Professor Margaret Jones is the Director of the Office of Research and Innovation at Edith Cowan University in Perth.
Margaret’s longstanding passion for research and her desire to understand how things work have driven her studies and career.
After undertaking a degree in zoology, Margaret embarked with her husband to the United States– where he went on to complete his PhD and Margaret started her career as a research assistant in a molecular biology laboratory.
Margaret spent three years working in this emerging field whilst immersing herself in the culture of the United States.
Margaret transitioned into her PhD following her husband’s completion – starting a yin and yang trend where each would take turns in their career development. On return to Australia, Margaret was fortunate to join the research group of Professor Alan Trounson at Monash University – as she describes a ‘guru of stem cell research.’
Following over two years with Monash, Margaret was fortunate to receive a postdoctoral role with the Prince Henry’s Institute of Medical Research. Here she worked under the great mentorship of Professor Evan Simpson, a world leader in breast cancer research. Through pivoting to yet another research field, Margaret discovered the value of her transferrable skills and how they could be applied across many disciplines and roles.
Margaret went on to become the first at Prince Henry’s to be awarded an NHMRC Career Development Award.After spending 10 years with the Institute, and observing the annual challenges of grant writing, Margaret implemented a new initiative to streamline the process – through coordinating the process, facilitating peer review, creating a central repository of information and mentoring.
Throughout this time, and to this day, Margaret has enjoyed mentoring students and junior staff through sharing ideas, advice and compassion – often in a candid and honest way.
Throughout her early career, Margaret’s perception of herself as a ‘medical researcher’ was challenged through her roles in research administration and whilst working in the UAE for the National Research Foundation and with Murdoch University’s campus in the region.
These roles opened her mind to new opportunities and allowed her to explore different domains – resulting in personal and professional growth where Margaret realised the importance of being challenged by different perspectives and exploring diverse fields to ensure she didn’t become blinkered.
Following her return to Australia, Margaret reached out to the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research) of Edith Cowan University to seek advice on the higher education landscape in Perth. This fortuitous email led to her being appointed the Director of Research and Innovation with the Institution – a role she has enjoyed for almost 6 years.
Margaret believes it’s important to be continually excited and passionate about one’s career and to grab opportunities with both hands. Through her experiences, Margaret understands career paths are not linear – taking all kinds of twists and turns – but maintains the experiences and learnings gained from stepping outside your comfort zone can be profound.
Margaret believes she hasn't reached her peak yet, “I’m still climbing; still seeking challenges and opportunities; I’m not there yet!” and looks forward to connecting with mentees and supporting their career development.