He has joined King’s from Monash University, the largest university in Australia, where he was President and Vice-Chancellor. Professor Byrne held that role from 2009. Whilst there he established a new campus in Suzhou, China and fostered a major alliance with the University of Warwick in the UK. During his tenure Monash’s position in the global university rankings rose considerably from 176 into the 90s in Times Higher Education, elevating it to the top 100 internationally for the first time, and in the Shanghai Jiao Tong World University Rankings from 220 into the 130s.
Professor Byrne is a neuroscientist and clinician by background. He qualified in medicine at the University of Tasmania in 1974 and subsequently trained as a neurologist in both Adelaide and London. He is a fellow of the Royal Australasian College of Physicians, the Royal Colleges of Physicians of London and Edinburgh, the American Academy and the American Association of Neurology. He holds the higher degrees of Doctor of Medicine (UTAS) and Doctor of Science (University of Melbourne). Professor Byrne has held many prestigious clinical and research positions in Australia and the UK, as well as advisory roles for a number of charitable bodies relating to his clinical and scientific expertise.
In 2003, he took up responsibility as Executive Dean of Medicine, Nursing and Health Science at Monash University. During this period, research income doubled, Professor Byrne strengthened the School of Biomedical Sciences and led the establishment of a new Medical School in Malaysia as a branch of Monash.
In 2007 he left Australia for London where he held the positions of Executive Dean of the Faculty of Biomedical Sciences, Head of the Medical School and Vice Provost at University College London until 2009. Professor Byrne has demonstrated outstanding commitment to research excellence throughout his career, including drawing together people from different disciplines to address global challenges and ensuring the quality of student education, the student experience and student employability.
Professor Byrne received the AO (Officer of the Order of Australia) in 2006, the AC (Companion of the Order of Australia) in 2014, and has dual British and Australian nationality. He has wide interests in the arts and has written several books of poetry.
He has filmed a short video message for staff and students outlining what attracted him to King’s, what he believes are the College’s strengths and how these can be developed.