• Local Governance
  • Public Governance
  • Public Policy Analysis
  • Public Service Reform
  • Publics, citizens and commmunities
  • State-Society relations
  • Theories and practices of collaboration



  • Professor Helen Sullivan is Foundation Director of the Melbourne School of Government (MSoG) and a policy studies researcher and teacher. She has degrees from the UK Universities of Birmingham and York and worked in a number of roles in government before moving to academia. Since 2012 Helen has led the development of MSoG, an interdisciplinary and applied graduate school dealing with contemporary questions of governance and public policy in international relations, development studies and public policy and administration. Helen’s research and teaching explores the changing nature of state-society relationships and includes the theory and practice of changing modes of governance and collaboration, new forms of democratic participation, and the practice of public policy and service reform. Current research projects explore the impact of ‘the Asian Century’ on public policy, the relationship between social media, journalism and citizen participation in Australian electoral politics, and the social license to operate in the emerging coal seam gas industry. Helen has published widely in academic and practitioner media and her work has won awards from the International Research Society on Public Management, and the Public Management Research Association. Her latest book (with C Skelcher and S Jeffares) is ‘Hybrid Governance in European Cities: Neighbourhood, Migration and Democracy’ (2013). She sits on the boards of a number of international academic journals including Critical Policy Studies Helen’s work reflects a long term commitment to finding new ways to bridge the gap between research and policy. Prior to joining the University of Melbourne in 2011, she was Director of the University of Birmingham’s first Policy Commission, a collaboration between public services providers, users, policy makers, think tanks and academics to produce the major report When Tomorrow Comes: The Future of Local Public Services published in 2011 (you can see Helen talk about the Comm   


Member of

  • Institute of Public Administration Australia. Board Member and Chair Program Board, IPPA Victoria 2012 -
  • Political Studies Association UK. Ordinary member 2003 -


Selected publications


Investigator on

Additional Grant Information

  • Selected UK research awards 2009. ESRC seminar series: Collaborative Futures with UWIC, Aston, Manchester and Strathclyde universities, November 2009 July 2011 2009. NHS SDO bid ýHealth and social care commissioning with J Glasby, H Dickinson and S Jeffares, 299,000 over 2 years from July 2009 2007. Overarching evaluation of Local Area Agreements, Local Strategic Partnerships and the wider policy framework, 2007-2010. with Warwick Business School, UWE, Liverpool John Moores, OPM and SQW. Funded by CLG, ý1,200,000 2006. The democratic anchorage of governance networks in three European countries, 2006-8, with Chris Skelcher, INLOGOV and collaborators in Erasmus University, Netherlands and Roskilde University, Denmark, Funded by ESRC, ý211,000 2005. Evaluation of the Welsh Community Planning Process, with Swansea University, INLOGOV and UWE. Funded by Welsh Assembly Government, ý70,000 2003. Evaluating changes in community leadership, principal investigator. Part of the overarching evaluation of the Local Government Modernisation Agenda, 2003-2008 led by Cardiff Business School. Funded by ODPM/CLG, UK Government. ý70,000 2003. National evaluation of the Well Being powers, 2003-2007, with INLOGOV and UWE. Funded by ODPM/CLG, UK Government,518,000 2003. ESRC seminar series, 2003-2005 Accountability in a new institutional environment 2002. National evaluation of Local Public Service Agreements, 2002-2007, with OPM, UWE and Cardiff University. Funded by ODPM/CLG, UK Government, ý1,375,000 2000. National evaluation of Health Action Zones , 2000-2002, with University of Glasgow, Birmingham University, London Queen Mary University. Funded by the Department of Health, UK Government, ý800,000 2000. ESRC funded study of Power, Participation and Political Renewal as part of the ESRCs Democracy and Participation Research Programme, 2000-2002,with Marian Barnes and Janet Newman. Funded by ESRC, 158,168.   


Education and training

  • PhD, York University 2000
  • MA, The University of Birmingham 1989
  • BA Comb. Hons, The University of Birmingham 1988

Awards and honors

  • Awarded prize for best paper at the PMRA conference (Korea), Public Management Research Association, 2014
  • Fellow of the Royal Society for the Arts, 2008
  • Awarded Kooiman award for best article in Public Management Review Journal 2008, International Research Society for Public Management, 2008



Available for supervision

  • Y

Supervision Statement

  • Collaboration in public policy
    Democratic governance
    Interpretive approaches and methods
    Local governance
    Public service reform
    Publics, citizens and communities