Education & Scholarly Achievements

Stephen’s scholarly career in a nutshell

Stephen is a specialist obstetrician who leads an internationally recognised research team, the Translational Obstetrics Group. He is dually trained as clinician and a scientist.

His research ambition is to identify new treatments and diagnostics to make pregnancy safer for women and for their precious unborn passengers.

He was appointed as an Associate Professor with the University of Melbourne in 2011 and started working at the Mercy Hospital from then on. There, his research team flourished rapidly and by 2014, Stephen was appointed as a full Academic Professor at the age of 39. There are perhaps very few who have reached this academic rank prior to age 40 in any field of research.

He is now a co-director of Mercy Perinatal which aspires to be a leading international perinatal centre (see affliations).

He currently leads a large research program with international influence.
The core group - The Translational Obstetrics Group – is a dedicated team of 15-20 researchers based at Mercy Hospital for Women. In addition, he directly supervises researchers running clinical trials in New Zealand and South Africa. He collaborates with scientists all over the world, from Cambridge to Santiago, Auckland to Edinburgh (see international engagement).

A lead role in educating medical students, doctors and midwives for over a decade.

At Mercy Hospital for Women, Prof Tong teaches trainee obstetricians.
He teaches them the finer points of pregnancy care: such as looking after women in labour, those diagnosed with risky complications, and how to safely perform forceps deliveries and caesarean sections.

As part of his role as co-director of Mercy Perinatal, he works with a team that runs major national clinical conferences. Attended by specialists, Gps and midwives, delegates descend into Melbourne from across Australia.

Their flagship conference is the annual Global Obstetrics Update (GOU).
The very top international academics come from across the world to Melbourne, to teach Australian clinicians and midwives. For many years running, GOU has sold out months ahead of time.

Giving back to the scientific community

Since 2010, Stephen has delivered over 50 invited presentations at major scientific meetings across Australia and the across the world (such as Washington, Detroit, Sao Paulo, Santiago, Edinburgh, Munich, Auckland, South Africa and Amsterdam).

Since 2009, Stephen has been repeatedly invited to serve on the NHMRC Grant Review Panel. This panel of experts selected by the NHMRC meet in Canberra and is charged with choosing which major research grants should be funded. These grants are submitted by research teams from across Australia where on average, each team requests around half to million dollars.

He has been asked by many Universities around the world to assess other people’s promotion applications to become a professor, and he has been invited to assess major grant applications for various funding bodies based in UK/US/Europe and Asia.

Other Academic Achievements

He has published over 140 papers - over 80 in the past five years alone. Many of his scientific papers he has authored have been published in prestigious international ‘interdisciplinary’ scientific journals (e.g. Hypertension, BMC Medicine, eBioMedicine), very high impact journals (Nature, The Lancet and British Medical Journal) and the best international obstetrics journals (Obstetrics and Gynecology, The American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology).

Since 2010, he has been awarded 12 National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) project grants, six as the principle investigator. Their combined worth is five million dollars and they fund his team’s ongoing efforts to make pregnancy safer. One of these was selected by NHMRC as one of the ‘10 best project grants in 2015’.

He has received three NHMRC Achievement Awards (2007, 2012, and 2017). These are highly prestigious, given to those with the highest ranked applications in Australia for major research grants. Only around 20 are awarded every year.

One of his proudest achievements is his record of mentorship – training academics of the future, then guiding them through their first steps in their careers. He and his team has arguably trained the most obstetricians undertaking PhD in Australia. Many have gone on to successful academic careers. He also has a strong role in mentoring highly talented scientists.


Prof. Stephen Tong
Obstetrics and Gynaecology

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