Dr Erin Smith - University of the Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia

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Dr Erin Smith

Adjunct Research Fellow

Dr Erin Smith completed her PhD studies at the University of Sydney with the thesis, ‘Structuring for serendipity: Family wealth creation, farmer autonomy and the pursuit of security in and uncertain Australian countryside’. Erin was a Post-Doctoral Research Fellow at the University of the Sunshine Coast from 2014 to 2016 where she led the delivery of the University’s contribution towards the multi-institution ‘Climate Change Adaptation for Natural Resource Management in East Coast Australia’ project. In 2017, Erin embarked on a new role with Advisian, where she was promoted from Senior Consultant to Associate in a management consultancy capacity. Currently, Erin is a Principal at Aither, an advisory firm of water policy, water market and natural hazard specialists.


Doctor of Philosophy (Human Geography), Syd; Master of Applied Science, Lincoln University; Bachelor of Recreation Management (Outdoor Leadership), Lincoln University; Graduate Certificate in Commerce (Business Management), Lincoln University.

Teaching areas
  • Environmental law and ethics
  • Environmental and resource planning
  • Geography
  • Geographical concepts, skills and methods
Research areas
  • Climate change adaptation
  • Socio-economic impacts of climate change
  • Natural resource management
  • Agricultural management
  • Rural and regional change
  • Wentworth Group of Concerned Scientists Alumni (2013-present)
  • National Institute of Rural and Regional Australia (2011-present)
  • Australasian Agrifood Research Network
  • Wentworth Group of Concerned Scientists – Science Program Scholar (2013)
  • New South Wales Rural Assistance Authority Higher Degree Research Scholarship (2012)
  • Student Paper Award, Rural Geography Specialty Group. Association of American Geographers Conference (2012)
  • Australian Postgraduate Award (Industry) – The University of Sydney
  • Australian Research Council Linkage (2010)
  • Lincoln University Postgraduate Writing Scholarship (2009)
  • Lincoln University Graduate Scholarship (2006)
Key Research Publications

Carter, J & Smith, E 2016, ‘Spatialising the Melanesian Canarium industry: Understanding economic upgrading in an emerging industry among three Pacific small island states’, Geoforum, vol. 75, pp. 40-51.

Smith, E, Lieske, S, Keys, N & Smith, T 2016, ‘Rapid regional-scale assessments of socio-economic vulnerability to climate change’, Environmental Research Letters, 11.

Smith, E, Keys, N, Lieske, S & Smith, T 2015, ‘Assessing socio-economic vulnerability to climate change impacts and environmental hazards in New South Wales and Queensland, Australia’, Geographical Research, vol. 53(4), pp. 451-465.

Smith, E 2015, ‘Truck journeys and land parcels: Understanding the socio-economic organization of family farming through farm life histories’, The Professional Geographer, vol. 67(3), pp. 464-471.

Weller, S, Smith, E & Pritchard, B 2013, ‘Family or enterprise? What shapes the business structures of Australian farming?’, Australian Geographer, vol. 44(2), pp. 129-142.

Smith, E, Gidlow, B & Steel, G 2012, ‘Engaging adolescent participants in academic research: The use of photo-elicitation interviews to evaluate school-based outdoor education programmes’, Qualitative Research, vol. 12(4), pp. 567-587.

Smith, E, Steel, G & Gidlow, B 2010, ‘The temporary community: Student experiences of a school-based outdoor education programme’, Journal of Experiential Education, vol. 33(2), pp. 136-150.

Contact Dr Erin Smith via email esmith2@usc.edu.au.