Professor Sheehan has made a substantial contribution since 1994 to studies of the global knowledge economy, and of its Australian and international ramifications. For over two decades he has contributed to the analysis of new technologies and their application in Australia, and to policy and commercial developments, related to the commercialisation of such technologies in Australia.

From 1987 to the late 1990s he was actively involved, as Chairman or Director, in a number of technology-based companies, many of which he was instrumental in establishing during his time in government.

For example, from 1987 to 1993 he was a Director of Australian Medical Research and Development Consortium Ltd (AMRAD) a company with a diversified ownership established to commercialise Australian medical research. In 1988 AMRAD entered into a joint venture with Merck, Sharpe and Dohme to establish a 50/50 joint venture, AMRAD Pharmaceuticals.

In August 2003 he was elected to the position of Academic Co-Chair, APEC Life Sciences Innovation Forum (LSIF) which is chaired by the Deputy Prime Minister of Thailand. The Industry Co-Chair is Dr Fikry Isaac, CMO of Wellness and Prevention at Johnson & Johnson. The establishment of the group is an initiative of President Fox of Mexico and is strongly supported by health, economic and research agencies of the 21 APEC economies and industry.

Key publications

Journal articles

Bertram, M.Y., Sweeny, K., Lauer, J.A., Chisholm, D., Sheehan, P., Rasmussen, B., Upreti, S.R., Dixit, L.P., George, K. and Deane, S. (2018), ‘Investing in non-communicable diseases: An estimation of the return on investment for prevention and treatment services’, Lancet, 4 April 2018, DOI:

Patton, G.C., Olsson, C.A., Skirbekk, V., Saffery, R., Wlodek, M.E., Azzopardi, P.S., Stonawski, M., Rasmussen, B., Spry, E., Francis, K., Bhutta, Z.A., Kassebaum, N.J., Mokdad, A.H., Murray, C.J.L., Prentice, A.M., Reavley, N., Sheehan, P., Sweeny, K., Viner, R.M., Sawyer, S.M. (2018), ‘Adolescence and the next generation’, Nature, vol. 554, pp. 458-467,

Sheehan, P., Sweeny, K., Rasmussen, R., Wils, A., Friedman, H.S., Mahon, J., Patton, G.C., Sawyer, S.M., Howard, E., Symons, J., Stenberg, K., Chalasani, S., Maharaj, N., Reavley, N., Shi, H., Fridman, M., Welsh, A., Nsofor, E. and Laski, L. (2017) 'Building the foundations for sustainable development: A case for global investment in the capabilities of adolescents', The Lancet, online 19 April 2017, DOI:

Chisholm, D., Sweeny, K., Sheehan, P., Rasmussen, B., Smit, F., Cuijpers, P. and Saxena, S. (2016) 'Scaling-up treatment of depression and anxiety: A global return on investment analysis', Lancet Psychiatry, vol. 3, no. 5, pp. 415-424,

Stenberg, K., Axelson, H., Sheehan, P., Anderson, I., Gülmezoglu, A.M., Temmerman, M., Mason, E., Friedman, H.S., Bhutta, Z.A., Lawn, J.E., Sweeny, K., Tulloch, J., Hansen, P., Chopra, M., Gupta, A., Vogel, J.P., Ostergren, M., Rasmussen, B., Levin, C., Boyle, C., Kuruvilla, S., Koblinsky, M., Walker, N., de Francisco, A., Novcic, N., Presern, C., Jamison, D. and Bustreo, F. on behalf of the Study Group for the Global Investment Framework for Women’s Children’s Health (2014), ‘Advancing social and economic development by investing in women's and children's health: A new global investment framework’, The Lancet, 19 November, doi:10.1016/S0140-6736(13)62231-X.

Book chapters

Stenberg, K., Sheehan, P., Axelson, H. and Sweeny, K. (2016) ‘Investing in the continuum of care for RMNCH’, Chapter 15, Volume 2, , in D. Jamison, S. Horton, H. Gelband, P. Jha, R. Laxminarayan, R. Nugent (eds),Disease Control Priorities in Developing Countries (DCP3), 3rd edn, Volume 2, The Continuum of Reproductive, Maternal, Newborn and Child Health, chap. 15.

Sheehan, P. (2010) 'Beyond Industrialization: New Approaches to Development Strategy Based on the Service Sector', in A.U. Santos-Paulino and Guanghua Wan (eds), The Rise of China and India: Impacts, Prospects and Implications, UNU-WIDER Studies in Development Economics and Politics, World Institute for Development Economics Research of the United Nations University, Palgrave Macmillan.

View more of Professor Sheehan's publications in VU's Research Repository.

Areas of expertise

  • Energy and climate change
  • Health and pharmaceuticals
  • Strategies for economic development

Contact details

+61 (3) 9919 1341
+61 (3) 9919 1350