Early life and education
He was born in Wagga Wagga in 1956. He received a BSc from the University of New South Wales (1977), an MSc from Macquarie University, Sydney (1981), and a Ph.D. from the State University of New York (1987).
He worked as a consultant ecologist and research scientist in Australia, the United States and Switzerland during the 1980s before joining the University of Melbourne in 1990.
He has received research grants from the Australian Research Council, government agencies, industry and private foundations. He has published four authored books, two edited books, over 140 research papers, and more than 50 reviewed reports and commentaries.
He helped to establish the University's Office for Environmental Programs, which offers a cross-Faculty environmental master's degree and now has over 300 students.
Burgman works on ecological modelling, conservation biology and risk assessment. His research has included models of a broad range of species including giant kelp, orange-bellied parrots, Leadbeater's possums, bandicoots, and banksias in a range of settings including marine fisheries, forestry, irrigation, electrical power utilities, mining, and national park planning.
He was the winner of the 2005 Eureka Prize for Biodiversity Research.
His most recent book is Risks and decisions for conservation and environmental management, which appeared through Cambridge University Press in 2005.