Sahlberg, a former director general at the Ministry of Education and Culture in Finland and a visiting professor at Harvard Graduate School of Education, will begin working at UNSW in March 2018 in a part-time capacity before relocating to Sydney in September to begin full-time with the university.

He will initiate and lead international comparative research projects on education and equity, and education leadership, including courses in Master of Educational Leadership and Doctor of Education programs, as well as supervising students.

He will also establish and lead applied research impact labs to improve the quality of teaching and equity of education outcomes.

Sahlberg’s book Finnish Lessons has been widely read around the world. His research on education policy, especially around equity, is highly regarded here and overseas, UNSW President and Vice-Chancellor Professor Ian Jacobs, says.

“The appointment of Professor Sahlberg is a huge coup for the University and the Gonski Institute but more importantly it is a huge coup for education research in Australia,” Jacobs says. 

Professor of Practice at UNSW and GIE director Adrian Piccoli says Sahlberg’s research leadership will be invaluable in establishing the GIE as an education powerhouse.

“Dr Sahlberg’s work on enhancing our understanding of international education has helped shift education policy focus around the world, including in Australia, from standardisation and educational segregation to equity and inclusion,” Piccoli says.

Sahlberg is looking forward to growing professionally together with colleagues and students at UNSW.

“I am very excited about this opportunity to be part of the UNSW community,” he says.

“Australia is one of the leading education systems in the world and the opportunity to enhance equity of education here through research and using the expertise of UNSW is an opportunity not to be missed.”

Sahlberg is a recipient of the 2012 Education Award in Finland, the 2014 Robert Owen Award in Scotland, the 2016 Lego Prize, and Rockefeller Foundation Bellagio Resident Fellowship in 2017.