Professor Coats attended Melbourne Grammar School and studied at Oxford and Cambridge. He has a higher doctorates from Oxford (DM) and Imperial (DSc.). Professor Coats was appointed Viscount Royston Professor of Cardiology at Imperial College in 1996 and Director of Cardiology and Associate Medical Director of the Royal Brompton and Harefield NHS trust. Professor Coats was appointed Dean of Medicine at the University of Sydney in 2002, and subsequently Deputy Vice-Chancellor. Professor Coats was most recently CEO of the Norwich Research Park, the UK's oldest and largest research and innovation park.
Professor Coats research interests are in chronic heart failure, hypertension, and organizational behaviour. Professor Coats has a MBA from London Business School, is a Diplomate and Fellow of the Australian Institute of Company Directors and member of the UK Institute of Directors. He has over 60 board years of experience in the biotechnology, education and research sectors.