PROF Robert Shepherd

PROF Robert Shepherd


  • Auditory and Visual Systems
  • Bionic Devices
  • Optical Technology
  • Otorhinolaryngology
  • Sensory Systems



  • Professor Robert Shepherd is the Director of the Bionics Institute and Head of the Medical Bionics Department at the University of Melbourne.

    In 2010 he was appointed as Program Leader of the Preclinical Division of the Bionic Vision Australia national consortium.

    He received his Ph.D. in Otolaryngology from the University of Melbourne. Prof Shepherd’s doctoral thesis examined the safety and efficacy of multichannel cochlear implants and contributed to Cochlear Ltd’s successful FDA approval for the clinical use of a multichannel cochlear implant. Prof Shepherd has held international research appointments throughout his career at the Virginia Merrill Bloedel Hearing Research Center, University of Washington, Seattle, U.S.A.; Department of Physiology, J. W. Goethe University, Frankfurt a. M., Germany; and Boys Town National Institute for Communication Disorders in Children, Omaha, Nebraska, U.S.A.

    Early on in his career he was a mathematics and science teacher, and has continued his commitment to Australian education by teaching undergraduate students and the supervising of 28 postgraduate students throughout his career to date.

    Prof Shepherd has authored 169 peer-reviewed scientific papers and invited book chapters, given over 190 presentations at national and international conferences including 82 as an invited speaker and an additional 33 invited community-based presentations. He has been the Principal Investigator on more than $10.9M of research funding including grants from the National Health and Medical Research Council of Australia, the Australian Research Council and the U.S. National Institutes of Health. He continues to work closely with industry through research links with Cochlear Ltd. and Living Cells Technologies Ltd.   


Member of

  • Association for Research in Otolaryngology. Chair of the International Committee 1990 - 2014
  • Australian Neuroscience Society. Member 1990 - 2014
  • IEEE. Member 1990 - 2014
  • International Functional Electrical Stimulation Society. Member 1990 - 2014
  • Neuromodulation Society of Australia and New Zealand (NSANZ). Member 1990 - 2014
  • The Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology. Member 1990 - 2014
  • The Royal Society of Victoria. Member 1990 - 2014


Selected publications


Investigator on


Education and training

  • PhD, University of Melbourne 1987
  • DipEd, State College of Victoria 1977
  • BSc, Deakin University 1977
  • Dip. AppSc, Gordon TAFE 1974

Awards and honors

  • Finalist, Eureka Prize for Excellence in Interdisciplinary Scientific Research, 2013
  • Not in List, 2006


Available for supervision

  • Y

Supervision Statement

  • See details of all projects available for supervision at

    Titles include:
    -Optical-electrical co-stimulation of nerves
    -Current focusing via simultaneous stimulation in cochlear implants
    -A systematic study of the effects of direct current generated via a bionic device

    Available for PhD supervision in the following fields: Physiology, Neuroscience, Biophysics, Bioengineering