Professor Brian Head


School of Political Science and International Studies
Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences
+61 7 334 67450


Professor Brian Head joined the University of Queensland in mid-2007 after holding senior roles in government, universities, and the non-government sector. He is the author or editor of several books and numerous articles on public management, governance, social isues and environmental policy. His major interests are evidence-based policy, complex or 'wicked' problems, program evaluation, early intervention and prevention, collaboration and consultation, public accountability and leadership. He has undertaken several consultancies on program evaluation, policy review, organisational performance, and good governance processes. He has strong interests in applied research across many areas of public policy and governance, and is committed to building closer links between the research and policy sectors.

Research Interests

  • Complex wicked problems
  • Program evaluation
  • Evidence-based policy
  • Early intervention and prevention
  • Social inclusion
  • Leadership strategies
  • Collaboration and consultation
  • Integrity and accountability
  • Service delivery
  • Engaged research

Research Impacts

Professor Brian Head has provided submissions to numerous governmental policy reviews, on topics ranging from integrity and accountability, through to innovation and research impacts. He has been invited to present keynote addresses to several international conferences and workshops, including symposia organised by the OECD. He provides expert confidential advice to a range of state and federal agencies. He has been elected a Fellow of two professional associations and a Fellow of the Academy of the Social Sciences in Australia.


  • Fellow of Academy of the Social Sciences
  • PhD Politics, University of London
  • Master of Arts (Politics), Monash University


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Book Chapter

  • Bellamy, Jennifer, Head, Brian W. and Ross, Helen (2019). Crises and institutional change: emergence of cross-border water governance in Lake Eyre Basin, Australia. In Peter Leigh Taylor and David A. Sonnenfeld (Ed.), Water crises and governance (pp. 10-26) Abingdon, Oxon, United Kingdom: Routledge.

  • Bettini, Yvette and Head, Brian W. (2018). Exploring capacity for strategic policy work: water policy in Australia. In Xun Wu, Michael Howlett and M. Ramesh (Ed.), Policy capacity and governance: assessing governmental competences and capabilities in theory and practice (pp. 289-312) Cham, Switzerland: Palgrave Macmillan. doi:10.1007/978-3-319-54675-9_13

  • Bellamy, Jennifer and Head, Brian (2018). Regionalization and regionalism: persistent challenges and new frontiers. In Neil Sipe and Karen Vella (Ed.), The Routledge handbook of Australian urban and regional planning (pp. 62-72) New York, NY, United States: Routledge. doi:10.4324/9781315748054

  • Crowley, Kate and Head, Brian W. (2017). Expert advisory bodies in the policy system. In Marleen Brans, Iris Geva-May and Michael Howlett (Ed.), Routledge Handbook of Comparative Policy Analysis (pp. 181-198) Abingdon, Oxon, United Kingdom: Taylor and Francis. doi:10.4324/9781315660561

  • Head, Brian W. (2017). Policy-relevant research: improving the value and impact of the social sciences. In Heinz Schandl and Iain Walker (Ed.), Social science and sustainability (pp. 199-209) Melbourne, Australia: CSIRO Publishing.

  • Bettini, Yvette, Arklay, Tracey and Head, Brian W. (2017). Understanding the policy realities of urban transitions. In Niki Frantzeskaki, Vanesa Castán Broto, Lars Coenen and Derk Loorbach (Ed.), Urban sustainability transitions (pp. 37-49) London, United Kingdom: Routledge. doi:10.4324/9781315228389

  • Ross, Helen, Bellamy, Jennifer and Head, Brian (2016). Collaboration challenges in addressing natural resource management problems: Australian regional case studies. In Richard D. Margerum and Cathy J. Robinson (Ed.), The challenges of collaboration in environmental governance: barriers and responses (pp. 175-195) Cheltenham United Kingdom: Edward Elgar Publishing.

  • Head, Brian W. and Walter, James (2015). Academic Research and Public Policy. In Brian W. Head and Kate Crowley (Ed.), Policy Analysis in Australia (pp. 283-301) Bristol, United Kingdom: Policy Press.

  • Head, Brian W. and O'Flynn, Janine (2015). Australia: building policy capacity for managing wicked policy problems. In Andrew Massey and Karen Johnston (Ed.), The international handbook of public administration and governance (pp. 341-368) Cheltenham, United Kingdom: Edward Elgar Publishing. doi:10.4337/9781781954492.00022

  • Head, Brian (2015). Policy analysis and public sector capacity. In Brian Head and Kate Crowley (Ed.), Policy Analysis in Australia (pp. 53-67) Bristol, United Kingdom: Policy Press.

  • Crowley, Kate and Head, Brian (2015). Policy analysis in Australia: context, themes and challenges. In Brian Head and Kate Crowley (Ed.), Policy Analysis in Australia (pp. 1-20) Bristol, United Kingdom: Policy Press.

  • Head, Brian W. (2015). Policy analysis: evidence based policy-making. In James D. Wright (Ed.), International Encyclopedia of the Social and Behavioral Sciences 2nd ed. (pp. 281-287) Amsterdam, The Netherlands: Elsevier. doi:10.1016/B978-0-08-097086-8.75030-6

  • Head, Brian W. (2014). Research and its policy relevance. In Robert Stimson (Ed.), Handbook of research methods and applications in spatially integrated social science (pp. 603-616) Cheltenham, United Kingdom: Edward Elgar. doi:10.4337/9780857932976.00037

  • Head, Brian W. (2014). The collaboration solution? Factors for collaborative success. In Janine O'Flynn, Deborah Blackman and John Halligan (Ed.), Crossing Boundaries in Public Management and Policy: The international experience (pp. 142-157) Abingdon, Oxon, U.K.: Routledge.

  • Head, Brian W. (2013). Evidence-based policy-making for innovation. In Stephen P. Osborne and Louise Brown (Ed.), Handbook of innovation in public services (pp. 143-156) Cheltenham, United Kingdom: Edward Elgar. doi:10.4337/9781849809757

  • Wallington, Tabatha, Robinson, Cathy and Head, Brian (2012). Crisis, change and water institutions in South-east Queensland: strategies for an integrated approach. In Thomas Measham and Stewart Lockie (Ed.), Risk and Social Theory in Environmental Management (pp. 185-198) Melbourne Australia: CSIRO Pubishing.

  • Head, Brian (2011). Urban water institutional arrangements. In Bob Swinton and Chris Davis (Ed.), Securing Australia’s Water Future (pp. 63-65) North Sydney, N.S.W., Australia: Focus Publishing.

  • Head, Brian (2010). Evidence-based policy: Principles and requirements. In Strengthening evidence-based policy in the Australian Federation (pp. 13-26) Melbourne, Australia: Productivity Commission.

  • Head, Brian (2010). From knowledge transfer to knowledge sharing? Towards better links between research, policy and practice. In Gabriele Bammer, Annette Michaux and Ann Sanson (Ed.), Bridging the 'know-do' gap: Knowledge brokering to improve child wellbeing (pp. 109-123) Canberra, A.C.T., Australia: ANU E Press.

  • Spearritt, Peter and Head, Brian (2010). Water politics. In Brendan Gleeson and Wendy Steele (Ed.), A climate for growth (pp. 88-107) St Lucia, Qld, Australia: University of Queensland Press.

  • Head, B.W. (2009). Adaptation to climate change: The evolution of policy and program ideas in Australia. In Martin, J., Rogers, M. and Winter, C. (Ed.), Climate Change in Regional Australia: Social Learning and Adaptation (pp. 14-29) Ballarat, Australia: VURRN Press Inc.

  • Head, B. W. (2009). From Government to Governance: explaining and assessing new approaches to NRM. In Lane, M. B., Robinson, C. and Taylor, B. (Ed.), Contested Country: Local and Regional Natural Resources Management in Australia (pp. 15-28) Melbourne Australia: CSIRO Publishing.

  • Head, B.W. and Stanley, F.J. (2009). The Australian Research Alliance for Children and Youth. In Bennett, D., Towns, S., Elliott, E. and Merrick, J. (Ed.), Challenges in Adolescent Health: An Australian Perspective (pp. 265-273) New York , U. S. A.: Nova Publishers.

  • Brown, A. J. and Head, Brian W. (2008). Consequences, Capacity and Coherence: An Overall Approach to Integrity System Assessment. In B. W. Head, A. J. Brown and C. Connors (Ed.), Promoting Integrity:Evaluating and Improving Public Institutions (pp. 285-306) Surrey, U.K.: Ashgate Publishing Ltd.

  • Brown, A. J., Head, Brian W. and Connors, Carmel (2008). Introduction: Integrity systems and democratic accountability. In Brian W. Head, A.J. Brown and Carmel Connors (Ed.), Promoting integrity: Evaluating and improving public institutions (pp. 3-12) Farnham, U.K.: Ashgate Publishing.

  • Head, B.W. (2008). Promoting Integrity: Trends and Prospects. In Head, B.W., Brown, A.J. and Connors, C. (Ed.), Promoting Integrity: Evaluating and Improving Public Institutions (pp. 307-317) The United Kingdom: Ashgate Publishing Ltd.

  • Head, Brian (2007). Taking subsidiarity seriously: What role for the States?. In A. J. Brown and Jennifer Bellamy (Ed.), Federalism and regionalism in Australia: New approaches, new institutions? (pp. 155-170) Canberra, Australia: ANU E Press.

  • Head, Brian (2007). The public service and government communication: Pressures and dilemmas. In Sally Young (Ed.), Government communication in Australia (pp. 36-50) Melbourne, Australia: Cambridge University Press.

  • Head, Brian W. (2005). Governance. In Peter Saunders and James Walker (Ed.), Ideas and influence: Social science and public policy in Australia (pp. 44-63) Sydney, Australia: University of Sydney Press.

  • Head, Brian, Wanna, John and Williams, Paul (2005). Leaders and the leadership challenge. In John Wanna and Paul Williams (Ed.), Yes, Premier : Labor leadership in Australia's states and territories (pp. 253-264) Sydney, Australia: University of NSW.

  • Head, Brian W. (2005). Participation or co-governance?: Challenges for regional natural resource management. In Robyn Eversole and John Martin (Ed.), Participation and governance in regional development: Global trends in an Australian context (pp. 137-154) Burlington, VT: Ashgate.

  • Head, Brian (2004). Regional NRM planning arrangements: Evaluating through the state lens. In Jennifer Bellamy (Ed.), Regional natural resource management planning: The challenges of evaluation as seen through different lenses (pp. 19-26) Brisbane, Australia: CSIRO; Queensland Department of Natural Resources and Mines.

Journal Article

Conference Publication

Other Outputs

Grants (Administered at UQ)

PhD and MPhil Supervision

Note for students: Professor Brian Head is not currently available to take on new students.

Current Supervision

  • Doctor Philosophy — Principal Advisor

    Other advisors:

  • Doctor Philosophy — Principal Advisor

  • Doctor Philosophy — Associate Advisor

  • Doctor Philosophy — Associate Advisor

  • Doctor Philosophy — Associate Advisor

    Other advisors:

  • Doctor Philosophy — Associate Advisor

  • Doctor Philosophy — Associate Advisor

Completed Supervision