In 2003, Professor Hickie was appointed as the inaugural executive director of the flagship Brain and Mind Centre (formally BMRI) at The University of Sydney. Since then he has overseen its development as a major hub in translational neuroscience and clinical psychiatry and was appointed as the Co-Director, Health and Policy in 2015.
Prior to this, in October 2000 he was appointed as the inaugural CEO of beyondblue: the Australian national depression initiative and from 2003-06 served as its Clinical Advisor. In 2006, Professor Hickie received the Australian Honours Award of Member (AM) in the General Division; for services to medicine in the development of key national mental health initiatives and general practice services in both the public and non-government sectors. From 2006 he was a founding member of Headspace: the National Youth Mental Health Foundation. In 2007, Professor Hickie was elected as a Fellow of the Academy of the Social Sciences in Australia. From 2007-12, Professor Hickie was one of the first round of NHMRC Australian Research Fellows, recognising excellence in Australian Medical Research. From 2008-2010, he was appointed to the Federal Health Minister’s National Advisory Council on Mental Health and then in 2010 to 2011, the Federal Ministers Mental Health Expert Advisory Group. In 2015 he became a fellow of the new Australian Academy of Health and Medical Sciences. From 2012, Professor Hickie was appointed as one of Australia's first National Mental Health Commissioners and was reappointed to a second term in that role in 2014, to oversee enhanced accountability for mental health reform in Australia.
Professor Hickie’s research, clinical and health services development work focus on neurobiological and clinical aspects of the major mood disorders. Additionally his work supports expansion of population-based mental health research, enhanced primary and secondary care mental health services (particularly focused on evidence-based early interventions for young people with anxiety and mood disorders and development of international mental health strategies