Prior to his appointment as Vice-Chancellor in 2004, Professor Alan Robson was Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Provost of The University of Western Australia from 1993. He retired from his position as Vice Chancellor in 2012. He has also held the positions of Foundation Director of the Cooperative Research Centre for Legumes in Mediterranean Agriculture (CLIMA), Dean of the Faculty of Agriculture, Head of the School of Agriculture and Professor of Agriculture (Soil Science) at The University of Western Australia.
Professor Robson was Chair of the Group of Eight (2007-2010), Deputy Chair of the Council of the National Library (1998-2005), Deputy Chair of Universities Australia (2009-2011), a member of the Western Australian Science Council (2003-2009), and the CSIRO Board (2003-2008).
Professor Robson was Foundation Chair of the Grain Legumes Research Council, Deputy Chair Research Grants Committee of the Australian Research Council and a Member of the Committee for University Training and Staff Development (1998-1999), the Australian Teaching and Learning Committee (2000-2004) and the Board of Directors of the Australian Universities Quality Agency.
In 2001 Professor Robson chaired the Ministerial Taskforce on Structures, Services and Resources Supporting Government Schools. In 1989, Alan Robson was a member of a three person committee to review agricultural and related education in Australia. He has also been a member of review panels in Denmark, India and Canada.
In 1987, Professor Robson was elected as a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering. Subsequently he was awarded the Australian Medal of Agricultural Science. In 2003, Professor Robson was made a Member of the Order of Australia, and awarded a Centenary Medal and in 2013 was made an Officer of the Order of Australia. In 2009, Professor Robson was made a Citizen of Western Australia.