BSc (Melbourne), GDipRecPlng (Canberra), MEnvS, GDipPubPol, PhD (Melbourne)

Political science

Professor Jenny M Lewis has made substantial contributions to scholarship on public policy and public administration. Her research has advanced knowledge on policy studies and governance, in a number of areas. First, her research on network governance has contributed to improved understandings of policy networks, partnerships, and governance regimes in health policy, welfare to work, and higher education and research policy. She led the introduction of social network theories and analysis to public policy research. Much of Jenny’s work rests on international comparisons, particularly with the UK, the Netherlands, and Denmark, and also with New Zealand and Canada. Her second major contribution has been in advancing scholarship on the making of public policy in numerous contexts. This work has focused on the factors that shape and constrain policy agenda setting, and on how individual skills, attitudes, and mindsets, shape policy problem solving by individuals, groups, and governments. Public sector innovation has been a third important strand of Jenny’s research. She has made significant contributions to advancing knowledge on innovation inside government, and on how governance, networks, and leadership can support innovation capacity in governments and public sector organizations. Her most recent work on innovation policy and governance bridges theories of policy design with the application of design thinking to solving policy problems. 

Through her research, Jenny has made important contributions to scholarly debates on network governance, policy making, public sector innovation and policy design. She has also worked closely with governments and other non-academic partners to ensure that her research has an impact on policy and administration. Prior to becoming an academic, Jenny was a Victorian public servant for five years, and she often provides advice on: how to improve governance structures and better deliver services; how to build innovation capacity in public sector contexts; and how to improve policy decision making and policy design. Jenny has also held a number of research leadership positions, including as Director of the Centre for Democratic Network Governance at Roskilde University (2010-11), Research Director of the Melbourne School of Government (2013-15), and Founding Director of The Policy Lab at the University of Melbourne (2016-18). She has been Associate Dean Research (2018-19) and is currently the Academic Lead on research impact for the University of Melbourne (2020- ).

Beyond her research on policy, Jenny has contributed more broadly to the social sciences in Australia and elsewhere through her membership of the ARC College of Experts (2017-19) and by reviewing for multiple international research councils. She has also contributed significantly to research societies as the President of the International Research Society for Public Management (2018- ), and as a past president of the Australian Political Studies Association (2016-17). Her board membership of the Institute of Public Administration Australia (Victorian branch) (2018- ) further signals the high regard in which her academic expertise in public policy and public administration is held.

Academic Director, Research Impact, Chancellery Research and Enterprise, The University of Melbourne (2022-)

President, International Research Society for Public Management (2018-22)

Board Member, Institute of Public Administration Australia (Victorian branch) (2018-21)

President, Australian Political Studies Association (2016-17)

Professor of Public Policy, School of Social and Political Sciences, The University of Melbourne (2013- )

Professor of Public Administration and Public Policy, Institute for Society and Globalisation, Roskilde University, Denmark (2010-12)

Associate Professor of Public Policy, School of Social and Political Sciences, The University of Melbourne (2008-10)

Senior Lecturer, School of Social and Political Sciences, The University of Melbourne (2006-7)

  • Ken Young award for best article in Policy & Politics (2020)
  • Christopher Pollitt award for best article in International Review of Administrative Sciences (2019)
  • Jan Kooiman award for best article in Public Management Review (2013)
  • VicHealth Excellence in Health Promotion Research Commendation (2004)
  • Marshall E Dimock award for best article in Public Administration Review (2000)

1. Lewis, JM, McGann, M and Blomkamp, E (2020) ‘When design meets power: design thinking, public sector innovation and the politics of policymaking’. Policy & Politics 48(1): 111-130.

2. McGann, M, Blomkamp, E and Lewis, JM (2018) ‘The rise of public sector innovation labs: experiments in design thinking for policy’ Policy Sciences 51(3): 249-267.

3. Lewis JM, Ricard LM, and Klijn EH (2018) ‘How innovation drivers, networking and leadership shape public sector innovation capacity.’ International Review of Administrative Sciences 84(2): 288-347.

4. Lewis, JM (2015) ‘The politics and consequences of performance measurement’. Policy and Society 34(1): 1-12.

5. Lewis, JM (2013) Academic governance: disciplines and policy. New York: Routledge.