An internationally acclaimed researcher in particle, colloid and interface engineering has been appointed the next Vice Chancellor and President of James Cook University (JCU).

Professor Simon Biggs will succeed Professor Sandra Harding, who is retiring after almost 15 years in the role.

Currently the Senior Deputy Vice Chancellor at the University of Western Australia, Professor Biggs’ previous positions also include Executive Dean for the Faculty of Engineering, Architecture & Information Technology at the University of Queensland and Chair of Particle Science and Engineering of the Royal Academy of Engineering/British Nuclear Fuels Limited at the University of Leeds.

He is a Fellow of both the Royal Academy of Engineering and the Australian Academy of Technology and Engineering, and holds a PhD in Colloid Science.


JCU Chancellor Bill Twedell said Professor Biggs was unanimously selected by the Council for his combination of professional and personal attributes.

“Professor Biggs will provide strong leadership for JCU during a time of great opportunity and challenge for the university sector,” he said.

“(He) is attracted to the place of JCU in the tropics and the University’s commitment to this important part of Australia and the world.”

Professor Biggs said he is ‘genuinely thrilled’ by his appointment.


“The role of universities in the communities they serve is especially vital at this time and I am looking forward to building on the strong reputation JCU already has in North and Far North Queensland and well beyond as a provider of world-class education and research from this beautiful part of the world.

“I am also motivated by the possibilities that JCU’s presence in Singapore provides to continue to have a significant impact across the tropics.”

Professor Biggs will begin in his new role in February next year, based at the Townsville Campus.


Main points

  • Professor Simon Biggs has been appointed Vice Chancellor of James Cook University

  • He will begin in February next year, based at the Townsville Campus

  • Current Vice Chancellor Sandra Harding is retiring after almost 15 years in the role
I’m really excited about the opportunities to lead the university in its next phase of development.
Professor Simon Biggs
Incoming JCU Vice Chancellor