Our people

Our people

You can read the full list of profiles below, or choose a particular type of profile from the menu above.

The Australian-German College builds on a large team of people: supervisors, students, staff, steering committee members, advisory board members and funding partners.

The missing piece of the puzzle might just be you - if you are an enthusiastic potential PhD student, please do not hesitate to apply.

A/Prof Malte Meinshausen is the Director of the Australian-German College at The University of Melbourne and is affiliated with Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, Germany. He holds a Ph. D. in "Climate Science & Policy", a Diploma in "Environmental Sciences" from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, and an M.Sc. in "Environmental Change and Management" from the University of Oxford, UK. Before joining the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) in 2006, he was a Post-Doc at the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colorado. He has been contributing author to various chapters in the Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC AR4). Until May 2011, he was leading the PRIMAP ("Potsdam Real-Time Integrated Model for probabilistic Assessment of emission Path") research group at PIK before relocating to Melbourne. Since 2005, he is a scientific advisor to the German Environmental Ministry related to international climate change negotiations under the UNFCCC. Since 2014, he investigates methods to derive future climate targets for Australia in the context of a Future Fellow ARC project.

Katja holds a PhD in Physical Oceanography from the University of Hamburg, Germany, undertaken at the Federal and Maritime Agency. The last ten years she worked part-time (at GEOMAR, Germany and CSIRO, Australia) analysing observational and modelling hydrographic and atmospheric data focused on changes in sea level and its components. At the Australian-German College of Climate and Energy Transitions she tackles –and provides support to tackle– CMIP3/5-data regarding multi-model uncertainties for probabilistic climate change projections with MAGICC to understand future carbon budgets and emission implications – usually on Tuesday and Thursday.

Jacyl Shaw

As Acting Director and Director of Engagement, Jacyl oversees the creation and delivery of a suite of programs and activities to foster a culture of innovation at CCI and leads the engagement strategies for current and prospective partners in community, government and industry. Jacyl’s former roles at the University include senior international strategic advisor to the University’s Deputy Vice Chancellor (Global Engagement, Deputy Director of the Festival of Ideas in 2009 and 2011 and Strategic Adviser to the Director of the Australia India Institute and Director of Asialink Business & Community Partnerships. Jacyl is well known amongst University of Melbourne leaders and industry colleagues for her enthusiasm and tenacity as well as her strategic creativity to ‘boundary span’ and create new interdisciplinary, multi faculty ‘whole of university’ opportunities and benefits. In 2011 Jacyl was awarded the University of Melbourne’s Vice Chancellor’s Professional Staff Award for Engagement. In 2014 she completed her Masters of Enterprise at The University of Melbourne and joined the Board of Melbourne University Publishing. She is currently representing the University in the Committee for Melbourne’s Future Focus Leaders Program. Her other qualifications are a BA and LLB from the University of Melbourne and a LLM from Monash University.

Prof Dr Anders Levermann is Co-chair of Research Domain III, Sustainable Solutions, at Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research and Professor of the Dynamics of the Climate System at the Physics Institute of Potsdam University. Since 2010 he is a lead author of the chapter on sea-level change for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's Fifth Assessment Report. He is the head of PIK's flagship project TUMBLE, investigating the stability of the great ice sheets in Greenland and Antarctica, the Asian Monsoon and Atlantic overturning circulation. His project-related expertise includes physical dynamics of the climate system; instability in the climate and economic system; and non-linear dynamics of networks.

Wolfgang Lucht

Wolfgang Lucht is Co-Chair of the research domain "Earth System Analysis" at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research. Since 2009 he has been the Alexander von Humboldt Professor of Sustainability Science at Humboldt University, Berlin. His main areas of research are sustainability science; earth system analysis; biosphere transformations; landscapes, culture and symbols.

Professor David Karoly is an internationally recognised expert in climate change and climate variability, including greenhouse climate change, stratospheric ozone depletion and interannual climate variations due to El Niño-Southern Oscillation. He was heavily involved in preparation of the Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released in 2007, in several different roles. 

Professor Karoly is a member of the new Climate Change Authority in Australia. He is also a member of the Science Advisory Panel to the Australian Climate Commission, the Wentworth Group of Concerned Scientists, and the Joint Scientific Committee, which provides oversight of the World Climate Research Programme. 

Professor Karoly joined the School of Earth Sciences in May 2007 as an ARC Federation Fellow funded by the Australian government.   

Fiona Haines is Professor of Criminology at the University of Melbourne. Her research, which encompasses work on society/industry relationships including grievances and multinational enterprises, centres on white collar and corporate crime, globalisation and regulation. Her most recent book is Regulatory Transformations: Rethinking Economy Society Interactions, Hart Publishing, 2015, co-edited with Bettina Lange and Dania Thomas.

John Wiseman

John Wiseman is a Professorial Fellow with the Melbourne Sustainable Society Institute and with the School of Population and Global Health at the University of Melbourne. He is also a Research Fellow with the Centre for Policy Development, Sydney. John has worked in a wide range of public sector, academic and community sector settings including as Foundation Director of the McCaughey Centre, School of Population Health, University of Melbourne; Professor of Public Policy, Victoria University; and Assistant Director, Policy Development and Research, Victorian Department of Premier and Cabinet.  The major focus of his current work is on the social and political transformations needed to reduce the risks of runaway climate change and achieve a rapid transition to a just and resilient post carbon future. 

Professor Jon Barnett is not available for supervision

Jon is Professor and Australian Research Council Future Fellow in the School of Geography at Melbourne University. He is a political geographer who researches the impacts of and responses to environmental change on social systems in Australia, East Asia and the South Pacific. Jon is a Lead Author for the Fifth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (Working Group II, Ch 12), and he is co-editor of Global Environmental Change.    

Jurgen Kurths is Chair of the research domain Transciplinary Concepts and Methods at Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research and Professor of Nonlinear Dynamics at Humboldt University Berlin. His project-related expertise incudes time-series analysis and modelling of complex systems; complex synchronisation and its application in Earth Sciences; and complex networks. He has supervised to completion 60 PhD students, half of whom now have a Tenure Track position.

Mike Sandiford

Prof Mike Sandiford is an ARC Professorial Research Fellow studying tectonic activity within the Indo-Australian tectonic plate, particularly focussing on the factors that have shaped the landscape of Australia, and in our near northern neighbors such as Timor and Indonesia. His work on the thermal structure of the Australian crust provides an important framework for understanding the extraordinary abundance of Uranium in Australia, and has lead to the current upsurge of interest in geothermal energy exploration in South Australia.

Sandiford's work has been published in 132 peer-reviewed scientific papers and has involved supervision of 77 young researchers at Honours (52), PhD (12) and junior postdoc (13) level. Since 2000 his group has been awarded ~$4.0 million in ARC competitive grants (6xFellowship, 6xDiscovery, 1xLinkage). Sandiford was recipient of the Mawson Medal by the Australian Academy of Sciences in 2004 for ‘outstanding contributions to Australian Earth Science’, and has twice been awarded the Stillwell medal by the geological Society of Australia, for his published work.

Sandiford is currently an editor-in-chief of the international journal Tectonophysics. He is currently the chair of the Science advisory Framework for the NCRIS AuScope (with ~ 129 mill funding), and Interim Director of the Melbourne Energy Institute. He regularly contributes to the broader scientific debate through media appearances and public lectures.

Ottmar Edenhofer is Professor of the Economics of Climate Change (appointment together with the Michael Otto Stiftung) at the Technische Universität Berlin and Co-Chair of the Working Group III of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2007. He is Deputy Director and Chief Economist at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research and is currently leading Research Domain III - Sustainable Solutions - that focuses on research in the field of the Economics of Atmospheric Stabilisation. He is director of the newly founded Mercator Research Institute on Global Commons and Climate Change (MCC). He is member of the Science-Industry Cooperation, member of the Workgroup Climate, Energy and Environment within the German National Academy of Sciences Leopoldina,  and advises the World Bank as a member of the advisory committee of the Green Growth Knowledge Platform.

Dr Peter Christoff teaches and researches climate politics and policy in the Department of Resource Management and Geography. He is a member of the Victorian Ministerial Reference Council on Climate Change Adaptation, and member of the Board of the Australian Conservation Foundation. He was formerly a member of the (Victoria) Premier's Climate Change Reference Group, the Vice President of the Australian Conservation Foundation, and the Assistant Commissioner for the Environment (Victoria).

Prof Rayner's main research activities focus on the estimation of surface sources and sinks of CO2.
He uses satellite and in-situ measurements with models to quantify and understand the patterns and mechanisms of CO2 release and uptake with a focus on the tropics and Southern Hemisphere.
In 2002, Prof Rayner was awarded the Priestley Medal of the Australian Meteorological and Oceanographic Society, the major research award in this field within Australia.
Prof Rayner originally studied theoretical physics and mathematics at the University of Melbourne, Australia, where he completed a PhD in paleoclimate in1991.
After a brief foray into atmospheric dynamics he has spent the past two decades studying the carbon cycle at various scales and its interaction with the climate. He has concentrated on the application of statistical inference (going under various names such as inverse modeling or data assimilation) to problems in biogeochemistry.
Prof Rayner has also worked at the National Center for Atmospheric Research and Princeton University in the US, the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Organisation. Monash University in Australia and the Laboratory for the Science of Climate and the Environment in France. He currently holds an Australian Professorial Fellowship at the University of Melbourne.

Professor Green holds a Bachelor of Science in Landscape Architecture, Master of Landscape Architecture and an interdisciplinary Doctorate in landscape planning/design and environmental psychology. He is a landscape architect and a Fellow of the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA). From 2001 to 2006 he headed up the Faculty of Architecture Building and Planning's Landscape Architecture Program. In 2011-2012 he served as an executive member of the Melbourne Sustainable Society Institute (MSSI).

Prior to joining the University in 1999 he was with the Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute (AHURI). Prior to focusing on research he spent 12 years in landscape architectural practice, with projects in the United States, Mexico, South East Asia and Australia. His academic research is multidisciplinary and concerned with environment-behaviour issues related to land development and conservation, climate change and the health benefits associated with human contact with nature in urban settings. The design for the new Royal Melbourne Children's Hospital was based on a design framework he developed.

He is the author of Coastal Towns in Transition: Local Perceptions of Landscape Change (2010) and co-author of Towards Low Carbon Cities in China (forthcoming), The Green City: Sustainable Homes, Sustainable Suburbs (2005) and Design for Change (1985). His work has also appeared in various landscape architecture, urban planning and environmental psychology journals.   

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Richard is Professor and Director of the Primary Industries Climate Challenges Centre (www.piccc.org.au), a joint research initiative between the University of Melbourne and Agriculture Victoria. He is a science advisor to the Australian, New Zealand and UK governments, and the UN FAO and European Union, on climate change adaptation, mitigation and policy development in agriculture. His research focuses on profitable and sustainable livestock production systems, nitrogen cycling and loss in agricultural grazing systems, with a recent focus on carbon farming and options for livestock production systems to respond to a changing climate. Richard is also a network leader of the Global Research Alliance on Agricultural Greenhouse Gasses and member of the Greenhouse Gas and Animal Agriculture international science advisory committee.

Tansu Alpcan’s research involves applications of distributed decision making, game theory, communicaton and control to various security and resource allocation problems in networked and energy systems. 

A member of IEEE since 1998, he became a Senior Member in 2013 and has (co-) authored more than 100 journal and conference articles. Books include "Network Security: A Decision and Game Theoretic Approach" (Cambridge University Press) and "Mechanisms and Games for Dynamic Spectrum Allocation" (co-editor, CUP, 2014). 

He has worked as a senior research scientist in Deutsche Telekom Laboratories, Berlin, Germany and as assistant professor (Juniorprofessur) in Technical University Berlin. Tansu has joined the Dept. of Electrical and Electronic Engineering at The University of Melbourne in October 2011, where he is currently an Associate Professor.

Tansu received the B.S. degree in electrical engineering from Bogazici University, Istanbul, Turkey in 1998. He received the M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in electrical and computer engineering from University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) in 2001 and 2006, respectively. A Fulbright scholar in 1999 and best student paper awardee in IEEE Conf. on Control Applications in 2003, Tansu received the Robert T. Chien Research Award and Ross J. Martin Research Award from UIUC (2006).

Visit Tansu's website here

Robyn Eckersley

Robyn Eckersley was educated at the University of Western Australia, Cambridge University (UK) and the University of Tasmania, and taught political science at Monash University from 1992-2001 before joining the University of Melbourne in 2002. She has published widely in the fields of environmental politics, political theory and international relations, with a special focus on the ethics and governance of climate change, including in journals such as Political Studies, European Journal of International Relations, Review of International Studies, Ethics and International Affairs and Global Environmental Politics. Her book The Green State: Rethinking Democracy and Sovereignty (2004) won the Melbourne Woodward Medal in 2005 for the best research in Humanities and Social Sciences and was runner up in the International Studies Association’s Sprout Award for 2005 for the best book on Environmental Studies. She was a Visiting Professor at the Research Center for Global Welfare, The Graduate School of Humanities and Social Sciences, Chiba University in Japan in 2008, a Senior Visiting Fellow at the Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment, University of Oxford, from August 2009 to January 2010; and served as Arne Naess Chair in Global Justice and the Environment at the University of Oslo, November 2010 to January 2011. She was elected as Fellow of the Academy of the Social Sciences in Australia in 2007. She as also served as Chair of the Organising Committee of the Sixth Oceanic Conference on International Studies (OCIS VI), held at the University of Melbourne on 9-11 July 2014; Chair of the Oceanic Conference on International Studies Transition Committee and Co-convenor/Treasurer of the Australian Political Studies Association Environmental Policy and Politics Research Standing Group. She has served as Director of the Master of International Relations Program 2011-2012 and Chair of the Discipline of Political Science from 2008-2010, 2014 and second semester 2015.

Stefan Rahmstorf

Stefan Rahmstorf is Head of Earth System Analysis at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research. He has been Full Professor of Physics of the Oceans at Potsdam University since 2000. He is a Fellow of the American Geophysical Union and Honorary Fellow of the Univeristy of Wales/ Bangor. His main areas of expertise are future sea-level rise; statistics of the future evolution of climatic extreme events; and physical modelling of climatic tipping elements.

Yoshihisa Kashima

Yoshihisa Kashima is Professor of Psychology at Melbourne School of Psychological Sciences, The University of Melbourne. He researches on cultural dynamics – stability and change of culture over time. To this end, he has written more than 100 journal articles and 30 book chapters on topics including theories and metatheories of culture and psychology, neural network modelling of social cognitive processes, social reproduction of cultural representations, as well as cross-cultural differences in social cognition, self, and language use. More recently, his research has focused on the extension and application of basic theorizing about cultural dynamics to sustainability and societal transformation.  His publications have appeared in journals such as SciencePsychological ReviewJournal of Personality and Social PsychologyPersonality and Social Psychology Review, and Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin. He is formerly an editor of Asian Journal of Social Psychology, an associate editor of Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology, and an associate editor of Journal of Personality and Social Psychology: Attitudes and Social Cognition, and currently on the editorial boards of seven international journals. A recipient of a Gordon Allport Intergroup Relations Prize (Society for Psychological Studies of Social Issues) and a Misumi Award (Japanese Group Dynamics Association), he is a fellow of Association for Psychological Science (APS) and Society for Experimental Social Psychology (SESP) and currently serving as the President of the International Association for Cross-Cultural Psychology.

Professionally, after a season ski guiding in France in 2001-2 trying to convince guests of the importance of environmental awareness, Adam worked on media and climate issues in London from 2002 to 2005. In addition to organising events and representing the actions of business, government and non-governmental organisations at United Nations conferences, he assisted other organisations' strategic engagement with climate change. In the first year of his doctoral studies, Adam founded The Climate Consultancy to put into action the research he was undertaking. Adam is also the Chief Carbon Analyst and head of Carbon Policy and Development for the not-for-profit group, Greeenstar.org. Most recently he was a Research Fellow at ISIS, a Research Centreat the Sauder School of Business, University of British Columbia, Canada where he held a Pacific Institute for Climate Solutions Postdoctoral Fellowship.

Currently Adam is a Lecturer in Environment and Development at the University of Melbourne, Australia. He maintains Associate Fellow's positions at the Sauder School of Business, University of British Columbia, and the School of international Development, University of East Anglia. He is also the lead researcher and manager of the international Carbon Governance Project (CGP), focusing on low carbon business transformation. Adam has built this through collaboration development and fundraising, from organisations like the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office, since 2010. He also initiated and co-orindates the CGP international workshops - a collaboration between UBC, Oxford University and University of California at Berkeley - to explore with business and government, the pathways to a low carbon future and leads work on the use of mobile communication technologies for improving effectiveness of climate and development projects in the Pacific.

In addition to his work Adam is a keen skier and surfer, rows and loves select music from classic 70s rock to electronica and dubstep.

Andrey Granopolski

Dr Andrey Ganopolski is a senior research scientist at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK), specialising in earth-system dynamics, the global carbon cycle, and modelling past and future climate change. He won the American Meteorological Society Editor's Award in 2010 and the European Geosciences Union Milutin Milankovic Medal in 2011. He is a lead author of the Intergovernmental Panel Climate Change's Fifth Assessment Report. His current PIK projects include MegaRun: Simulation and Understanding of Glacial Cycles and NEXT: Next Generation Earth System Models.

Brendan Gleeson joined Melbourne University in January 2012 as Professor of Urban Policy Studies and then took on the directorship of the Melbourne Sustainable Society Institute in early 2013. Professor Gleeson came from the position of Deputy Director of the National University of Ireland’s National Institute for Regional and Spatial Analysis. Prior to that he set up the Urban Research Program at Griffith University and was its inaugural Director. Professor Gleeson has made significant scholarly contributions in urban and social policy, environmental theory and policy, and is a regular commentator in newspapers, television and radio. He has qualifications in geography and urban planning, including a masters degree from the University of Southern California and a PhD from the University of Melbourne. Professor Gleeson is a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Social Sciences. He is the author or editor of twelve books, three of which have won national and international prizes, and numerous journal articles. His research interests include urban planning and governance, urban social policy, disability studies, and environmental theory and policy. His recent work has focused on socio-spatial analysis of suburbs, their vulnerability to oil shocks and the need for better public transport options. Gleeson was the inaugural recipient of the John Iremonger Award for Writing on Public Issues (Allen & Unwin Publishers) leading to the publication of his seminal book Australian Heartlands: Making Space for Hope in the Suburbs. His latest book is The Urban Condition (Routledge, 2014)

Hermann Lotze-Campen

Hermann Lotze-Campen is a Co-Chair of PIK Research Domain II "Climate Impacts and Vulnerabilities". He has developed the global land use model MAgPIE for assessments of the interplay between climate impacts, global food and bioenergy demand, agricultural land and water use, international trade, and the environment. Hermann studied Agricultural Sciences and Economics at the University of Kiel and the University of Reading (England), where he graduated in 1992 with a Master's degree in Agricultural Economics. For his doctoral studies he stayed in Kiel, at the University of Minnesota (USA) and at Humboldt University Berlin, where he received his Ph.D. in Agricultural Economics in 1998. In 1999 Hermann joined the InfoTerra business development team at Astrium, a European space company, where he worked on the commercial potential of satellite remote sensing for agricultural purposes. Since 2001 Hermann is a researcher at PIK.

Katja Frieler

Katja Frieler holds a Diploma in Mathematics of the University of Bielefeld and a Ph.D. in “Physics of the Atmosphere” of the University of Potsdam. As Ph.D. student she worked at the Alfred-Wegener-Institute for Polar and Marine Research (AWI, Potsdam) on chemical modelling of polar stratospheric ozone losses. Before joining the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) in July 2008 she was a Post-Doc at the Department of Biostatistics and Clinical Epidemiology, Charité, University Medicine Berlin.

She is the head of the PRIMAP group at PIK and leads the Inter-Sectoral Impact Model Intercomparison Project (ISI-MIP). Her research is focused on the development of impact emulators allowing for probabilistic projections of climate change impacts and changes in the occurrence of extreme events in terms of global mean temperature change.

Dr Lisa Palmer is a human geographer who teaches and researches on human-environment relations and indigenous approaches to environmental and social governance. Her research takes a critical ecological approach and is focused on south-east Asia (particularly Timor Leste) and indigenous Australia. 

Her doctoral research examined ideas and practices of 'nature' and 'place' in the making of Kakadu National Park, while her post-doctoral work investigated new approaches to treaty and agreement making between indigenous peoples and others in Australia and other settler states. In recent years she has concentrated her field research in Timor Leste examining the intersection of custom and modernity in the diverse governance approaches of this new nation state. She has published widely in geography, anthropology and multi-disciplinary journals and is the co-editor of two books (Settling with Indigenous Peoples (Federation Press, 2006) and Honour Among Nations? (MUP 2004)). 

Her new book, Water Politics and Spiritual Ecology: Custom, environmental governance and development (Routledge, 2015), is the culmination of a decade of ethnographic research in Timor Leste. It addresses a critical need for a sustained geographical and anthropological inquiry into the social issues of water governance. Exploring the ritual ecological practices, contexts and scales through which use, negotiation over and sharing of water occurs at the local level, the book shows the complex functioning and social, cultural, economic and environmental interdependencies of hydrological societies. It examines the difficulties local communities face in having their rights recognised and their efforts to maintain and assert control of their waterscapes in the face of rapidly changing water governance institutions.

She has also now published an online digital oral history archive called Kultura Timor ho Bee (Timorese Water Cultures) accessible at www.kulturatimorhobee.com  

 Louise Jeffery

Dr. Louise Jeffery is a Post-Doctoral researcher at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) in Germany where she leads the PRIMAP emissions module group. At PIK, Louise examines the pledges, rules, and agreements of the UN climate change negotiations, providing critique and assessment of their effectiveness. Her published work includes analysis of how mitigation burdens can be shared fairly among countries and assessments of the sufficiency of current climate action plans. Currently she is focussing on how policies and pledges in two major sectors - land-use and international aviation and shipping – contribute to meeting the long-term goals of the Paris Agreement.

Louise holds a Ph.D. in Earth and Environmental Sciences from the University of Michigan, where she explored the links between landscape development and long-term climate change in the Andes. Prior to that she studied natural sciences at the University of Cambridge.

Visiting Researcher

Matthias is a postdoctoral researcher at Potsdam-Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK). He received a Phd in Climate Physics from Potsdam University and PIK. He holds a M.Sc. in Physics from Free University Berlin.


He currently works on the Antarctic ice sheet, its flow dynamics and mass changes. Trying to better understand how the ocean influenced its past and will influence its future, he develops parametrizations for ice-ocean coupling and simulates the Antarctic ice sheet with the open-source Parallel Ice Sheet Model (http://www.pism-docs.org/wiki/doku.php). Matthias is interested in  simplified models for sea-level change to provide comprehensive, yet fast methods to project sea-level rise. He is also a developer of the MAGICC reduced-complexity climate model.

Dr Schofield is a lecturer for Climate System Science in the School of Earth sciences. Her recent research encompasses many areas of atmospheric chemistry, such as the Southern Hemisphere climate implications of Antarctic stratospheric ozone losses, climatic relevance of aerosol formation from the Great Barrier Reef and climate / radiation implications of aerosol and clouds over the Southern Ocean.

Roger has extensive experience in the fields of global carbon cycle, atmospheric chemistry and renewable energy system modelling.  He currently works on a electicial energy system model for Australia with the goal of optimising the pathway to a low carbon economy.  The model simulates power output from a broad range of technologies including wind, solar PV, solar CSP, hydro, wave and tidal, coal, gas geothermal amd biomass.  The model also simulates transmission flows and the electricity market so that a comprehensive costing of different mixes of technologies can be made.  The model is run in an optimisation loop such that many thousands of combinations can be tested so we can find the most cost effective system configuration.

Dr Sebastian Thomas is an interdisciplinary researcher with a background in climate strategy and environmental social science. His work examines human-nature relations – the interconnected economic, social, and policy dynamics of sustainability innovations, climate governance, and environmental management. Global change issues – including technology, climate and environment, new economic forces, social movements and conflicts, and resource constraints – present major challenges to traditional corporate cultures and governance models. At the same, these trends offer exceptional opportunities for innovation and transformation for resilient and sustainable future positioning and positive environmental and social outcomes.

Dr Thomas is a lecturer in the Office for Environmental Programs at the University of Melbourne, and affiliated with the Australia-Indonesia Centre, the Australia-Germany Climate-Energy College, and the School of Ecosystem and Forest Sciences. Prior to joining the University of Melbourne he was Education Program Manager at the International Energy Centre, coordinating the professional, interdisciplinary Master of Energy Studies, and lecturing on topics of energy policy, global change, and sustainability leadership. His research interests include vulnerability and resilience, ‘blue carbon’ in coastal ecosystems and its role in sustainable development, and the role of organizational culture and policy innovation in adapting to global challenges. Dr Thomas’ expertise crosses sustainability science, political ecology, management strategy, environmental economics, and social-ecological systems dynamics.


Craig Prebble is Executive Officer of the Melbourne Sustainable Society Institute. He is responsible for managing the Institute operations, enacting its strategic plan, and supporting projects in the sustainability research space. He studied comparative literature, cultural studies, and philosophy. Before joining the University of Melbourne, he worked in the overseas aid and development sector.

Adrian has extensive experience with developing international collaborations as a researcher, policy maker and program administrator. Adrian completed his PhD at James Cook University before leading several projects as a biologist for the Queensland Department of Primary Industries. He then joined the International Collaborations unit within the Queensland Department of the Premier and Cabinet, helping to establish a number of international agreements and programs in support of international research and collaboration. Adrian commenced in the role as International Research Coordinator at the University of Melbourne in 2010 and has since assisted faculty to establish a range of initiatives designed to improve access to leading international researchers and their respective expertise and infrastructure. Adrian is currently the Senior Advisor for International Research within the Chancellery (Research) at the University.




Anne is the College Manager at the Australian-German Climate and Energy College. Anne has a background in international collaboration, stakeholder engagement, strategic planning, program management and administration through former roles at the Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering as Senior Project / Research and Policy Officer - International and with the Australasian Industrial Research Group as Executive Officer. During this time, Anne also undertook an Endeavour Executive Fellowship to progress strategic partnerships with Japan. Anne has also worked within University of Melbourne Commercial as STEMM Program Coordinator. Anne completed her degree in History and International Relations at the University of Exeter. 

With a degree in economics and honours degrees in development studies and law, Adrian began his career as a solicitor with a leading Australian law firm before moving in-house as a corporate lawyer with a global beverage company.  He then worked in corporate partnership and innovation roles with international development and environment organisations in Australia and the United Kingdom.

PhD Project:  Household Solar Power Policy

While some writers point to an imminent residential solar power revolution, others remind us that we are not there yet and that in the meantime policy makers control the mass adoption of rooftop solar power.  Yet policy makers are influenced by their constituents and the interests of various groups.  With a view to better understanding sustainable energy transitions, this PhD research explores how business and community organisations have sought to contribute to the development of residential solar power policy in Australia.

Supervisors: Prof. John Wiseman, Dr. Adam Bumpus

Start Date: October 2013

Contact: adrian.ford@climate-energy-college.org

Alexander Maier

Alex grew up in Germany, but spent some of his adolescence in Canada.  He enrolled at the European Business School (EBS) in Germany for his undergraduate studies and pursued an exchange semester in Mexico.  After completing his thesis examining the feasibility of alternative fuels, he went on to complete a Master in International Business in Melbourne.  His PhD research centres on the transition to Renewable Energy Systems and optimizing hybrid systems through a holistic approach.  Assessing the disruptive potential of various technologies and determining its true value are among his top interests.

Alex studied Geography in Berlin and Climate Science in Bern. Before starting his PhD project in Melbourne he worked at the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Working Group I Technical Support Unit during the Fifth Assessment cycle. Alex draws on his work experience to develop research questions related to changes in climate systems that potentially have severe societal consequences. He hopes to contribute to a better understanding of the physical implications of different climate futures. For his doctorate, Alex is synthesizing knowledge about multi-centennial sea level rise projections.

PhD Project:  Synthesizing uncertainties of transient sea level rise projections

This PhD project is based on the development of a new sea level module for the MAGICC simple climate carbon cycle model. The module will include the most important sea level drivers and project sea level up to the year 2300. The calibration of the individual sea level components thermal expansion, glacier, Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets, and land water storage components  is going to be based on the latest available process understanding and data. A probabilistic framework will be introduced to provide a thorough uncertainty assessment of respective long-term projections. The sea level module will be applied to investigate multi-centennial sea level responses to selected emission pathways and the implications of delayed mitigation action for physical sea level rise impacts. In addition, uncertainties and thresholds inherent to Antarctic and Greenland ice sheet contributions to sea level rise may be analysed as well as the potential to implement potential scaling methods for regional sea level signals.    

Supervisors: A/Prof Malte Meinshausen, Prof. David Karoly 

German Supervisors: Anders Levermann, Matthias Mengel

Start Date: October 2013

Contact: alexander.nauels@climate-energy-college.org

Alexei was previously a research associate at the RMIT University Global Cities Research Institute, working across a range of climate change adaptation projects in the Asia-Pacific region, as well as private sector and local government partners in Australia. He has a background in human geography and development, with ongoing advisory roles with UN-Habitat and the UN Global Compact Cities Programme.

PhD Project: Urban Climate Resilience in Melanesia’s rapid-growth cities: the migrant narrative

Alexei’s PhD project is examining the engagement of migrant households within urban climate resilience initiatives in the rapidly-growing Melanesian cities of Port Vila and Honiara, following recent climate-related disaster events. These two case studies will provide an empirical basis for wider consideration of the role of dynamic migrant households, as well as their unique capacities and perspectives, in resilience thinking and its applications to cities in the context of climate-related shocks and stressors.

Supervisor: Prof. Brendan Gleeson

Start Date: March 2016

Contact: alexei.trundle@climate-energy-college.org

Alister is a PhD candidate through the department of Geography at the University of Melbourne. Alister holds a Master of Environment (Distinction) from the University of Melbourne, as well as a BSc (Distinction) in biological sciences from RMIT University. His previous research has looked at the role of leadership in international climate change politics, with particular focus on the tension between national and international priorities in India and other large rapidly industrialising countries. He has a particular interest in the balance between environment and development, and the role that developing countries can play in confronting climate change.

PhD Project: The politics of climate finance

A functioning, adequately resourced climate finance system has the potential to normatively and materially address long-standing North-South issues in climate change negotiations, and to facilitate the ultimate goal of these negotiations – a safe atmosphere. However, debates over how much finance is required, how finance is regulated, gathered and disbursed, and how funding is allocated remain significant barriers to building agreement. This research project will track the evolution of these three debates to broaden understanding of the climate finance regime as it becomes central to a global climate response.


Supervisor: A/Prof Peter Christoff

Start Date: March 2017

Contact: alister.self@climate-energy-college.org

Anita has a Masters in climate change and an engineering degree from the Australian National University.  She previously worked for the Australian Parliamentary Library providing research and analysis to Members and Senators of the Australian Parliament on climate change and renewable energy issues. In 2011 she spent a brief period at the European Parliament in Brussels.

PhD Project: Policy and governance of climate engineering 

Anita is interested in how Australia might be affected by climate engineering initiatives and what the governance implications might be. In the first stage, she explored with data from climate simulations the likely climatic impacts of solar radiation management on Australia and associated uncertainties. She concluded that the global deployment of any solar radiation management is likely to result in complex and uncertain climatic impacts for Australia. In the next stages of her research, she will be exploring plausible future global scenarios involving climate engineering and assessing Australia’s governance framework against these possible futures. 

Supervisors: Prof. David Karoly, A/Prof. Peter Christoff

Start Date: December 2013

Contact: anita.talberg@climate-energy-college.org

Annabelle completed her undergraduate degree at Melbourne, majoring in Politics and Chinese. In her Honours year, she investigated China's environmental policy in the lead-up to the Beijing Olympics. Upon completing her studies, Annabelle worked at the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC). Last year, Annabelle completed a Postgraduate Diploma in Environments (Public Health). She is embarking on her PhD journey through the EU Centre on Shared Complex Challenges, and is exploring the role of health co-benefits in the development of national climate change mitigation policies in Australia, China and the EU.

PhD Project: The role of health co-benefits in the development of national climate change mitigation policies

Annabelle’s PhD project aims to expand on current climate and health knowledge by investigating how predicted health outcomes from the implementation of mitigation measures (often termed health co-benefits and co-harms) are considered and accounted for in the development of national climate change mitigation policy. She will be building case studies for Australia, China and the European Union in order to understand what factors influence the extent to which health co-benefits are integrated into national climate change mitigation policies.   

Supervisors: Prof. David Karoly, Prof. John Wiseman, A/Prof. Grant Blashki

Start Date: February 2015

Contact: annabelle.workman@climate-energy-college.org

Cathy Alexander has eight years’ experience as a political journalist in Australia. For most of this time she covered environmental policy and politics, with a major focus on climate change. She worked from the press gallery in Parliament House, Canberra, for three years with Australian Associated Press (2007-2010). More recently she was deputy editor of the website Crikey, where she continued to write on the environment and climate change. Cathy has also worked for a federal Coalition shadow cabinet member. Cathy has a first-class Honours degree in Politics and History from the University of Tasmania, a Certificat d’Etudes Politiques from the Institut d’Etudes Politiques in Aix-en-Provence (France), a Master of Environment from the University of Melbourne, and is now studying a PhD with the College. Her topic area is the politics and policy of climate change in Australia. She speaks French and a little German. Cathy works part-time with the University of Melbourne’s Melbourne Sustainable Society Institute.

PhD Project: The policy and politics of climate change in Australia

Cathy is exploring the politics and policy of climate change in Australia. She will ask how to make controversial policies stick in Australia. To operationalise this, she is planning a comparative study of the Carbon Price Mechanism (CPM, also called the carbon tax) and the Goods and Services Tax (GST). Both were substantial, controversial policy instruments which faced significant opposition. But while the GST proved a ‘sticky’ policy – that is, it survived, is now embedded and may be extended - the CPM was closed down within two years. Cathy will analyse the contexts around both policies, the nature of the policies themselves, and finally the dominant strategies that the respective governments used in relation to each policy. She will seek to identify what it was about the Gillard Labor government’s strategic armoury which contributed to policy failure. 

In her conclusion, Cathy will seek to draw possible lessons about how to make tricky policy ‘stick’, which may be of assistance to future policy-makers who are seeking to implement ‘sticky’ policies on climate change. Building on the work of Alan McConnell on policy success, and on his framework which matches particular strategies with particular contextual factors, Cathy will seek to modify this framework for the Australian context, while expanding on his treatment of ‘alliance-building’.

Supervisor: Prof. Robyn Eckersley

Start Date: December 2014

Contact: cathy.alexander@climate-energy-college.org

Changlong Wang grew up in China, studied at the Australian National University and has an engineering degree in Sustainable Energy Systems, Electronic Systems, Mechanical and Material Systems. In his honours project with the Australian Solar Institute Laboratory at the ANU, he developed several routine methods for detecting and distinguishing the most important defects (Iron and Oxygen) in silicon solar cells. To facilitate the transition to a low-carbon economy, he is interested in exploring the challenges and opportunities with increased variable renewable generation on the Australian electrical grid. 

PhD Project: Challenges and Opportunities of Increased Intermittent Renewable Generation on the Australian Electrical Grid

This project aims to explore the effects of various penetration levels of renewables on the Australian National Electricity Market (NEM) grid, with respect to resource availability and identifies the key challenges from the perspective of the grid to introducing solar and wind resources. The transmission lines required to reach these abundant but remote renewable resources are costly, and understanding whether the expense is justified is also an important question. This project will then explore strategies to lower the cost of grid operation with renewables and develop a roadmap for Australia from the current power system to future power systems in 2050 with a range of substantially lower carbon emissions. 

Dispatch Modelling: the Melbourne University Renewable Energy Integration Laboratory (MUREIL) modelling tool will be further developed and used for the dispatch of conventional thermal and existing and emerging renewable technologies. (Changlong is responsible for developing the Transmission model for MUREIL). The model takes into account the short-term variability in meteorology as it relates to wind and solar energy as well as demand. Transmission Modelling: the state-of-art power flow modelling technique - Linear-Programming Approximation of AC Power Flows (LPAC) will be applied to capture reactive power and line losses, etc. in contrast to the widely used Active Power only (DC) modelling technique.

Supervisors: Dr. Roger Dargaville, Dr. Tansu Alpcan

Start Date: July 2013

Contact: changlong.wang@climate-energy-college.org

Christin studied Geography at the University of Bonn and Hamburg where she specialized in environmental topics such as climate change, water management and agriculture. Her research interests are centered around vulnerabilities and resilience to climate change as well as the sustainable management of natural resources.

PhD Project: Climate Change and Sustainable Risk Management for Agriculture – Building business resilience through adaptation. The Case Study of the ´Mount Hesse´ farm in Australia 

This PhD thesis focuses on the risks, challenges but also possible opportunities that climate variability and change is coming along for the Corangamite catchment, which is located in south-west Melbourne. There has been a temperature increase of about 1°C over the last century and a precipitation decrease. This trend is expected to continue in future which means that adaptation strategies are becoming a vital concern. Adaptation aims at reducing risks for agricultural production, helps to cope with uncertainty, harness beneficial opportunities and supports business resilience. Although the Australian farmers are superb adapters, climate change might pose new challenges. Christin is modelling wheat yields and climate data for Victoria, interviews farmers about their perception of increasing climate variability and their impacts on agriculture as well as implemented adaptation strategies so far and interviews leading experts in the climate and agricultural science in Australia.

Supervisors: Prof. Hermann Lotze-Campen, Dr. Frank Wechsung, Prof. Jürgen Scheffran and Prof. Richard Eckart 

Start Date: September 2014

Contact: christin.meyer@pik-potsdam.de

Dimitri is from the Netherlands, but has been living in Australia for the last 8 years. He graduated from the University of Utrecht with an MSc in geology/geophysics and has been working as a geoscientist for Shell for 11 years in the Netherlands and Australia. He now returns to academic life in pursuit of a PhD researching the climate impact of fugitive emissions of the fossil fuel industry, and unconventional gas in particular. In his free time he can be seen cycling in the Dandenongs.

PhD Project: The effects of methane emissions of unconventional gas settings on the climate

The research aim of this PhD is to investigate and to better quantify the climate impacts of methane emissions and methane leakage associated with unconventional gas developments and specifically the coal seam gas (CSG) developments in Queensland. This will be achieved using field measurements in Queensland and at natural CH4 vents in East Timor, inversion modelling techniques, existing emission databases and climate modelling.

The impact of anthropogenic fossil fuel greenhouse emissions on the climate makes understanding of the true emissions crucial in order to be able to transition to a renewable energy system, without undermining the efforts to avoid dangerous climate change. Natural gas is seen as the transition fuel to make this transition possible, as it emits only 60% of CO2 emissions compared to coal when combusted. There is however mounting evidence, particularly from the United States, but also from Australia, that CH4 emissions from gas extraction and transportation are significantly higher than estimated and reported. While the US studies concentrate on shale gas, the Australian unconventional gas projects are coal seam gas developments. 

What are the CH4 emissions from theses unconventional gas developments, what is the impact of the transition from coal to gas on the climate in a world of increasing demand, and what does this mean for the development of unconventional gas?

Supervisors: Prof. Peter Rayner, A/Prof. Malte Meinshausen, Prof. Mike Sandiford

Start Date: September 2013

Contact: dimitri.lafleur@climate-energy-college.org

Dylan is a Chemical Engineer, with experience as an energy analyst. He has a detailed understanding of the cost structure of energy technologies and the electricity market. He was an author of the Melbourne Energy Institutes Renewable Energy Technology Cost Review, commissioned by the Garnaut Review, an investigation of renewable technology costs and projections. He has also developed detailed energy market models for analyzing the National Electricity Market electricity dispatch and price-setting system, in the context of understanding the effect of distributed solar photovoltaic systems and other technologies affecting wholesale electricity demand.

PhD Project: Merit of Solar - Impact and Future of Solar Photovoltaics in the Australian Market 

Renewable energy capacity has rapidly expanded in recent years as part of global efforts to dramatically reduce carbon emissions and avoid catastrophic climate change. The addition of generation capacity been shown to markedly reduce wholesale spot prices in restructured electricity markets around the world. This phenomenon, known as the 'merit order effect', is demonstrably impacting electricity wholesale prices in Australia and abroad. On the one had, the effect has been argued to offset the cost of schemes supporting renewable energy. On the other hand, others suggest it is a wealth transfer and not welfare enhancing, leading to higher prices. Tthe long-term implications of the merit order effect, for both renewable generators and liberalised electricity markets, are poorly understood, while be critical to these debates, and renewable energy policy. This research aims to investigate this issues in relation to distributed solar generation. Firstly, inversion modelling will be used to assess and characterise the contributions of rooftop solar generation to Australia’s electricity supply. Results from this analysis will then allow econometric techniques to be used to determine, estimates of the merit order effect, the impact on incumbent generator output and bidding behaviour and effect on emissions. Finally, this will allow potential short and long-term effects of renewable energy to be explored, using market modelling techniques.

Supervisor: Prof. Mike Sandiford

Start Date: November 2013

Contact: dylan.mcconnell@climate-energy-college.org

Elisabeth Vogel

Elisabeth studied Environmental Engineering at TU Berlin, with specialisations in agriculture, soil science and ecological modelling. During her final thesis, which she completed at the University of Lund, she analysed the role of soil respiration for the carbon balance of boreal forests. Prior to coming to Melbourne, she held a position as research assistant at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, exploring the impact of the ENSO climate oscillation index on global agricultural yields. Elisabeth's research interests are centered around the functioning of ecosystems and their resilience to climate change as well as the sustainable management of natural resources in view of global climatic and demographic change.

PhD Project: Extreme weather events and extreme impacts – using climate impact models for the prediction of multi-sectoral extreme events.

This PhD project will explore the use of climate impact models for the prediction of sector-specific impacts of weather events. More specifically, it will use model output data created within ISI-MIP2 (the global Intersectoral Impacts Model Intercomparison Project, Phase 2) to derive relationships between large scale oscillation indices (e.g. ENSO, NAO, IOD) and seasonal forecasts of weather-related impacts for current climate conditions. This project will focus on the agricultural sector, which is the main livelihood source of a large fraction of the population in many developing countries and impacts are directly linked to the food security of these population groups. However, the transferal of the methodology to other sectors (e.g. health, water) will be explored.

Supervisors: A/Prof. Malte Meinshausen, Prof. David Karoly 

German Supervisor: Dr. Katja Frieler

Start Date: February 2014

Contact: elisabeth.vogel@climate-energy-college.org

Until early 2011, Ellycia worked a Marine Scientist, with Oceana – the world’s largest marine conservation organization. As part of the Climate Change and Clean Energy team in their Washington DC headquarters, Ellycia played a significant role in communicating and translating information about climate change and ocean acidification to policy makers and the general public, in an effort to raise awareness about their impacts and advocate for policy creation to protect the oceans and those that depend on them. While with Oceana Ellycia authored multiple reports and publications and presented at various conferences and fora, including at side-events at the UNFCCC negotiations in Copenhagen and Cancun, at which she was head of Oceana’s delegation. Ellycia holds a Masters of Environment from the University of Melbourne and a Bachelor of Arts and a Bachelor of Science from Monash University. She has also spent time studying at the University of California, Berkeley and the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

PhD Project: Following the Knowledge of Ocean Acidification

Drawing upon the insights provided by the study of science, technology and society (SSTS), specifically through the sociology of scientific knowledge, as well as network theory and policy science, Ellycia is exploring how expert knowledge around ocean acidification is created by a community of researchers, how this community contributes to the transferal of this knowledge to policy makers and how policy makers then utilize this knowledge in policy making. This research hopes to make intellectual contributions to our understandings of how expert knowledge is produced and transferred for use in environmental governance. In addition, it is hoped that this research can help to inform practical understandings of knowledge use in policy making and help build better strategies for the effective communication of such knowledge.

Supervisors: A/Prof. Peter Christoff, Dr. Rachel Hughes and Prof. Ove hoegh-Gulberg (UQ)

Contact: ellycia.harrould@climate-energy-college.org

Fiona Macgill

Fiona has a Masters in Spatial Information Science from the University of Melbourne. Her major project looked at “Comparison of MODIS-Aqua Chlorophyll-a algorithms west of Tasmania. Previously she studied Computer Engineering and Mathematics in Melbourne and enjoyed a semester exchange in Germany. In her spare time she practices Aikido, a Japanese martial art, for which she recently graded in Japan. On weekends she enjoys spending time along the Victorian coast: open water swimming, walking and enjoying the surf. She began her career as a software consultant, working in Australia and the United States. Now she has joined the College and will be looking at probabilistic regional temperature and precipitation extremes.

PhD Project: Probabilistic regional temperature and precipitation extremes

Probabilistic analysis and numerical experiments using climate models and novel data analysis techniques applied to both observational and climate model data

Assessment of the uncertainty of regional long-term projections

Pattern Scaling 

Supervisors: A/Prof Malte Meinshausen, Prof. David Karoly

Contact: fiona.macgill@climate-energy-college.org

Graham is an electronic and industrial engineer with a technical, R&D, and management career in small business. His experience covers analog electronics, industrial automation, energy efficiency, and HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning). Following the completion of a Masters in Sustainable Energy at RMIT in 2008, he has made contributions to the energy and climate areas. His research aims to develop an improved systems-based methodology for EROI (energy return on investment) for fossil and non-fossil electricity generation. The research will draw on the field of Biophysical Economics, the history of energy transitions, markets, renewables integration, and engineering. The aim is to provide a more comprehensive metric for energy supply technologies that better captures “societal value”, to inform energy and climate policy.

PhD Project: 

  • High quality energy, including electricity, underpins economic development
  • EROI provides a physical measure of the resources needed to deliver electricity to society
  • Electricity is valuable only within the context of a system, but ascertaining the value of particular components can be challenging
  • Electricity pricing is multi-layered and rules based
  • EROI offers a pathway to bypass the complexities of electricity pricing to inform energy and climate policy

Supervisor: Dr. Roger Dargaville

Start Date: December 2014

Contact: graham.palmer@climate-energy-college.org

Kate holds an MSc in Environmental Technology from Imperial College London, and a BA from Latrobe University. For the past 10 years Kate has worked with environmental non-governmental organisations on forests, climate change and human rights, particularly the European Union’s policy responses to forest governance reforms and illegal logging, and the development of the REDD+ mechanism (reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation) at the UNFCCC. She has been following the UN climate negotiations since 2009, and has published on equity and human rights, distributive climate justice, and illegal logging and trade. Kate is now undertaking a PhD investigating the science-policy interface around terrestrial carbon science in international climate politics. 

PhD Project: The politics of accounting: equitable approaches to land-use in a carbon constrained world

Emissions from agriculture and land-use contribute roughly a quarter of global greenhouse gas emissions, yet at the same time the land sector is crucial to the pursuit of sustainable development and poverty eradication. The newly concluded Paris Agreement raises the possibility of unprecedented reliance on land-based mitigation, with its long-term goal of achieving a “balance between anthropogenic emissions by sources and removals by sinks”. A key dilemma is how to secure land-based mitigation so as to enhance ambitious climate action, while providing synergies between climate and development goals. 

The research addresses these questions through examining a “governing by expertise” approach in negotiations on land-use accounting rules and the co-production of science and policy in model-based assumptions for long-term mitigation pathways. These approaches are found to entail a technicalisation of what are highly contested normative and political questions about who should do what in combating climate change, and what role the land sector should play. The final part of the research assesses the risks associated with land-based negative emissions in the context of sustainable development goals related to land, food and climate. The conclusions explore what this means for the long-term goal of the Paris Agreement, and the environmental integrity and equity implications of large-scale land-based mitigation.

Supervisors: A/Prof. Peter Christoff, Prof. Robyn Eckersley

Start Date: October 2013

Contact: kate.dooley@climate-energy-college.org


Kennedy Mbeva is currently a PhD candidate in the department of Political Science, Faculty of Arts, at the University of Melbourne. His PhD project explores the co-evolution of the trade and environmental governance regimes, focusing on how preferential trade agreements foster (or not) environmental governance.

Prior to commencing his PhD, Kennedy was a Research Fellow at the African Centre for Technology Studies (ACTS), a leading pan-African public policy think tank, working on environmental policy and governance, with a focus on climate policy. 

Kennedy holds an Msc in Environmental Management from the UNEP-Tongji Institute of Environment for Sustainable Development (Distinction) in Shanghai, China, and a Bsc in Environmental Studies from Kenyatta University (Hons) in Nairobi, Kenya. He is also a winner of the prestigious Green Talents Fellowship Award for High Potentials in Sustainability (2014). 

Supervisors: Prof. Robyn Eckersely and Dr. Evgeny Postnikov

Start Date: February 2017

Contact: kennedy.mbeva@climate-energy-college.org

Madhu worked as a consultant in a multi-disciplinary environmental services firm for over a decade where he managed projects of varied environmental planning and design complexities in Australia, China, Hong Kong and India.  

He was involved in preparation of numerous environmental impact assessments for major projects such as wind farms, quarries, mines, landfills, telecommunication and other infrastructure facilities.  Planning and design projects have included city master planning, tourism redevelopments, campuses, residential estates and aged care facilities.

Madhu has appeared as an expert at Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal and was routinely involved in producing material for evidence at VCAT and Panel Hearings.  Madhu has a postgraduate diploma and masters in landscape architecture from Melbourne and is trained as an architect in India. Madhu is also an accredited LEED professional in neighbourhood design with the US Green Building Council.

PhD Project: “I Am The City, You Let Me Be” - Understanding Sociocultural Dynamic-ism in Planning for Climate Resilience in Cities.

The context of the research is at the nexus of climate, city and culture, each of which are dynamic ad complex. In such complex systems, planning for climate resilience needs a re-examination of human attitudes and behaviours to the environment the scale of a neighbourhood. This research will seek to identify the operating socio-cultural standards implicit in neighbourhood communities, understand its implications to the quality of life and climate resilience.

Supervisors: Prof. Ray Green

Start Date: December 2015

Contact: madhu.lakshmanan@climate-energy-college.org

Marina Povitkina is a PhD candidate at the Department of Political Science and Quality of Government Institute at the University of Gothenburg, Sweden. Her research is in comparative environmental politics with the focus on democratic institutions and quality of governmentMarina is currently a visiting PhD student at the School of Social and Political Sciences and the Australian-German Climate & Energy College at the University of Melbourne in February-March 2017. 


Contact: marina.povitkina@gu.se

Personal webpage: http://pol.gu.se/english/personnel/doctoral-students/povitkina--marina

Supervisors: Sverker Jagers and Marcia Grimes

Start date: 2013

Martin studied Biological Sciences at The University of Southern California where he specialized in Astro and Geomicrobiology and later worked on Microbial Fuel Cells at the J. Craig Venter Institute in La Jolla. Martin then returned to Argentina, his home country, to pursue social entrepreneurship and establish businesses within the clean energy sector. As an entrepreneur, Martin has developed projects in renewable energies for the built environment, biofuel projects for large agriculture farms, forest conservation initiatives, marketing and corporate social responsibility campaigns for multinationals, and established a network of sustainable architecture to tackle social innovation projects.

PhD Project:  Searching for Disruptive Social Business Models in the Energy Sector: The role of social innovation in aggregating prosumers with Virtual Power Plants

At the Australian-German, Martin channels his multiple interests into an interdisciplinary PhD that develops and tests disruptive innovations. His research proposes that business models that can combine Internet and energy management developments such as peer-to-peer platforms and Virtual Power Plants, in order to collectively manage distributed energy resources, are ideal systems for socially innovative firms to achieve scale and replication. Socially innovative firms, which can address an environmental problem with a market-based approach, are theorised as critical developments that can influence business direction and flexibility to the carbon lock-in. The project entails the design and simulation of an urban social electricity-trading network using a City of Melbourne case study to propose how this systemic change would come about.


Case study analysis of business model innovation in the electricity sector with a multi-level perspective on sociotechnical transitions (niche, regime and landscape levels). Content literature on the intersection of the collaborative economy/ PCP platforms with electricity networks.

Design and develop technical and economic simulations of Virtual Power Plants composed of a portfolio with multiple prosumers and other DERs. 

Supervisors: Dr. Roger Dargaville, Prof. John Wiseman,
 A/Prof Chris Ryan, Dr. Adam Bumpus

Start Date: March 2014

Contact: martin.wainstein@climate-energy-college.org

Matthew initially worked for over a decade in the global financial news and information business companies such as: Knight Ridder, Dow Jones and Reuters where he gained experience working in the media and news business.  Following that career he spent a couple of years with Hewlett Packard as a Pre Sales Engineer/Technical Account Manager.  In 2007 he formed an Environmental NGO ‘Beyond Zero Emissions’ and in conjunction with The University of Melbourne produced the Zero Carbon Australia Stationary Energy Plan, mapping a pathway to convert the Australian economy to 100% renewables.  In 2015 he completed his Master in Engineering (Sustainable Energy) and set up his business, ‘Pure Electric Total Home Conversions’, which provides tailored installation of energy efficient appliances to householders and businesses.  


PhD project

As part of his final thesis for his Master of Engineering Matthew investigated the possibility of building a high volume, modern Australian house which used solar panels as wall cladding and roofing material via a case study house in the suburbs of Melbourne.  The case study home has 84 solar panels installed in 12 separate arrays facing north, east, south and west and provides data which gives an indication of the performance and potential energy yield of future buildings built with solar as the predominate cladding material.

The PhD Matthew is now undertaking will take the project a step further and investigate the feasibility of the widespread substitution of PV panels as cladding material on Australia’s housing stock (new and existing). The ultimate aim of the PhD project is to determine the feasibility of providing 100% of Australia’s energy requirements via houses clad in PV material within a decade.  The scope of the project includes replacing all fossil energy demand related to domestic living such as gas for space heating, water heating and cooking as well as petroleum fuel for transportation.  

Supervisor: Roger Dargaville

Start date: October 2015

Contact: matthew.wright@climate-energy-college.org 

Nick completed a Bachelor of Communications and Diploma of Business at Monash University in 2000 and spent the next fifteen years working in various communications roles within the corporate sector. He combined employment with further study, completing a Bachelor of Letters with Honours in politics in 2010, and a Master of European and International Studies in 2014. His Honours thesis focussed on the state-firm nexus within the European automotive industry.

PhD project: The transition to renewable technologies in the European electricity sector: A critical analysis of the EU’s role

In order to limit warming to below 2°C, the electricity system must transition almost fully to renewable energy before mid-century. The European Union (EU) has identified decarbonisation of its stationary energy sector as an important strategic priority.  As a supranational authority, the EU seeks to play a role in shaping the pace and direction of the transition within Europe. However, a number of factors will influence the scope and effectiveness of EU involvement. One is the interests of member states, which may conflict with EU objectives. The second is entrenched national innovation and socio-technical systems, which govern the development and diffusion of new technologies. Different national systems may be incompatible with EU policies, acting as an impediment to supranational intervention.

The thesis will examine the role that the EU can, and should, play in the transition to renewable technologies within the EU, based on its policy competencies and emissions reductions commitments. It will also examine the manner and extent to which national interests and entrenched socio-technical systems influence that role.

Supervisors: A/Prof Peter Christoff, Prof Philomena Murray

Start date: October 2015

Contact: nick.parry@climate-energy-college.org

Philip is a Berlin born international trade and investment jurist. He obtained his Master’s degree (LL.M.) in “International and European Law: Trade and Investment Law” with distinction from University of Amsterdam (Netherlands) and holds a Bachelor of Laws (LL.B.) from FernUniversität in Hagen (Germany). Philip advanced his studies in Barcelona (Spain) where he attended specialized courses of the “International Economic Law and Policy Program” (IELPO LL.M.) as well as in Bern (Switzerland) at the WTI Summer Academy 2015 of the World Trade Institute.

Prior to commencing his Ph.D. at Melbourne Law School he interned in dispute settlement with the Legal Affairs Division of the World Trade Organization and worked for three years as a law clerk at Clearingstelle EEG, a German alternative dispute resolution institution enacted under the German Renewable Energy Sources Act with the purpose of settling domestic renewable energy disputes.

Supervisors: Professor Jürgen Kurtz

Start Date: September 2016

Contact: philip.hainbach@climate-energy-college.org

Poomphan is an energy analyst who is specialised in low-carbon technologies as well as energy modelling. He earned his Masters in Renewable Energy and Environmental Modelling from the University of Dundee (UK). He previously worked across a range of clean energy projects in ASEAN, Italy, the Pacific region, and the United Kingdom. He built up a good track record of consultancy experience in private equity-owned, international agencies as well as several government agencies in the Asia-Pacific region. He is passionate about using his technical skills and knowledge for the development of smart and innovative solutions for the energy sector.

PhD Project: Multi-objective Real-Time Price-Based Demand Response Management for Australian National Electricity Market with robust optimisation

Poomphan’s PhD project utilises the merit of Demand Response concept to the Australian National Electricity Market with the aim of alleviating peak demand and deferring the needs for new power plant. This project employs energy demand, real-time electricity price uncertainties and meteorological data in the National Electricity Market; and models them as multi-objective real-time price-based demand response application via novel optimisation technique. Results from this analysis will then consent econometric techniques to be used to determine the merit of an incumbent generator output, effect on emissions and allow demand response management application that can be embedded into smart meters and automatically executed on-line for determining the optimal operation for all electricity users.

Supervisor: Dr. Roger Dargaville

Start Date: November 2016

Email: p.chan@climate-energy-college.org

Rachelle graduated with a bachelor's in wildlife biology from the University of Montana and an M.S. from the University of Melbourne. She worked for the United States Forest Service for the following 8 years, writing syntheses addressing fire ecology of plant and animal species. While there she devoted increasingly more time to local sustainability efforts and sustainability research, including investigating barriers to implementation of energy efficiency measures in the Forest Service. She is primarily interested in climate change issues that incorporate both natural and human systems and their interactions. 

PhD Project: Integrated analysis of the mitigative and adaptive potential of soil carbon in grazing systems

Rachelle’s thesis uses a whole-farm system modelling approach to quantify the agro-ecosystem benefits and mitigation implications of soil carbon in the grazing systems of western Victoria in both recent and future climates. The primary research questions are:

What are the productivity benefits of greater N supply from mineralization and increases in plant available water holding capacity associated with increased SOM? 

How much does increased soil carbon in a grazing system influence its sink potential and net emissions? 

How do future climate projections affect the productivity benefits and GHG emissions associated with higher SOM at a local level? 

What are the regional-level adaptation and emission consequences of increased SOM? 

Comparing historic and future climates as well as local and regional scales will assist in identifying the potential for synergies or trade-offs of using soil carbon (in the form of SOM) as an adaptation and/or mitigation option. This research will also inform future local and regional scale investigations of potential adaptation-mitigation synergies.

Supervisors in Melbourne: A/Prof Richard Eckard, Dr. Brendan Cullen

Supervisors in Germany: Prof. Hermann Lotze-Campen

Start Date: September 2013

Contact: rachelle.meyer@climate-energy-college.org

Raif is an Australian professional public servant, with over 15 years experience in policy and regulatory roles pertaining to energy systems, markets and resources. Raif graduated from the University of Western Australia in 2000 with a BA(Hons) in political science. Upon graduation, Raif worked for the Western Australian Government in upstream energy resources. Since then he has worked for the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission in energy network regulation from 2004-2007, and for the Victorian Government since 2007 on national energy market reform processes. Raif's interest is in policy formation and reform within federal political systems, and he hopes to contribute to understanding of how energy market policy can be developed in the public interest to meet the challenges of the 21st century. 

PhD project: Federalism, policy formation and the energy market transition in Australia 

The aim of this research is to analyse the implications of energy policy making within the Australian federation for the transition of the energy markets toward a low carbon emissions system. The key question to be answered is whether the energy regulatory and governance framework in Australia is adaptive to changing policy demands and is able to produce effective policy in the future. 

The study will draw upon rational choice and institutional theory to analyse the cooperative federalism institutional arrangements that were put in place consequent to the Australian Energy Market Agreement in the early/mid-2000s and which form the basis of significant policy activity today. The study will analyse the way that public policies aimed at effecting a transformation of the energy market are affected by the federal institutional arrangements. The effects of these institutional arrangements on policy formation and implementation will be analysed based on historic case studies, with a view to drawing conclusions about the positive and negative implications of these arrangements. 

Supervisors: Prof. Fiona Haines

Start date: February 2017

Email: raif.sarcich@climate-energy-college.org

Seb Rattansen is an experienced policy analyst with over five years experience in both the UK and New Zealand public sectors. He has worked on strategic policy and operational policy in both countries. In the UK he led the development of a new air quality requirement for the £864m Renewable Heat Incentive. The RHI is a flagship initiative designed to help the UK meet its EU climate targets. In New Zealand he led the publication of the Dairying Clean Streams Accord Snapshot of Progress report for 2010/11. This was a key report on the environmental performance of the agricultural sector in New Zealand. 

He also has a strong academic and research background. He recently completed an MA thesis in Politics and International Relations at the University of Auckland, which evaluated the effectiveness of the climate change regime in New Zealand and the United States. He received 1st Class Honours for his thesis. Prior to his MA, Seb completed a BA in Political Studies (1st Class Honours) and worked as a Research Assistant for Dr Jian Yang and Professor Steven Hoadley at the University of Auckland. Seb received a Summer Research Scholarship and a Senior Prize in Political Studies in 2007.

Specialisms: climate change politics, climate change policy, renewable energy policy, environmental policy, international relations

PhD Project: Searching history for solutions to climate inaction

Supervisors in Melbourne: Sebastian Thomas

Start date: January 2017

Contact: seb.rattansen@climate-energy-college.org

Skye has a background in environment and development issues across the Asia-Pacific region, with a focus on responding to environmental and climate change risks and uncertainty. She works on the development of climate change adaptation and environment projects in the Asia-Pacific region for the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). She previously worked as a researcher and research coordinator for the Stockholm Environment Institute (SEI) Asia Centre, and formerly on government environmental and climate change management, policy, education and behavioural change projects and programmes, as well as in research and consultancy roles in the social and environmental sustainability areas. Skye holds a Masters of International Urban and Environmental Management from RMIT University, Melbourne.

PhD project: The influence of climate change adaptation approaches on local resource management processes in Indonesia

Skye is a PhD student at the University of Melbourne’s School of Geography and at the Australian-German Climate College. Skye’s research is on processes of local engagement in climate change adaptation in Indonesia, and how these influence outcomes in local resource management. Her research draws on three cases in Central Java, West Kalimantan and Central Maluku, to examine how engagement approaches in community-based climate change adaptation at the local level influence adaptation outcomes.

Supervisors: Dr Lisa Palmer and Prof. Jon Barnett

Start date: Dec 2015

Contact: skye.turner-walker@climate-energy-college.org


Sonya completed a Masters of Atmospheric Science at the University of Melbourne, where she investigated changes in alpine Australia’s winter rain and snowfall events. She has worked for both the University of Melbourne and the Australian Bureau of Meteorology as a research assistant focusing respectively on synoptic weather patterns for extreme weather events and air pollution and using statistical methods to project Victorian streamflows to the end of the century using downscaled CMIP5 global climate models. 

PhD Project: Local and remote climate impacts of dimethyl sulfide produced by the Great Barrier Reef

Marine algae are the largest natural source of dimethyl sulfide (DMS) globally. Once released in to the atmosphere, DMS oxidises to form sulfate aerosols, which can then aid the formation of cloud condensation nuclei and subsequently affect cloud formation and surface temperatures. The role of marine algae, and the production of DMS, in climate regulation has long been debated, with no conclusive argument for or against. Algae that live in symbiosis with coral reefs are thought to be some of the largest producers of DMS and are spatially stationary, making the Great Barrier Reef the ideal natural laboratory to study this process. This project aims to use a combination of field work and modelling to help understand this complex feedback process and determine if there will be a climatic impact due to the degradation of the Great Barrier Reef. 

Supervisors: Dr. Robyn Schofield and A/Prof. Todd Lane 

Start date: 21st March 2016

Contact: sonya.fiddes@climate-energy-college.org

Google scholar

Stephen undertook his undergraduate arts degree at the University of Adelaide with a major in Anthropology. He later completed Honours at the University of Melbourne with research into how rock-climbers perceive nature and manage the environmental impacts of their climbing practices.

Stephen was awarded a Master of Environment from the University of Melbourne in 2011 with a focus on environment policy and urban planning. His thesis examined state of the environment reporting and the relationships between knowledge, power and environmental decision-making.

He worked for the past four years as a policy adviser with the Victorian Department of Premier and Cabinet across a range of areas including land-use and planning, water, energy, environment and climate change.

PhD Project: Examining transitions to decarbonisation: Understanding processes of social and economic change within European and Australian communities.

Greenhouse gas emissions must be reduced to zero as early as possible this century in order to limit the degree of climate change, but this simple measure can disguise the myriad of choices about how to achieve this goal. Such choices could catalyse fundamental social and economic transformations, but they could also serve to reinforce existing institutions and structures of power. Stephen’s project examines how transitions towards decarbonisation are taking shape within Australia and Europe and the interplay between the top-down influence of government policies and business decisions and the bottom-up forces of technology, innovation and grassroots actions. His research asks how decarbonisation fits with broader concepts of sustainability and equity, what role the state has in making transitions feasible what can we learn from each other across different contexts and cultures.

Supervisors: Prof John Wiseman and A/Prof Monica Minnegal

Start date: January 2016

Contact: stephen.pollard@climate-energy-college.org

Tim's research interests are diverse but centre around climate change law, broadly construed to include corporate social responsibility, torts, planning and administrative law, as well as the more traditional concern with United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change-led processes and domestic climate politics.

Tim also teaches into the Melbourne Law School and Faculty of Architecture, Building and Planning.

MPhil project: Justiciability and the environment – Challenging current conceptions of separation of powers in light of existential environmental threats

In simple terms, Tim’s thesis unpacks the legal hurdles which might prevent the Commonwealth being found liable in negligence for their insufficient efforts to mitigate climate change. The thesis is inspired by the judgement of The Hague District Court in Urgenda Foundation v Netherlands which did just that, compelling the state to take greater measures to abate greenhouse gas emissions than currently under way. The basis of this was a finding that the state was failing in its duty of care to its citizenry by not putting adequate measures in place to reach the 2°C target outlined in the Cancun Agreements.

Supervisors: Prof. Lee Godden and A/Prof. Jason Varuhas.

E-mail: tim.baxter@climate-energy-college.org

Yann grew up in France and where he obtained a Master’s in climate, ocean and atmosphere science (Pierre and Marie Curie University) as well as a Magister in theoretical physics (University of Paris-Sud). He has various research experience in oceanography (Equatorial Atlantic, Arctic, Antarctica), hydrology, cosmology and sea ice rheology at the universities of Pierre and Marie Curie, Harvard, Berkeley, Oxford, Copenhagen and McGill, respectively. After a year of field research in Benin and a sailing journey across the Arctic North-West Passage, Yann enrolled in the College in order to model national greenhouse gases (GHG) emissions scenarios following a combination of different vision of climate justice. The research project is a collaboration between the University of Melbourne and the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) in Germany.

PhD Project: Avoiding dangerous climate change when nations have different concepts of climate justice

The international community has agreed to limit global warming to 2 °C and pursue 1.5 °C. Staying within this boundary implies undertaking strong mitigation commitments. At climate conferences, countries exposed different equity concepts to drive the sharing of the required mitigation. The sum of each country’s self-determined fair share of the global mitigation burden is insufficient to keep warming below 2 °C, let alone 1.5 °C. This PhD project will assess how to distribute the GHG emissions consistent with the temperature goals under a combination of effort sharing approaches. A normative method will determine coherent national mitigation targets under a combination of equity approaches. This quantitative hybrid approach adopts the distributive nature of a bottom-up approach with the stringency of a top-down approach. 

Supervisors: A/Prof. Malte Meinshausen, A/Prof. Peter Christoff

German Supervisor: Louise Jeffery

Start Date: October 2013

Contact: yann.rdp@climate-energy-college.org

Website: http://paris-equity-check.org

First author:

Equitable mitigation to achieve the Paris Agreement goals, (Nature Climate Change, 2016)
National contributions for decarbonizing the world economy in line with the G7 agreement, (Environmental Research Letters, 2016)
National post-2020 greenhouse gas targets and diversity-aware leadership, (Nature Climate Change, 2015)


Zebedee completed his undergraduate Masters course in Physics at St.John’s College, University of Oxford. There he specialised in Atmospheric and Biological Physics and completed his Masters project under the supervision of Professor Myles Allen. His thesis focussed on building a simple integrated assessment model to analyse the factors which influence how much an economically rational decision maker might choose to let the Earth warm. To contribute to discussions on future emissions pathways, he is interested in considering how we choose various warming targets and possible emissions scenarios to reach them. 

PhD Project: Emissions pathways towards net zero 

This project aims to develop and use simple climate models to explore possible emissions pathways towards net zero emissions. It is now widely accepted that net zero emissions are required to stabilise the climate but there is still much debate over how we get to net zero, how to consider the risk associated with various pathways and what those risks are.

The key modelling tool that will be used is the MAGICC climate model which will be updated to MAGICC7 and produce emissions and concentrations scenarios for the CMIP6 experiment. Updating the documentation and accessibility of MAGICC will be key to ensuring that this model can be widely used by the climate research community, especially for anyone who requires simple climate representations to minimise computational demands.

The output of the CMIP6 experiment will guide the development and tuning of an even simpler climate model which can then be used to explore the impact and sensitivity of future emissions scenarios. This simpler model may be more relevant for education and communication purposes as it will hopefully provide an easier access point for those with less formal training.

Supervisors: A/Prof. Malte Meinshausen, Prof. David Karoly

Start date: November 2016

Contact: zebedee.nicholls@climate-energy-college.org