Human rights and international law expert Professor Hilary Charlesworth, says that Australia's appointment to the UN Human Rights Council gives the country an opportunity to examine its own human rights record.
Professor Maskell said he was honoured and delighted to take the helm of University, with the aim of building on its outstanding position nationally and globally.
“With a 165-year tradition, the University of Melbourne’s teaching and learning, research endeavours and global partnerships are world-renowned,” Professor Maskell said.
“I’m particularly fortunate to join at a time when the University’s ambitious building program is reshaping infrastructure to connect industry and research and encourage interdisciplinary collaboration.
“The new innovation precinct being built on the former Royal Women’s Hospital site will allow industry, researchers and government to co-locate to develop innovative solutions to major societal challenges.
“Likewise, the new seven-hectare campus at Fishermans Bend, Australia’s leading design, engineering and technology district, will play a key role as a connector of industry and research and a catalyst for new collaboration and investment in the next generation of technology.”
An established entrepreneur with a keen eye for industry, Professor Maskell has co-founded four biotech companies including Arrow Therapeutics, which sold to biopharmaceutical company AstraZeneca, and Discuva, which sold to Summit Therapeutics.
University of Melbourne Chancellor Allan Myers AC QC said the University’s Council is pleased to welcome Professor Maskell to the University.
“Professor Maskell’s credentials as an entrepreneur and leader, academic and administrator at one of the world’s top universities are outstanding,” Mr Myers said.
“He is in an excellent position to drive further innovation so the University of Melbourne continues to lead for generations to come, as well as diversify its revenue and attract diverse high-achieving students and industry leaders.”
Until August, Professor Maskell was at the University of Cambridge where he held the position of Senior Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Planning and Resources), the closest equivalent to a Provost in Australian universities.
A biologist specialising in bacterial infectious diseases, Professor Maskell is a Cambridge graduate, holding a Master of Arts and a PhD which looked at resistance and immunity to Salmonella.
Professor Maskell’s career included research at Wellcome Biotech, the Institute for Molecular Medicine at the University of Oxford and Imperial College London, before returning to Cambridge as the first Marks and Spencer Professor of Farm Animal Health, Food Science and Food Safety. He has published more than 250 research papers, leading to his election as a Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences.
Professor Maskell succeeds Professor Glyn Davis who, after nearly 14 years in the role, has returned to scholarship and teaching endeavours.