Cross-Sector Careers

Based at the Crawford School of Public Policy at the Australian National University, my PhD research is focused on collaboration between industry, research and government. I am particularly interested in speaking with individuals concurrently working across the three sectors.


Traditionally, organisations played a key role in the career development of their employees, who tended to remain with the one firm for a significant portion of their working life. However changing employment structures mean this is no longer the case, with individuals increasingly taking greater control over their own careers. There is also increasing government focus on boosting collaboration across industry and research. This research seeks to better understand individuals who have developed cross-sector careers, concurrently operating across industry, research and government (or frequently cycling between them such that they never fully disconnect from a sector for a period of greater than 3 years). Drawing on intelligent career theory, the focus will be on the “ways of knowing” (why/how/whom) these individuals express in relation to their careers.

Research Questions
Why, how and with whom do individuals develop cross-sector careers?

1. Why do individuals develop cross-sector careers?

  • Why have they chosen this career path?
  • How do they define themselves?

2. How do individuals develop cross-sector careers?

  • What strategies and tools do they employ to develop and manage their careers?
  • What structural and agency factors have impacted on their development of a cross-sector career?

3. With whom do individuals develop cross-sector careers?

  • What networks and communities of practice do they tap into, and how do they engage with them?
  • What are the implications for organisations seeking to engage individuals with cross-sector careers?
Supervisory Panel

Professor Helen Sullivan (Chair)
Director, Crawford School of Public Policy
Australian National University

Professor Sue Stocklmayer AO
Australian National Centre for the Public Awareness of Science
Australian National University

Professor Bob Williamson
Department of Computer Science
University of Tübingen