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Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Vice President, Research Enterprise and International, Western Sydney University

Mentors in Parramatta

Deborah Sweeney

Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Vice President, Research Enterprise and International

Western Sydney University

Professor Deborah Sweeney is the Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Vice-President (Research, Enterprise and International) at Western Sydney University. She provides leadership and vision to achieve the University’s strategic priorities for research, research training, enterprise and entrepreneurial activities and international teaching and research. Ensuring the delivery of the University’s strategic ambitions, Deborah is focused on excellence, impact and translation. She has oversight of research, research partnership and international activities across Western’s Schools, Institutes and Strategic Research Initiatives.

Deborah joined Western Sydney in 2009 and has more than 20 years’ experience in research and research management. This includes her roles at Western as College of Health and Science, Director of Research; Associate PVC Research (Health and Science); PVC Research and Innovation; DVC Research and Innovation and, from January 2020, DVC Research, Enterprise and International.
Receiving her Bachelor of Optometry from UNSW in 1980, Deborah joined the Cornea & Contact Lens Research Unit within the School of Optometry, UNSW. Since completing her PhD in 1992, Deborah has held numerous executive roles within the Cornea and Contact Lens Research Unit and Vision CRC and its predecessor the CRC for Eye Research and Technology, including five years as Chief Executive Officer of Vision CRC. Deborah’s major research area is corneal physiology, her work has been instrumental in developing an understanding of the physiology of the human cornea and the effects of contact lens wear and refractive surgery on corneal function characteristics and the development of alternative forms of vision correction. Deborah has published over 100 refereed articles and several book chapters and is co-inventor on two patents.

Deborah has been the recipient of a substantial number of national and international awards and honours which reflect the excellence and impact of her research. Among these, the Award for Lifetime Achievement in Contact Lens Education; the Ruben Medal from the International Society for Contact Lens Research, awarded to an individual who has made outstanding contributions to the field of contact lens-related research; the Kenneth W Bell Medal from the Contact Lens Society of Australia, awarded for outstanding contribution to corneal and contact lens research and education; British Contact Lens Association Medal, awarded for outstanding achievement in the field of contact lenses; Eureka Prize for Interdisciplinary Scientific Research, and the American Academy of Optometry’s Outstanding Contact Lens Researcher of the Decade Award.

Deborah was named an Honorary Fellow of the College of Optometrists, London, in recognition of the contribution made to research and development, in particular relating to contact lenses and silicone hydrogel materials.

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