Our Research Fellows

Dr Ahmed Elagali

Ahmed developed strong machine learning expertise throughout his undergraduate, Masters and PhD degrees. He has expertise in supervised and unsupervised statistical modelling, linear regression, maximum likelihood estimators, bootstrap sampling and Bayesian statistics, to mention a few. He primarily uses Python and R to perform statistical calculations, with seven years of experience in Python and one year of experience with R. Before joining MAP, in his previous PhD and postdoc positions, Ahmed managed an extremely large dataset (terabyte scale) and performed extensive analysis and visualizations of this data.

Ahmed is currently interested in applying his computational experience in medical imaging and research and joined the MAP team as a senior research scientist in August 2020. His role involves mapping the burden of P. falciparum and P. vivax malaria through spatiotemporal and statistical modelling infrastructure to predict malaria transmission and burden sub-nationally, nationally and globally and across a wide range of epidemiological settings.

Professor Eric Y Danquah

Eric Yirenkyi Danquah is a Professor of Genetics at the University of Ghana and an Adjunct Professor at the University of Western Australia. He is a recipient of the University of Ghana Distinguished Award for Meritorious Service and the 2018 Laureate, GCHERA World Agriculture Prize.


He is the Founding Director of the West Africa Centre for Crop Improvement. His research focuses on genetic diversity in crop plants and how diversity relates with performance. He is a Fellow of the Cambridge Philosophical Society and a member of Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) of the Bill and Melinda Gates-funded IITA-led AfricaYam Project.


He has attracted over USD 29 million for research and development projects and is the PI of the US$ 13.5 million World Bank Africa Centres of Excellence Project at WACCI. Professor Danquah has consulted for the Science Council of the CGIAR and participated in several international meetings the world over. He has over 100 refereed journal articles, 4 books, a book chapter and over 40 other publications to his credit. He holds a BSc. degree in Agriculture (Crop Science) from the University of Ghana and an MPhil degree in Plant Breeding and a PhD in Genetics from the University of Cambridge.

Dr Catie Gressier

Dr Catie Gressier is an Australian Research Council Research Fellow in the Anthropology and Sociology discipline group at the University of Western Australia (UWA). She has a PhD from UWA, is a former University of Melbourne McArthur Fellow, and sits on the Editorial Board of Anthropological Forum.  


Catie's research explores the ways in which the cultural values and practices of settler communities in southern Africa and Australia influence, and are influenced by, the particularities of their social and natural environments. Catie has published widely on human-animal relations, tourism, racial and national identities, the anthropology of food (meat in particular), and issues of health and illness. Her first book, At Home in the Okavango, explores emplacement and belonging among the white citizens of northwest Botswana, while her second book, Illness, Identity and Taboo among Australian Paleo Dieters, examines the body as a site through which neoliberal policies and practices are played out and contested. She is currently investigating the loss of genetic diversity in livestock and poultry and rare breed conservation.    

Dr Alexander E Davis

Alex is a Lecturer in Political Science and International Relations. He has a PhD from the University of Adelaide and is also a trained historian. His research focuses on India’s international politics, particularly the Indian Ocean, the Himalaya and the Anglosphere. Prior to joining UWA, he was a postdoctoral research fellow at the University of Johannesburg, South Africa and La Trobe University, Australia.


His research interests in Africa focuses on India’s engagements through its diaspora, particularly in South Africa, Mauritius and Kenya. He has published several articles on India’s relationship with South Africa, the India-Africa Forum Summit, and India’s relationship with the idea of Africa. While working in Johannesburg, he worked on IR’s disciplinary history in South Africa. Subsequently, He is a lead co-author of The Imperial Discipline: Race and the Founding of International Relations (Pluto Press, 2020).

Dr Erika Techera is a Professor of Law and member of the UWA Law School and Oceans Institute at The University of Western Australia (UWA). She was previously Director of the Oceans Institute and Dean of the UWA Faculty of Law.

Erika is an international and comparative environmental lawyer with particular emphasis on marine environmental governance. Her research explores a range of global and Indo-Pacific island issues including shark conservation and management, marine protected area governance, marine spatial planning and marine pollution, as well as law for the conservation and management of natural and cultural heritage associated with the sea.  Her most recent projects include transnational crime, technology and IUU fishing; decommissioning offshore infrastructure and its conversion to artificial reefs; and intangible marine heritage and its protection.

Dr Martin Barbetti

Martin is Professor in Plant Pathology and Mycology at the School of Agriculture and Environment at the University of Western Australia. He is recognised internationally for his many contributions in the crop protection arena. These focus on providing a better understanding of the epidemiology and management of a wide range of foliar and soilborne pathogens across a diverse array of broad-acre and horticultural crops.

Since December 2018, Martin leads the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR) project with Ethiopia, “Faba Bean in Ethiopia – Mitigating disease constraints to improve productivity and sustainability”. Faba bean is the most important legume crop in Ethiopia where pulses contribute 15% of the protein consumed. Faba Bean Gall (FBG) is a newly established disease which is already devastating the crop and threatens its ongoing cultivation, viability and existence in the highlands in Ethiopia since 2012. Relatively little is known about the disease and managing it is a priority of the government of Ethiopia.

Martin has more than four decades of experience researching diseases of oilseed Brassica, forage legume, crop legume and horticultural crops and extending practical findings for growers to improve management and reduce losses. He has been instrumental in the identification and understanding of many new host resistances to crop diseases. He passionately pursues their wider deployment as the most cost-effective mainstay for disease management in farming systems.


He has published >200 plant pathology research papers across a wide range of crop-pathogen combinations, mostly relating to diseases of canola, other oilseed Brassicas, forage and crop legumes, and similar numbers of disease extension and conference articles.

Dr Mariana T. Atkins

Dr Mariana Atkins is a Research Associate Professor at the Centre for Social Impact UWA, with a background in geography and planning. Her research focuses on the geography of ageing and how this is unfolding in cities across the world. She explores demographic trends and examines how population ageing is being addressed through policy and planning. Alongside this area of research, recent work has involved examining homelessness within the culturally and linguistically diverse (CaLD) community in Perth and examining innovative approaches to CaLD unemployment in Perth.


Dr Atkins is currently working on a study examining the demographic profile and socio-economic characteristics of the African diaspora in Western Australia. She is also collaborating with researchers on a project titled ‘Creating Smarter Cities in East Africa’. She has extensive research and planning experience in developed and developing countries and has worked in a number of sectors including town and transport planning and various not-for-profit organizations. She holds a PhD. in Geography and Planning from UWA, a Master’s degree in Social Policy and Planning in Developing Countries from the London School of Economics and a Bachelor’s degree in Geography from University College London (with the School of Oriental and African Studies). Mariana is a Fellow of the Royal Geographic Society.

Assoc. Professor Warrick van Zyl

Warrick is an Associate Professor at the University of Western Australia (UWA). He teaches accounting at the Business School and is currently the unit coordinator for the introductory accounting module in the MBA programme and the undergraduate accounting major coordinator. He has over 20 years of accounting and management experience covering a broad range of sectors and roles. This includes consulting at EY in Johannesburg, Sydney and Perth; the group financial manager of a South African investment bank; teaching at the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg and launching a start-up training business. Warrick completed his PhD at the University of Cape Town whilst conducting research on the accounting for employee stock options. He is a qualified Chartered Accountant and has a post-graduate diploma in company law.


Warrick’s research interests generally revolve around accounting standards and particular areas of interest include financial instruments, share-based payments, non-GAAP reporting measures and audit reports. He has recently completed a literature review on executive remuneration disclosure for the Australian Accounting Standards Board and is conducting research on the relationship between executive remuneration and non-GAAP reporting in a project funded by Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand. Along with a member of staff at the University of Cape Town, Warrick is currently developing a research project on the recent introduction of mandatory audit firm rotation in South Africa and the potential consequences for other jurisdictions.

Dr Sarah Prout Quicke

Sarah Prout Quicke is a human/development geographer. Her research examines population, development and social policy issues in Indigenous Australia and Africa, with particular focus on the relationship between migration and development. Her research has examined a range of different aspects of the relationship between Indigenous population mobility/ migration and social policy in Australia. She also has experience working on rural development initiatives in rural Kenya, and has undertaken research on mining and development in Ghana and Zambia. Sarah teaches in population, migration, and social geography, and has supervised HDR students examining development issues in Africa, and the resettlement of African refugees in Australia.

Professor Ben Smith

Professor Benjamin Smith is Associate Dean (Research) in the Faculty of Arts, Business, Law and Education at UWA. He is also the Professor of World Rock Art and continues to conduct research into rock art across Africa. He teaches into undergraduate archaeology and coordinates the Master of Heritage Studies. He is President of the International Committee on Rock Art of the International Council on Monuments and Sites and a former President of the PanAfrican Archaeological Association.


Prior to joining UWA he was the Director of the Rock Art Research Institute at the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, then the world’s leading specialist rock art institution. In this role he built the National Museum of South African Rock Art, ran a South African national rock art tourism project, drafted the Transformation Charter for South African Archaeology and the South African Policy for the Palaeosciences. His major research interests include theory and method in rock art and heritage studies, rock art dating, digital archiving in archaeology, rock art and identity, contextual approaches to the interpretation of meaning and motivation in rock art, and the role of rock art and heritage in modern societies. He has published extensively on all these topics.

Dr Tina Lavin

Dr Lavin, an NHMRC Research Fellow in the School of Population and Global Health at the University of Western Australia, is an early career researcher specialising in maternal, child and perinatal health with a focus on low resource settings. She holds a National Health and Medical Research Council Early Career Fellowship focused on improving maternal and child health in low-resource settings adopting a multi-country mixed-methods approach. Dr Lavin is the lead of Asia-Pacific Region Worldwide Universities Network for African Child Health in the Context of Migration and Displacement.


She is involved in several research projects based in Africa which target improving maternal and child health. These projects include reducing maternal deaths due to obstetric emergencies in Botswana; investigating the impact of global public health strategies to reduce maternal mortality and stillbirths in South Africa; improving care for preterm babies using Kangaroo Mother Care in South Africa; and several projects in Nigeria and Ghana investigating sexual and reproductive health of women who are internally displaced or refugees. The newest project led by Dr Lavin is funded through Australia-Africa Universities Network investigating food security and nutrition in internally displaced and refugee families in South Africa, Ghana and Nigeria. This project will establish a multidisciplinary collaborative network across Australia, Africa (Nigeria, Ghana, South Africa), USA and Canada to conduct a scoping review of literature, establish future research priorities, and to share current methods used to address food insecurity in refugee populations in sub-Sarahan Africa. Other project Investigators include Dr Mary Ani-Amponsah (University of Ghana), Dr Chizoma Ndikom (University of Ibadan), Dr Ellenore Meyer and Ms Marion Beeforth (University of Pretoria), Dr Mohammed Ali (Curtin University), Prof Kadambot Siddique (The UWA Institute for Agriculture, The University of Western Australia) Dr Bukola Salami (University of Alberta), Dr Lindiwe Sibeko (University of Massachusetts), Dr Carrington Shepherd (Telethon Kids Institute), and Dr Stella Iwuagwu (Centre for Right to Health).

Dr Lavin is also involved in evidence synthesis for World Health Organization guidelines development on sexual and reproductive health.

Dr Amin W. Mugera

Dr Mugera is Senior Lecturer at the School of Agriculture and Environment, University of Western Australia and the Theme Leader of Agribusiness Ecosystem at the UWA Institute of Agriculture. He holds a Ph.D. in Economics from Kansas State University (2009) and double Master of Science degrees in Agricultural Economics and Agribusiness from Michigan State University (2004).

As an applied economist, Dr Mugera's research interest is in the application of economics theory and tools to address problems in agriculture and agribusiness in both developing and developed countries. His research has investigated a wide range of issues cutting across productivity and profitability of farm enterprises groundwater allocation and efficiency use, consumer preference for local foods and animal welfare, strategic farm labor management and risk analysis, poverty and vulnerability to food poverty, agricultural technology adoption and its welfare effect, and impact of macroeconomic policies on agricultural productivity of sub-Saharan African countries among many others.  His current research interest in Africa includes the following: sustainable agricultural intensification and its welfare effects on smallholder producers, impetus for agribusiness entrepreneurship, and nexus between agricultural productivity and nutrition security.

Professor Valerie Verhasselt

Prof V. Verhasselt is a full time academic in the School of Molecular Science at University of Western Australia (UWA). She trained as a Medical Doctor (1992), pursued a specialisation in Internal Medicine (2000) and gained a PhD in Immunology (1999), from the Universite Libre de Bruxelles, ULB, Belgium. In 2008, she obtained a
tenured researcher position at Institut National de la Santé Et de la Recherche Médicale (INSERM, France) and founded a team on Immune Tolerance at the Hopital de l’Archet (Nice, France) in 2012.


In 2017, she was appointed the Larsson-Rosenquist Chair in Human Lactology at UWA, the first in the world, in recognition of her leading role in research on breastfeeding. The focus of the translational and multi-
disciplinary research of V. Verhasselt’s group is the understanding of mechanisms driving immune ontogeny and long-term health with a specific focus on the role of breastfeeding.

Prof Verhasselt  is currently collaborating with researchers in Africa, Uganda, on translational research aimed at understanding the mechanisms by which breastfeeding affects growth and gut mucosal immunity development. The key outcomes of this research are the identifications of risk, and protective, factors for stunting and enteric infections in LMIC.

Dr Shane Lavagna-Slater

Shane’s experience is a blend of financial services and higher education. In financial services, he has worked in consulting and managerial roles at numerous financial services providers. Within higher education, he has held positions such as head of department, learning experience manager and as part of the teaching faculties. Based in Perth Australia, Shane is a full time lecturer in Finance at the Business School within the Faculty of Arts, Business, Law and Education at The University of Western Australia.

His research interests are: microfinance, financial inclusion, provision of financial services to the bottom of the pyramid, online credit and lending, consumer lending and Peer-to-Peer Lending.

Dr Lieke van den Elsen

Dr Lieke van den Elsen completed her PhD degree in immunopharmacology at Utrecht University in the Netherlands. Her research focused on the prevention of allergic disease using fish oil in both human infants and animal models. In 2013 Lieke moved to Wellington, New Zealand to work as a Postdoctoral Fellow in the Malaghan Institute of Medical Research. Here she studied the role of the gut microbial composition and the beneficial effects of dietary components in early life for optimal immune development. This included models for vaccination, allergy and obesity.


In January 2018 Lieke joined the team of Professor Valérie Verhasselt at the University of Western Australia to work on the impact of colostrum on lifelong metabolic health.

Professor Shane Maloney is the Head of School of the University of Western Australia'a School of Human Sciences and a researcher within physiology. His principal research area is thermal physiology, focusing on the regulation of brain temperature and the consequences of strategies used by humans and animals to maintain thermal homeostasis. Shane obtained his BSc (Hons) and PhD from the University of New South Wales, spent three years as a post-doctoral fellow at the University of the Witwatersrand in South Arica, and returned to UNSW for two years before moving to UWA in 1999. He became Head of the School of Anatomy Physiology and Human Biology in 2014 and when that School and the School of Sports Science Exercise and Health were merged in 2017, he became the inaugural Head of the School of Human Sciences.

After completing his honours and PhD in Zoology on kidney function and thermal physiology in the emu, Shane spent three years at the University of Witwatersrand, where he remains an Honorary Professorial Fellow and is currently a Carnegie-Wits Diaspora Fellow. His research at Wits focused on brain temperature regulation in wild mammals. Since then his research has evolved, driven by climate change and the need to know more about how animals and humans respond to warmer climates. He strives to increase the fundamental knowledge of thermal physiology and biophysics.

Shamim Samani is a lecturer at CUSP where she completed her PhD in 2010. Her PhD thesis is titled: Muslim Women Responding to Globalisation: Australian and Kenyan Narratives’. The thesis makes a comparative analysis of how Muslim women in two different societies, Australia and Kenya (in East Africa) are responding to the economic and social change accelerated by globalisation. Shamim also has a Master’s degree in Ecologically Sustainable Development from Murdoch University and a Bachelor’s degree in Economics (Hons) from Kingston University in the United Kingdom. She is an Honorary Research Fellow at CMSS, University of Western Australia where she received a Research Development Award to conduct a study on gender diversity in the Western Australian workplace. She has worked in the public sector and been actively involved in the community sector as a volunteer working with humanitarian entrants, many of whom are conflict displaced ‘women at risk’ from affected parts of Africa. 

Professor Wallace Cowling is a canola breeder and researcher in The UWA Institute of Agriculture at The University of Western Australia. He has worked for both private and public plant breeding entities and has released 67 commercial lupin and canola varieties in his plant breeding career, including hybrids and hybrid components. As a researcher at The University of Western Australia, Professor Cowling has graduated 13 PhD students, taught plant breeding at an advanced undergraduate and postgraduate level, and published more than 100 research papers in international journals. Prof Cowling is a pioneer of the application of animal breeding technology to self-pollinating crops, and first introduced optimal contributions selection to crop breeding.

Prof Cowling graduated from The University of Melbourne with a first class honours degree in Agricultural Science (1975), followed by a PhD in Plant Pathology at the University of California Davis (1980). After two years on a CSIRO postdoctoral fellowship at Cornell University, he returned to Australia to take up lupin breeding at the Western Australian Department of Agriculture in 1982. In 1999, he moved to The University of Western Australia to begin canola breeding and research in new methods of crop breeding.

Farida Fozdar is Associate Professor in Sociology at The University of Western Australia. She teaches in the areas of migration and refugees, social research methods and cross cultural engagement. She is chair of the CaLD Diversity and Inclusion working group at UWA, and coordinator of the Migration, Mobilities and Belonging research cluster.

Farida’s research focuses on race relations and migrant settlement issues (including employment, housing, belonging and service delivery), racism, citizenship and nationalism, and refugees and asylum seekers. She works closely with migrant settlement agencies and community organisations. Farida’s research with African-background communities settling in Australia has explored issues of belonging and social exclusion, relations with Indigenous peoples, employment and training, and mental health. She has published widely, as well as authoring reports to government and research consultancies. Her latest projects are three edited collections on mixed race, a monograph on Australian identity, and several papers on postnationalism. 

Professor Andy Fourie holds a Bachelor's and Master'ss degrees from the University of the Witwatersrand in South Africa as well as a PhD from Imperial College, University of London. After a period in consulting practice with SRK in Johannesburg, he began an academic career, and he is currently at the University of Western Australia. His research is in the field of mitigating the impact of mining and municipal solid waste disposal. Andy has published over 200 articles, including more than 80 in international journals. He was recently appointed to the ICMM (International Council on Mining and Metals) Expert Review Panel for the ICMM's global review of tailings storage facility standards and critical controls. Professor Fourie provides consultation services to both mining companies and specialist consultancies in Australia and overseas.  He has recently contributed to a new series of guidelines for managing mine tailings in Australia. He is currently developing a document for the International Atomic Energy Association on barrier systems for retaining uranium mining waste.

Professor Tschakert is trained as a human-environment geographers and conducts research at the intersection of political ecology, climate change adaptation, social-ecological resilience, environmental justice, livelihood security, and participatory action research and learning within a development context. Her work explores structural drivers of vulnerability and marginalization, anticipatory learning, flexible planning, and intangible losses in the context of climate change, mainly in Senegal and Ghana. She is Coordinating Lead Author (CLA) on Chapter 5, Sustainable Development, Poverty Eradication and Reducing Inequalities on the IPCC Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5°C. Prior to that, she was CLA on Chapter 13, Livelihoods and Poverty, of the Fifth Assessment Report of the IPCC, Working Group II, and core writing team member for the Summary for Policy Makers, WGII, and the Synthesis Report (2014).

Prof. Tschakert’s current research interests are focused on understanding social losses from climate change, through the lens of what people value in their daily lives, what they see eroded or at risk from climate change, what they consider worth protecting, and how they make difficult trade-offs between the many things they value, some of which they will be forced to let go.

Dr de Vietri is the Principal of African Geopolitics, a socio-political advisory group that helps African governments and foreign companies in the natural resources industries work together on the African continent. A graduate geologist with 43 years of international experience, Max has been involved in finding and championing the evaluation of significant hydrocarbon and mineral discoveries, most especially in Africa.

Max is an “Officer of the National Order of Merit for the Islamic Republic of Mauritania”, an award granted by then-President Ely Mohamed Vall in 2005 in recognition of his efforts in promoting the mining and petroleum potential of Mauritania. In addition to Max's graduate degree in geology (1975), he has a Graduate Diploma in Business (1986), a Master in International Relations (2010), and doctorate in International Affairs (2015), evaluating the interaction of the establishment of a petroleum industry with the socio-political environment of Mauritania.

Associate Professor Jill Howieson is the Director of the UWA Mediation Clinic at the UWA Law School.  Jill teaches negotiation, mediation and dispute resolution at the Law School and works closely with the Centre for Mining, Energy and Natural Resources Law (CMENRL).  Jill has taught negotiation and mediation workshops in Cameroon, Ghana, Senegal, and Ethiopia on behalf of UNECA/AMDC, the Government of Cameroon, the University of Ghana and DFAT through IM4DC.  In addition, Jill has presented on capacity building, negotiation, mediation at many international conferences and workshops, including the G7 led workshop on Strengthening Knowledge-Sharing and Coordination of Negotiation Assistance for Developing Host Countries. 

Jill’s focus is on ensuring that training programs focus on capacity building for all participants. To enable this Jill teaches in a facilitative, participatory and interactive style with a focus on peer-to-peer learning. Jill has contributed to texts including, a Step-by-Step Guide for implementing the Africa Mining Vision at national levels (IDEP), the Negotiation Handbook “50 Advices to 50 pieces of advice to an official who is engaging in the negotiation of mining contracts” (IM4DC) and a Minerals Negotiation Training Manual (IM4DC).

Anas is currently a Professor of Environmental Engineering at The University of Western Australia where he leads a very successful research group (Aquatic Ecology and Ecosystem Studies) focused on the study of a range of topics in water resources (water and wastewater), ecological engineering and environmental engineering, with an emphasis on the development of innovative technologies. Anas was appointed Programme Chair for Environmental Engineering in 2017.

Anas is a founding member and past Executive Director of the $120M Cooperative Research Centre for Water Sensitive Cities (CRCWSC) established in 2012 (2012-2021). This role includes both operation and scientific leadership in this large multidisciplinary research centre, the coordination of the CRCWSC activities within UWA, and the management of relationships with Western Australian CRC industry partners.

Dr Judy Fisher is working with colleagues across Africa in her role as Chair of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature Ecosystems, Commission on Ecosystem Management Thematic Group Ecosystems and Invasive Species. In her role as Elected member of the Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) Multidisciplinary Expert Panel Judy works closely with elected representatives on this panel from across Africa. She also works with Experts across Africa as colleagues and co authors on the IPBES Africa Assessment and the IPBES Global Assessment on Land Degradation and Restoration. She is Co Chair of the IPBES Indigenous and Local Knowledge Task Force.

Judy's research interests include the understandings of indigenous peoples’ connections and knowledge of the land, bringing those understandings into practices including food security and food sovereignty, invasive species and their management.

In 2009 Cyril Grueter completed his PhD in biological anthropology and primatology at the University of Zurich in Switzerland. Upon completion of his PhD, he commenced work as a postdoctoral fellow at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany. His postdoc research included 18 months of research on the socioecology of the critically endangered mountain gorilla population in Rwanda. This project was done in collaboration with the Karisoke Research Center (Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund International). Cyril was subsequently took up a position at the School of Anatomy, Physiology and Human Biology (now School of Human Sciences). He currently holds a joint affiliation with the School of Biological Sciences.

In 2015, Cyril began a long-term research study on the chimpanzees of Nyungwe National Park in Rwanda as part of a larger initiative supported by the Rwandan Government and the University of Rwanda. This project has thus far included three UWA-enrolled postgraduate students and has examined the behavioural ecology and health of this previously largely unstudied population of chimpanzees.

Dr. Jade Lindley joined the UWA Law School in 2016 having previously worked in research within state and federal government including the Corruption and Crime Commission and the Australian Institute of Criminology. Jade periodically consults to various bodies of the United Nations and presented at the twenty-fifth session of the Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice in Vienna in 2016. Jade was awarded her PhD from the Australian National University, and was a visiting scholar at the University of Cambridge Institute of Criminology.

Jade is a criminologist whose areas of expertise include cross-border and marine-based crimes, and crime theory. Her research portfolio covers a broad range of criminal issues including regulation and diversion, particularly among marginalized groups and in environments facing complex issues. Jades research interests extend to transnational organized crime (including maritime piracy, fraud, and trafficking in weapons, persons, drugs and other contraband), terrorism and corruption. Jade has extensively researched Somali piracy to better understand the drivers for attacks to better inform the most appropriate response. Jade’s book, Somali Piracy: A Criminological Perspective (Routledge) deals with this.

Dr Leila Ben Mcharek completed her PhD within the discipline of Applied Social Sciences at the Sorbonne-Nouvelle University – Paris 3 (France). Her field of study is interdisciplinary, and draws on political science, computational linguistics, and communication studies.

Her research is currently focused on developments in North Africa, especially Tunisia, and on jihadism in North Africa mainly and also in the Sahel, including women jihadism. As a research fellow within the Centre for Muslim States and Societies at UWA, she has worked on the draft of a co-authored book on female radicalization in post Arab Spring Tunisia. She contributed to the drafting of a report on the attractiveness of Niger to new mining investment (UWA Centre for Exploration Targeting) and consulted to a United Nations body.

Since 2000 Leila has lectured and tutored in universities in North Africa and Australia in disciplines including Cultural Studies, Political Science and Anglophone Studies. As a recipient of the Fulbright Fellowship, she was a Public Policy Scholar at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars (Washington DC).

Professor Kadambot Siddique has 30 years’ experience in agricultural research, teaching and management in both Australia and overseas. He has developed a national and international reputation in agricultural science especially in the fields of crop physiology, production agronomy, farming systems, genetic resources, breeding research in cereal, grain and pasture legumes and oilseed crops. Professor Siddique’s publications are considered as key papers in the above fields and are widely cited. These publications include numerous highly cited papers on adaptation, physiology and genetics of crops to dryland environments.


Professor Siddique has conducted research on adaptation of crops to water deficits and the phenological, morphological, physiological, biochemical and genetic traits that enable crops to cope with various abiotic stresses. As a result of Professor Siddique’s personal research and with others with whom he collaborates, Australia has become one of the major grain legume exporting nations in the world. His pioneering research on chickpea has contributed enormously to the Australian chickpea industry which is currently valued at more than $600 million per annum.

Professor Graeme Martin has a degree in Agricultural Science and a PhD from The University of Western Australia (UWA). After graduating, he worked for 2 years in France and 3 years in Scotland, and then returned to WA to work at CSIRO and UWA. For 40 years, he has studied the way the brain controls reproduction in farm animals. Recently, however, he has focused on broader issues, establishing the framework of ‘clean, green and ethical livestock management’ for UWA’s teaching and research, and leading ‘UWA Future Farm 2050’ (FF2050), a major international project that confronts the greatest issue facing humanity – the need to feed the people without destroying the planet. FF2050 is part of the WUN Global Farm Platform (see doi: 10.1038/507032a), into which we have now welcomed partners in Africa.

In addition, Graeme is committed to science communication (scientist to scientist, and scientist to industry and community). For 20 years, he has been teaching it in undergraduate courses and in postgraduate workshops in Australia, Mexico, China, the UK, Spain. Reflecting his passion for outreach, his own research has been featured at least 200 times in mass media.

Sven is an archaeologist specialising in rock art, graffiti, heritage politics, Indigenous knowledge, intellectual property issues, landscape, creolisation & cross-cultural contact, monuments, origins, and understandings of time and has directed research in Australia, Botswana, Namibia, and South Africa.

In terms of intellectual arc, Sven studied for his BA and BA Honours at the University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa (1988-1992). He then worked as the Head of the Rock Art Department at National Museum in Bloemfontein (1994-2002) before reading for an MA and PhD at UC Berkeley in California (2002-2006; PhD conferred 2008). While studying there Sven also taught Ancient African History at San Quentin Prison outside San Francisco. He returned to South Africa as a Senior Lecturer at the University of Pretoria’s Department of Anthropology & Archaeology (2006-2011) before becoming Curator of Archaeology at Iziko South African Museum (2011-2013). On 1 July 2013 he joined the Centre for Rock Art Research + Management at the University of Western Australia.

Chris is a development economist specialising in migration and development. Chris has a PhD in Economics from the University of Nottingham during which time he held a Royal Economic Society Junior Fellowship. Prior to joining UWA, Chris worked as a Research Officer at the International Migration Institute at the University of Oxford, where he also held a William Golding Fellowship at Brasenose College. Before undertaking his PhD, Chris worked as an ODI Fellow in the Ministry of Trade and Industry in Sierra Leone.

Chris’ current research on Africa includes a study examining urbanization in South Africa following the abolition of the Pass Laws and the links between climate and migration across the continent.

Dr Nikola Pijovic has a PhD from the Australian National University on Australia’s engagement with Africa. He has published academic articles and media pieces on Australia and Africa, and has provided official submissions to Australian Parliamentary Inquiries on engagement with Africa. He has also researched and published on Somaliland, Somalia, and Al-Shabaab.

Nikola's research interests focus on Australia’s engagement with Africa, as well as African politics, statebuilding, terrorism, and Africa in the Indo-Pacific. His book, Australia and Africa. A New Friend from the South?, will be published by Palgrave Macmillan in 2019, and is a unique and first-ever examination of Australia’s historical and contemporary engagement with Africa. Other research interests include Somaliland’s international recognition, terrorism in the Horn of Africa (AL-Shabaab in particular), post-colonial statehood in Africa, and Africa’s role in the Indo-Pacific.

Dr Nicolas Thébaud is a geologist and has been working in the School of Earth Sciences at UWA for over ten years.  He have a broad range of expertise in geosciences that he has developed both nationally and internationally with core training in structural geology and geochronology.


Nicolas' research has been focused on tectonic processes, their petrological and geochemical impacts, and their controls on the formation of ore deposits. His work involves collaborative research and he has a strong track record in conducting national and international applied research projects.

Professor Dirk Zeller has a background in tropical marine biology and fisheries ecology from James Cook University, Australia. Dirk has professional interests in global marine conservation, fisheries and sustainability, as well as strategic and global policy developments, resource economics and coral reef ecology. Prior to joining the University of Western Australia in 2017, he was Senior Scientist and Executive Director of the Sea Around Us – Global at the University of British Columbia (UBC) in Vancouver, Canada. He now leads the Sea Around Us – Indian Ocean at UWA which focuses increased attention on Indian Ocean Rim countries and ocean basin scale research on fisheries in an ecosystem setting.

He leads research on the impacts of fishing on marine ecosystems at the large spatial scale, including reconstruction of historical fisheries time series data, as well as investigations on strategic ocean governance, fisheries policy and economics.

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