundred publications and has presented at conferences across four continents. He has co-authored (with Richard Denniss) a seminal handbook on minority government and public policy, while his handbook on ADHD was a national best-seller. His work has been cited in federal and state parliamentary inquiries into mental health, as well as Australian Royal Commissions. Brenton has had over 130,000 people read his contributions to the Conversation, while he is a regular contributor to the Mandarin.

Recognition of Brenton’s community service extends back to 1997 when he was the Young South Australian of the Year and finalist in the Young Australian of the Year awards. However, Brenton’s most significant community contribution over the last six years has been as a leader with his local Cub Scout group. Here, each week, he mentors a group of eight to ten-year-old future Australian leaders.

+61 411100465
John Howard Library Old Parliament House Parliamentary Triangle Canberra

  • Led evaluation of Defence Mental Health and Wellbeing Strategy 2018-2023 (Dept Defence).

  • Led national evaluation of Aged Care Home Care Programs and Packages (Dept Health).

  • Led department response to Senate Inquiry on regional access to mental health (Dept Health).

  • Led national mapping of social, economic, health and education disadvantage (CSSA/ANU).

  • Co-led first UK citizen’s assemblies on devolution of powers from Westminster (Sheffield).

  • Led national evaluation of community-based models for aged care services (Dept Health).

  • Co-led team of academics to redesign pedagogy in Australians lowest SES suburbs (UniSA).

  • Australian College of Education Teaching Excellence Award (1995)
  • Young South Australian of the Year (1997)
  • Finalist, Young Australian of the Year (1998)
  • Queens' Trust Award (1998)
  • ANU Teaching Innovation Award (2011)
  • British Political Studies Association Democratic Innovation Award (2016)
  • UC Research Excellence Award (2021)

  • Expertise and national standing in minority government and policy development

  • Practical, teaching and research expertise in public policy, leadership and APS

  • Deep knowledge in social policy, including system evaluation and modelling

  • Rich experience in research translation and impact at Australian and UK universities

  • Academic leadership in coproduction and codesign of research in social policy

  • Australian expertise on Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)

Read on the Conversation

Member, Australian Political Studies Association (APSA)

Member, Australasian Study of Parliament Group (ASPG)

Member, British Political Studies Association (BPSA)

Member, Westminster Study of Parliament Group (SPG)

Co-convenor, Policy Studies Research Group, APSA