Our Team

 

 
 
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Dr Sebastian Thomas

Dr Sebastian Thomas is a transdisciplinary researcher with a background in climate strategy, environmental management, and sustainability economics and policy. His work examines human-nature relations – the interconnected biophysical, economic, social, and policy dynamics of sustainability innovations, climate governance, and environmental governance. In the context of global change issues – including technology, climate and environment, new economic forces, social movements and conflicts, and resource constraints – he investigates how communities can connect to global economic and policy frameworks to achieve resilient and prosperous sustainability outcomes. His research interests include vulnerability and resilience, ‘blue carbon’ in coastal ecosystems and its role in sustainable development, ocean governance, energy transitions, and the role of educational innovation in adapting to global challenges. Dr Thomas is a lecturer in the Office for Environmental Programs, and affiliated with the Australia-Indonesia Centre, the Australian-German Climate and Energy College , the EU Centre for Shared Complex Challenges, and the School of Ecosystem and Forest Sciences. He has extensive experience working in the Asia-Pacific as a business leader and research scientist.

Blog posts: Are communities the answer to our renewable energy needs?


PhD Candidates

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Carolina Contreras

Project: Global environmental governance, traditional ecological knowledge and blue carbon

Carolina is a first-year PhD candidate at the University of Melbourne. She received a master’s degree in Environment from the University of Melbourne and a master’s degree in Social-environmental Studies from Facultad Latinoamericana de Ciencias Sociales (Quito, Ecuador). Carolina has an International Relations background with over five years of experience in the field. She is interested in coastal areas, nature-based tourism, traditional environmental knowledge, and global environmental governance.
 
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anita talberg

Project: Anticipatory governance of geoengineering

Anita has a Bachelor of Engineering and a Masters of Climate Change, both from the Australian National University. She's based at the University of Melbourne’s Australian-German Climate and Energy College where she's undertaking a PhD on the use of scenarios for anticipatory governance of climate engineering. Anita's interest areas are climate and energy policy, and she has nine years of experience in the public and private sectors in research and in communications.
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Kieran Sullivan

Project: The role of community-owned renewable energy in Australia's transition to a low-carbon future.

Blog posts: The Journey of climate entrepreneurshipEU Centre PostGrad research weekend

Kieran has completed a Bachelor of Engineering (Chemical) at The University of Queensland, and a Master of Energy Studies jointly awarded by the University of Queensland, the University of Newcastle, and the University of Western Australia. His Master’s thesis included two distinct but related studies; an examination of the changing dynamics of the Queensland electricity sector under the influence of residential solar photovoltaics, and the evolution of strategic management theory in light of the global sustainability imperative. He has also spent 3 years as a professional engineer working in project management and delivery roles throughout Australia.
 

Masters Research Students

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Linh Nguyen

Project: Livelihood pathways through community-scale renewable energy in West Java, Indonesia

Linh is currently studying a Masters of Environment with specialisation in Energy Efficiency. After working in the accounting profession for two years, she decided to return to academia and pursue her dream of studying the environment. Her main interest lies in the renewable energy sector and the economics of the current energy markets. Occasionally, she also dabbles in politics with the hope to understand the forces that dominate the national and international policies surrounding climate change and other environmental issues.

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RICHARD PROUDLOVE

Project: Factors that influence willingness to participate in a community energy project.

Blog posts: The Great Barrier Reef is dying. Is it time to engineer the climate?; Is tomorrow likely to be The Day After Tomorrow?; Will “Johnny Cabs” help curb transport emissions?

After more than 20 years consulting as an engineer and information technology specialist, Richard is now back in academia, studying a Masters of Environment. Interested in energy transitions, particularly the role of sustainable energy solutions in remote communities and developing countries, his research is currently focused on community energy projects.
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Hexing yang

Project: Recycling local waste as substrates for edible mushroom cultivation in the context of "Blue economy"

Hexing has completed a Bachelor of Science (Pharmacy) at Shanghai Jiaotong University in 2011. After four years' experience as a lab specialist in an ecotoxicology lab based in Shanghai, she decided to go for further studies. Currently, she is studying in the Environmental Science stream of the Master of Environment and expected to graduate in 2018. Her interests lie in combining environmental science with sustainability, utilising natural science research methods to resolve sustainability issues.
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Rini widayanti

Project: Capturing Blue Carbon Ecosystems for Improving Social-Ecological System Resilience and Sustainable Development

Rini has 12 years working experience in marine, coastal and small island management, particularly involved in policymaking processes, strategic planning, and training programs. She is currently specialising in the Climate Change stream of the Master of Environment. Her research aims to analyse the socio-ecological system of Morotai Island, North Maluku Province Indonesia and contribute to the resilience of marine and coastal ecosystems. An economic valuation of blue carbon ecosystem services could benefit for finding potential climate finances and enable community to participate in sustaining their economic development.
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OLI MORAES

Project: Blue-carbon in Fijian Locally Managed Marine Areas (FLMMAs) and the subsequent sustainability and resilience outcomes for communities and ecosystems.

Oli was born on the Brasilian island of Floríanopolis to a Brasilian father and Australian mother and grew up in the outer eastern suburbs of Melbourne. Oli has a Ba of Arts and Science from Monash University and since has lived in Johannesburg, Rio de Janeiro and Yosemite National Park (California) where he has worked and volunteered in community development, conservation and research initiatives. Oli currently works part time at Climate for Change and volunteers for a number of other climate and conservation organisations. He is currently in his second year of the Master of Environment where he has focused on both climate change mitigation and adaptation.
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RYAN COOK

Project: Strategic financial tools for blue carbon

Ryan has nearly a decade of working in the financial sector in Australia – including with the ‘Big Four’ banks. With a Bachelor of Agribusiness and Diploma in Sustainability, Ryan is interested in engaging the financial sector and broader community on issues of CSR/ESG, shared value, and responsible business.
 
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Amélie Uhrig

Project: Synergies and conflicts between social forestry and REDD+ in Indonesia; and possible political implications for forest-dependent communities

Amélie is an exchange research student from the University of Freiburg, Germany and is writing her master thesis at the University of Melbourne. She has a Bachelor of Science in Geography, with the minor Ethnology/Anthropology. She has worked as a consultant for the GIZ project PAKLIM in Jakarta, Indonesia, delivering policy advice on environment and climate change. She is currently in her final semester of her Master in Environmental Sciences, focusing on climate change, specifically forest-based climate change mitigation.
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orly vidal

Project: Analyzing climate change resilience of indigenous communities: frameworks to La Guajira, Colombia case study.

Orly has a Bachelor in Economics, and is in her third semester of the Master of Environment. She has seven years’ experience in both the public and private sectors coordinating development plans and projects in La Gualira, Colombia. Her project is intended to analyse the existing approaches to climate change resilience, particularly among indigenous communities in La Gualira, Colombia. The main findings can be used as instruments for the development of climate change adaptation strategies in the policy making scenario.
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RANDI MIRANDA

Project: Beyond Gender; Understanding Equity in Forest Governance through Intersectionality Perspective

Randi has an extensive working experience in project management and communication with some reputable international organisations in the development sector including the Heart of Borneo Project (HoBP), International Labour Organization (ILO), The Forest Trust and the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) Australia in Indonesia. Randi has also worked as a research assistant/consultant since 2011 for forestry-related research and social science in general. He is currently studying master of environment specialising in development.