ANU appoints Professor Genevieve Bell as next VC

Joseph Brookes
Senior Reporter

Distinguished Professor Genevieve Bell will be the 13th Vice-Chancellor of Australian National University and the first woman to lead the institution in its 77-year history. She replaces the outgoing Professor Brian Schmidt in January.

An anthropologist and tech industry legend, Professor Bell returned to Australia in 2017 and set up the Australian National University’s (ANU) School of Cybernetics to encourage systems-based approaches to policy making.

Her research has focused on cultural anthropology through a systems level analysis.

Incoming ANU VC Distinguished Professor Genevieve Bell. Image: ANU

Originally from Sydney but raised in various communities across Australia,vincluding remote indigenous settlements, Dr Bell earned her doctorate from Stanford University before joining Intel in Silicon Valley in 1998.

At Intel, Dr Bell pioneered futurist research as a cultural anthropologist looking at how different cultures use technology – helping guide the company’s product development by developing Intel’s social science research capability.

She was an Intel vice-president and was named the company’s first female Intel Fellow, the company’s highest technical rank, based in Portland, Oregon.

After launching the School of Cybernetics in 2021, Professor Bell served as interim Dean of the ANU College of Engineering, Computing and Cybernetics at the request of current Vice-Chancelor Professor Schmidt, who steps down in January.

“It is with great pleasure that I am able to hand over the leadership of ANU to Genevieve Bell. She is someone who is both a leading intellectual and deeply committed to the values of the University and I know she will do a superb job as Vice-Chancellor,” Professor Schmidt said.

Professor Bell, who also sits on the Prime Minister’s National Science and Technology Council, said it was an honour to lead ANU.

“As Australia’s national university, ANU is a truly unique institution,” she said. “I’m excited to work alongside talented, committed colleagues, in all parts of the University, to build on our legacy and advance our important national and international mission.”

ANU chancellor and former Foreign minister Julie Bishop announced the appointment on Tuesday.

“It was clear to our selection panel that Genevieve aligns with the University community’s values and vision for ANU. I’m excited that she will be the first woman to hold this position in our history,” Ms Bishop said.

Do you know more? Contact James Riley via Email.

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