Dr Chris Jacobson - University of the Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia

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Staff profile

Dr Chris Jacobson

PhD Lincoln(NZ), PG Diploma Wildlife Management Otago, BSc (Ecology) Lincoln(NZ)   

  • USC Senior Research Fellow
  • Senior Lecturer in the School of Social Sciences
+61 7 5456 5053
Office location
Sunshine Coast
Dr Chris Jacobson

Dr Chris Jacobson is a social scientist who is passionate about resilience, adaptation and agricultural development. She has worked extensively in the Asia-Pacific region, including formerly working for Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations in Cambodia.

Chris’s current research contributes to two key outcomes: (1) enhance understanding the resilience of rural communities in SE Asia through effective adaptation; and (2) enhance agriculture in the Pacific Islands through improved agricultural policy. She has led and contributed to projects supported by ACIAR, Secretariat of the Pacific Islands, New Zealand Aid, DFAT, Asia-Pacific Network for Global Change Research, UNEP, FAO and ASEAN working with Regional and National governments, NGOs and universities in Cambodia, Vietnam, Philippines, Myanmar, and the Pacific Islands. Her previous research emphasised adaptation and extension in natural resource management.

Chris has authored over 40 peer reviewed publications in books and highly ranked journals (e.g. Ecology and Society, Regional Environmental Change). Her research standing is also demonstrated through:

  • Invitation to the Southeast Asia Sub-regional Standing Committee of Asia-Pacific Network for Global Change Research;
  • Keynote addresses at international conferences and invitations to symposia, including: International Conference on Earth Sciences and Environment (Malaysia, 2020), International Symposium on Climate Change Impacts, Vulnerability and Adaptation – Asia Perspective (AIT, 2019), Asia Pacific Adaptation Network (Manila2018),  Strengthening Agriculture and Forestry Research and Extension (Samoa, 2015) and UNEP Ecosystem based adaptation expert forum (Kenya, 2013).
  • Appointment as a Research Affiliate (adjunct equivalent) at the Centre of Sustainability, University of Otago (New Zealand);
  • Reviews of international research Projects and proposals (e.g. ACIAR, New Zealand Foundation for Science Research and Technology, Asia-Pacific Network for Global Change Research)
  • Journal editorships, including guest editor of Sustainability special issue on community resilience and livelihood development, and former Associate Editorship of the Australasian Journal of Environmental Management

Chris is coordinator for SUS 201: Measuring Sustainability, and SUS 310: Sustainability Project. As leader of Sustainability teaching, Chris has led developments that have seen an increase in course enrolments of 43-63%. He has successfully supervised 30 development focused PhDs, Masters, honours and undergraduate research projects in Pacific Islands, Kenya, China, Vietnam, Cambodia, and Australia. Chris’s currently supervises:

  • Isabelle Oude-Egberink, MA Candidate, The outcomes of agriculture co-operatives for women (Cambodia)
  • Chiv Sarith, PhD Candidate (Cambodia), Migration between fisheries and agriculture livelihoods in the Tonle Sap (Cambodia)
  • Miguel Frohlich, PhD candidate, Towards adaptive coastal management law: insights from Australia and Brazil
  • Delia Siivola, PhD candidate, Protected area management in the Circumpolar north (Canada, Russia)

Potential student projects include:

  • Gender and climate resilient livelihood in SE Asia
  • Agriculture policy in the Pacific Islands
  • Resilience building and climate adaptation
Research projects
Year Countries Funder Project
2019 Cambodia FAO

Statistician and project manager, 50X2030 Data to End Hunger (USAID, DFAT, World Bank, IFAD, FAO consortia)

2018 Pacific Islands ACIAR

Policy drivers for public-private partnerships in Pacific organics (ADP/2018/131) (Project Leader)

2018 Philippines ACIAR

ACIAR Mindanao Agriculture Extension Project (Review Leader)

2018 Cambodia NZ Aid

Evaluation of watershed management adaptation (Project Leader)

2017 Myanmar ACIAR

ACIAR 'My Life' project (Review Leader)

2017 Cambodia DFAT, FAO

Migration, food security and climate adaptation (Leader, DFAT New Colombo Plan. in collaboration with FAO's Tivet Neung Toma Chief)

2016 Pacific Islands POETCom, DFAT

Review of organic agricultural certification and associated extension (Supervisor)

2016 Australia Various

Great Sandy Biosphere Management Plan (Committee member)

2015/6 Cambodia, Viet Nam APN GCR

Climate adaptation policy dialogue based on a community resilience assessment (Project Leader)

2015/6 New Zealand, Australia MBIE, NZ

Co-operative management of water (Contributor)

2015/6 Australia NCCARF

Monitoring and evaluation of climate adaptation worksheet (Leader)

2015 Australia USC

Community Gardens network (Project Leader)

2015 Pacific Islands SPC

Pacific Island Extension Strategy (Project Leader)

2014/5 Australia CRN

Community dimensions of land seascapes

2014/5 Cambodia ASEAN

Community based tourism guidelines (Contributor)

2012/3 New Zealand MBIE

Cultural resilience and customary fisheries (Contributor)

2012 Australia DEECC Prioritising Coastal Adaptation and Development Options for Local Governments (Contributor)
2012 Kenya UNEP  Ecosystem and Community-Based Adaptation (Invited Expert)
2012 Canada Parks Canada Integrating Inuit knowledge and aspirations in the management of Auyuittuq National Park (Project Leader)

New Zealand


Water and soil nutrient modelling (Workshop co-facilitation)


New Zealand


Perceptions about vertebrate pest control (Research Assistant)



Marsden Fund

Knowledge interfacing and power sharing in co-management (Project Leader)


New Zealand


Adaptive Management to restore Forests Affected by Deer (Co-leader of social learning theme)




Develop a management effectiveness assessment framework for the National Reserve System (Contributor)




Building capacity for adaptive conservation management (Post-doc)




HUAF/SLU Lecturer for Masters' of Development Studies


New Zealand


Evaluation of agriculture extension DSS (Leader)

Research areas

  • Community resilience and climate change adaptation
  • Agriculture extension and livelihood development
  • Adaptive co-management

Teaching areas

  • Sustainability (Discipline Leader)
  • Measuring Sustainability (SUS201
  • Sustainability Project (SUS310
  • New Colombo Plan (SCS245/6)

Dr Chris Jacobson specialist areas of knowledge include sustainability, climate change adaptation, adaptive management, monitoring and evaluation and Indigenous and cross-cultural approaches to environmental management.

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