As an experimental psychologist interested in applied problems Neil Brewer has meandered through a number of research areas. His PhD at the University of Adelaide was concerned with processing speed and intelligence. In postdoctoral research, also at Adelaide, he worked on psychological factors associated with road traffic accidents. For the next decade he continued to pursue his interest in processing speed at the Institute of Special Education in Melbourne, as well as developing interests in instruction for people with developmental disabilities. Then he worked briefly as a research scientist at the Australian National Police Research Unit before taking up an academic position in (organisational!) psychology in the early 1990s at Flinders University in Adelaide. In 2018 old age etc got the better of him and he retired, taking up an Emeritus professorial appointment to continue his work on his ARC funded research projects.

Over the years his research contributions have resulted in:

  • appointment as member of Expert Panel for the Systemic Inquiry into Eyewitness Identification Evidence conducted by the Criminal Cases Review Commission–New Zealand  (2024-25)
  • award of Fellow status in the (International) Association of Psychological Science, in recognition of sustained outstanding contributions to the advancement of psychological science
  • election as Fellow to the Academy of the Social Sciences in Australia
  • appointment as Matthew Flinders Distinguished Professor of Psychology at Flinders University
  • appointment as Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Experimental Psychology: Applied, the first Australian to be appointed as Editor of one of the American Psychological Association’s journals
  • editorial board member of the major international refereed journals covering psychology-law research, including journals such as Law and Human Behavior, Psychology Public Policy and Law, Journal of Applied Research in Memory and Cognition, Legal and Criminological Psychology, Applied Cognitive Psychology 
  • editorial board member for the Sage Handbook of Human Memory, Sage Encyclopedia of Psychology and Law, American Journal of Mental Retardation, Australia & New Zealand Journal of Developmental Disabilities
  • scientific reviewer for over 50 international journals & 12 international research funding agencies
  • election to the International Board of Governors, Society for Applied Research in Memory and Cognition (SARMAC) 2008-12 & 2018-22
  • honorary Visiting Professor appointments at a number of overseas universities
  • a Sir Maurice Byers Research Fellowship from the NSW Police Service and a Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst (DAAD) Visiting Research Fellowship
  • appointment to the College of Experts, Social, Behavioural and Economic Sciences Panel of the Australian Research Council (2006-08)
  • Selection Advisory Committee for Future Fellowships, Australian Research Council (2010)
  • Peer Review College, Economic & Social Research Council (UK, 2011)

His teaching contributions have also been recognised, through:

  • A Vice-Chancellor's Award for Excellence in Teaching
  • Flinders University nomination for the Australian Awards for University Teaching
  • A Committee on Australian University Teaching (CAUT) nomination for exemplary teaching practice
  • In a moment of weakness he also served as Dean/Head of the School of Psychology at Flinders University for around 10 years between 2000 and 2013.