Scott Brenton was educated at the University of Queensland, the University of Copenhagen and the Australian National University. Prior to his appointment at the University of Melbourne, he taught social policy and public sector management at the ANU, receiving a teaching award from the College of Asia and the Pacific. He contributed to several ARC-funded projects, including the Parliamentary Accountability Project, the Democratic Audit of Australia and Strengthening Parliamentary Institutions. He was also a founding member of the Social Policy Action Research Centre Network.
In 2006, Scott was invited to give a keynote address at Queensland's Parliament House on 'Public perceptions of politicians: What the research reveals'. He was awarded the Australian Parliamentary Fellowship in 2009, working at Parliament House in Canberra and a producing a commissioned research monograph for the Joint Standing Committee on the Parliamentary Library. Following the 2010 federal election, Scott was invited to deliver a nationally televised Senate Occasional Lecture at Parliament House on 'Minority Government: Is the House of Representatives Finally Catching up with the Senate?'. In 2011, he gave the international keynote address at a conference for New Zealand public servants in Wellington on 'Blueprint for Reform – Is Australia ahead of the game?'.
From 2011 to 2012, Scott served as the Director of the Master of Public Policy and Management program. In 2013, he will be a Visiting Fellow at the University of Gothenburg and will serve as the co-book review editor for the Australian Journal of Public Administration.