Professor Neville Exon

BSc (Honours), Sydney University; Doctor of Natural Science, University of Kiel, Germany
Emeritus Professor, Research School of Earth Sciences, Australian National University
ANU College of Science
T: 02 6125 5131

Areas of expertise

  • Petroleum And Coal Geology 040309
  • Structural Geology 040312
  • Tectonics 040313
  • Marine Geoscience 040305
  • Geology 0403

Research interests

I have had a varied career in geoscience as a sedimentologist, both onshore and offshore, and marine geologist. My present research interests are in marine geology and geophysics in the broad sense, with a special interest in Australia's continental margin and marginal plateaus. 

My role at ANU until my retirement in 2017 was Program Scientist in charge of the Australian IODP Office (AIO), which is responsible for the day-to-day running of Australia-NZ IODP Consortium (ANZIC) affairs, and responsible both to the ANU Delegate and to the ANZIC Governing Council. My role involved science planning, science administration and science encouragement on behalf of the Australian, and to a lesser extent New Zealand, marine geoscience communities that are involved in IODP. The Research School of Earth Sciences hosts AIO.

IODP is the International Ocean Discovery Program, a major international research program to drill beneath the world’s ocean bed, taking continuous cores in order to solve global scientific problems. Australia and New Zealand are participants in this program, with Australia’s funding coming from the Australian Research Council, 13 universities, two government agencies and a marine geoscience peak body. For more information see and


I have had a varied, rewarding and very interesting career in geoscience as a sedimentologist and marine geologist, including over forty years in Geoscience Australia (GA) and its predecessors (AGSO and BMR), where I started as an onshore field geologist in 1963, mapping Queensland sedimentary basibn, moved into marine research in frontier areas in the 1970s, and completed my Government career in 2005 as a Senior Principal Research Scientist in charge of exploration and research in marine geology and geophysics. Since 1969, I have participated in 46 marine expeditions, many as Chief Scientist, on both Australian and foreign vessels. Two of those expeditions were part of the Ocean Drilling Program, and I was a lead author in the proposals for them and co-chief scientist on one. Those in the Australian marine jurisdiction were designed to geologically map poorly known areas in order to address tectonic problems, to assist petroleum assessment and to aid marine planners.

From 2005 to 2007, I continued my research in marine geoscience as a Visiting Fellow at ANU, and took a leading role in Australia’s successful bid to join ODP's successor, the Integrated Ocean Drilling Program (IODP) from 2008 to 2013. I also played a leading role in our successful bid for further funding for 2014 and 2015 for the renamed International Ocean Discovery Program (IODP).

From 2008 to 2017 I held a professorial position at the ANU Research School of Earth Sciences, working as Program Scientist for Australia and New Zealand in IODP (see Research Interests). I now have a position as a Emeritus Professor at RSES.

In 2018 I was awarded the W.R. Browne award for an outstanding career in geology in Australia by the Geological Society of Australia.

In 2019 I became a Member of the Order of Australia (AM) for 'significant service to marine geology, and to higher education'.

I have produced all or part of twelve scientific books or monographs, about 150 refereed scientific papers, and 45 major BMR-AGSO-GA Records (legacy reports available on line at Geoscience Australia).


Projects and Grants

Grants information is drawn from ARIES. To add or update Projects or Grants information please contact your College Research Office.

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Updated:  01 February 2023 / Responsible Officer:  Director (Research Services Division) / Page Contact:  Researchers