Professor Mark Western, Director of the Institute for Social Science Research

Areas of responsibility

Professor Western is the Director of the Institute for Social Science Research (ISSR) and is responsible for its strategic directions, scientific appointments, budgets, performance, representation and reporting to stakeholders. 

As Director, he leads multi-disciplinary teams of talented researchers and aims to provide a rich training environment for ISSR's PhD students. At ISSR, they investigate important social, economic and environmental questions and evaluate and analyse policies and programs for their partners and clients in government, industry and the community sector. Their research aims to provide a strong evidence-base for effective decision making and to be part of the solution to global and local challenges. 


Mark Western is Director of the Institute for Social Science Research and a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences in Australia. He has previously worked at the Australian National University and the University of Tasmania, and held visiting appointments at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, the University of Manchester, where he held a Hallsworth Visiting Professorship, and the Institute of Education, London.

Mark is a sociologist whose research examines how systems of inequality and disadvantage arise and can be addressed, what matters for economic and social well-being, and how institutions like schools, families, networks and labour markets are involved in these processes. Mark also carries out research in social science methods.

Mark is an International Fellow of the Center for the Study of Poverty and Inequality at Stanford University, a Chief Investigator on the ARC Centre of Excellence for Children and Families Over the Lifecourse and a former Chief Investigator on the ARC Centre of Excellence in Policing and Security. Mark is a Board Member of the Cathie Marsh Institute for Social Research at the University of Manchester and a former member of the ARC College of Experts.

In 2012 Mark chaired the Education and Human Society Research Evaluation Committee for the Excellence in Research for Australia (ERA) national evaluation of university research quality. In 2013 he was Deputy Chair of the Steering Committee for a joint Academy of Humanities and Social Sciences project, Mapping the Humanities and Social Sciences in Australia, for the Australian Chief Scientist. In 2014, Mark represented the Academy of Social Sciences on an Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering (ATSE) project, Research Engagement for Australia, exploring options for metrics to measure university and industry research engagement.  Aside from Centre of Excellence funding, Mark has held research grants and government contracts worth over $20 million. He has edited and authored 6 books, and 100 book chapters, journal articles and commissioned reports.

Research interests

  • Social inequality
  • Gender inequality and politics and culture under neoliberalism
  • Social mobility and social stratification
  • Class analysis
  • Survey research methodology
  • Quantitative data analysis methods
  • Political sociology
  • Economic and social well-being
  • Public and engaged social science
Professor Mark Western
Director of the Institute for Social Science Research
BA (Hons), PhD

  +61 (7) 3346 9688
  +61 (7) 3346 7646

Level 4, GPN3 (Building 39A),
The University of Queensland
Brisbane, QLD 4072, Australia


Cassandra Hughes
Executive Assistant

  + 61 (7) 3346 7344