Professor Barnett is Chair in Metallurgy at Deakin University, based in the Institute for Frontier Materials. He began his career in industry as a trainee metallurgist with BHP Steel. This was followed by a PhD, funded by BHP Steel.
He joined Deakin University in 1999 and formed a light metals research team to complement the existing strength in steel. He has developed the group into a world recognised team in wrought alloys. He now leads a research group of 18, solving problems in metal microstructure science (physical metallurgy).
Prof Barnett has worked on and managed the demands of many collaborative end-user focused projects. His research interests include designing the microstructure of new metal alloys to give enhanced properties; and wear resistant steels.