Dr Libby Swanepoel | UniSC | University of the Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia

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Dr Libby Swanepoel

PhD Sunshine Coast, MNut&Dietetics (Hons) Griff., BSc Qld.

  • Senior Lecturer, Nutrition and Dietetics
  • School of Health
+61 7 5456 5161
Office location
Sunshine Coast

Dr Libby Swanepoel is a dietitian and public health nutritionist with the Australian Centre for Pacific Islands Research (ACPIR), based at UniSC. Libby is interested in understanding how aquatic food systems can be leveraged to improve nutrition and livelihoods as well as gender and social inclusion. Libby has expertise in nutrition-sensitive agriculture, where she places nutritionally rich aquatic foods at the centre of overcoming the triple burden of malnutrition. As an applied researcher, Libby works to understand the diversity of protein, fibre and micronutrients in farmed and wild-harvest seaweed for human application. With current projects in Samoa, Kiribati, Fiji, Indonesia, and northern Australia, Libby's work is couched in participatory action, embracing the strengths and voices within communities to bring about sustainable change.

Libby is the program coordinator for the undergraduate Bachelor of Nutrition at UniSC. She has designed a curriculum to support students in obtaining the skills, knowledge and values needed to work as nutrition professionals in diverse settings. Libby coordinates several courses in both the Bachelor of Nutrition and the Bachelor of Dietetics. She is passionate about inspiring students to take an upstream approach to their future practice and seeks to enhance the student learning experience through the use of technology, curriculum design as well as the integration of innovative teaching techniques and blended learning strategies.


  • Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR) John Dillon Fellow, 2018
  • Runner-up UniSC Research Showcase Minute-To-Win-It Competition, 2018


  • World Public Health Nutrition Association (Executive committee member)

Professional Social Media

Research Grants

Project name


Funding body

Amount ($)

Years of operation

Beyond sushi: mainstreaming seaweed in the young Australian Diet

M Scheepers (lead), L Swanepoel and S De Klerk

Qld Department of Environment and Science



Global review of core competencies for public health nutrition practice

L Swanepoel (lead), M Miller, K Charlton, K Thompson, L Kennedy, L Terragni, G Trilok-Kumar and E Parnell-Harrison

World Public Health Nutrition Association



Improving nutrition through women’s and men’s engagement in the seaweed food chain in Kiribati and Samoa

L Swanepoel (lead), N Paul, S Larson and B Pamphilon




Diet and chronic kidney disease

HH Wright (lead), L Swanepoel, Dr N Gray and H Kickbusch

SCHHS Wishlist Research Grant


2018 –2020

Empowering women in Kiribati through seaweed utilisation

L Swanepoel (lead) and N Paul

UniSC Faculty Early Career Research Grant



School Nutrition Education Programmes in the Pacific Islands: Scoping Study and Capacity Needs Assessment

S Burkhart (lead), B Jones, L Swanepoel and S Underhill




Potential Research Projects for HDR & Honours Students

  • Food security and global development
  • Determinants of health and dietary practices
  • Maternal, infant and childhood nutrition
  • Capacity building to enhance food supply and food choice of populations

Research areas

  • Gender equity in the Indo-Pacific Region
  • Capacity building in public health nutrition practice
  • Participatory approaches in research
  • Seaweed food chain in the Pacific Islands
  • Food and nutrition security in the Pacific Islands
  • Nutrition during pregnancy, infancy and childhood
  • Pacific Islands

Teaching areas

Program coordinator

  • Larson S, Anderson C, Tiitii U, Madar L, Tanielu E, Paul N, Swanepoel L. Barriers and enablers for engagement in a new aquaculture activity: An example from seaweed initiatives in Samoa. 2023;571 (739328). doi: 10.1016/j.aquaculture.2023.739328
  • Anderson C, Tiitii U, Madar L, Tanielu E, Larson S, Swanepoel L. Unpacking gendered roles across the seaweed value chain in Samoa using photo elicitation methods. Ocean and Coastal Management. 2023;232 (106420) doi: 1016/j.ocecoaman.2022.106420
  • Young M, Paul N, Birch D, Swanepoel L. Factors Influencing the Consumption of Seaweed amongst Young Adults. 2022;11(19):3052 doi:10.3390/foods11193052
  • Tiitii U, Paul N, Burkhart S, Larson S, Swanepoel L. Traditional Knowledge and Modern Motivations for Consuming Seaweed (Limu) in Samoa. Sustainability (Switzerland) 2022;14(10) 6212 doi: 3390/su14106212
  • Campbell N, Verdonck M, Swanepoel L, Chilman L. The Lived Experiences of Fathers in Mealtimes: A Thematic Synthesis of Qualitative Literature. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health 2022:19(2)1008. doi: 3390/ijerph19021008
  • Rimmer M.A, Larson S, Lapong I, Purnomo A.H, Pong‐masak P.R, Swanepoel L, Paul N.A. Seaweed aquaculture in indonesia contributes to social and economic aspects of livelihoods and community wellbeing. Sustainability (Switzerland) 2021:13(19) 10946. doi: 3390/su131910946
  • Chilman L, Kennedy-Behr A, Frakking T, Swanepoel L., Verdonck M. Picky eating in children: A scoping review to examine its intrinsic and extrinsic features and how they relate to identification International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. 2021:18(17)9067 doi: 10.3390/ijerph18179067
  • Scannell N, Villani A, Mantzioris E, Swanepoel L. Understanding the self-perceived barriers and enablers toward adopting a mediterranean diet in australia: An application of the theory of planned behaviour framework. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health 2020:17(24)9321 1-21 doi: 3390/ijerph17249321
  • Donkin R, Broome K, Swanepoel L. Benchmarking the research track record and level of appointment of Australian medical laboratory science academics. BMC Medical Education. 2020:20(1)364 doi: 1186/s12909-020-02298-9
  • Butcher H, Burkhart S, Paul N, Tiitii U, Tamuera K, Eria T, Swanepoel L. Role of seaweed in diets of samoa and kiribati: Exploring key motivators for consumption. Sustainability (Switzerland). 2020:12(18)2384 doi: 3390/SU12187356
  • Swanepoel L, Henderson J, Maher J. Mothers' experiences with complementary feeding: Conventional and baby-led approaches. Nutrition and Dietetics 2020:77(3):373-381 doi: 1111/1747-0080.12566
  • Wright H.H, Kickbusch H, Swanepoel E, Gray N. Factors Influencing Low Sodium Intake in People with Non-Dialysis Dependent Chronic Kidney Disease. Journal of Renal Care. 2020:46(2):95-105 doi: 1111/jorc.12311
  • Burkhart S.J, Taylor J.A, Kynn M, Craven D.L, Swanepoel L.C. Undergraduate Students Experience of Nutrition Education Using the Flipped Classroom Approach: A Descriptive Cohort Study. Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior. 2020:52(4):394-400 doi: 1016/j.jneb.2019.06.002
  • Pelly F.E, Swanepoel L, Rinella J, Cooper S. Consumers’ perceptions of the australian health star rating labelling scheme. Nutrients. 2020:12(3):704 doi: 3390/nu12030704
  • Broome K, Swanepoel L. Benchmarking the research track record and level of appointment of Australian dietetic academics. Nutrition and Dietetics. 2020:77(1):160-166 doi: 1111/1747-0080.12586
  • Wright H.H, Cameron J, Wiesmayr-Freeman T, Swanepoel L. Perceived benefits of a standardized patient simulation in pre-placement dietetic students. Education Sciences. 2020:10(7):186 1-13 doi: 1111/1747-0080.12586
  • Swanepoel L, Tioti T, Eria T. Supporting women’s participation in developing a seaweed supply chain in Kiribati for health and nutrition. Foods. 2020:9(4):382 doi: 3390/foods9040382
  • Horsey B, Swanepoel L, Underhill S, Aliakbari J, Burkhart S. Dietary Diversity of an Adult Solomon Islands Population. Nutrients. 2019:11(7):1622 doi: 3390/nu11071622
  • Maher J, Robichaud C, Swanepoel E. Online nutrition information seeking among Australian primigravid womem. Midwifery. 2018:58 37-43. doi: 1016/j.midw.2017.12.005
  • Storr T, Maher J, Swanepoel E. Online nutrition information for pregnant women: a content analysis. Maternal and Child Nutrition. 2017:13(2):e12315 doi: 1111/mcn.12315
  • Swanepoel E, Tweedie J, Maher J. Building dietetic student confidence and professional identity through participation in a university health clinic. Nutrition and Dietetics. 2016:73(3):229-234 doi: 1111/1747-0080.12268
  • Swanepoel E, Fox A, Hughes R. Practitioner consensus on the determinants of capacity building practice in high-income countries. Public Health Nutrition. 2015:18(10):1898-1905 doi: 1017/S136898001400216X
  • Maher J, Pelly F, Swanepoel E, Sutakowsky L, Hughes R. The contribution of clinical placement to nutrition and dietetics competency development: A student-centred approach. Nutrition and Dietetics. 2015 :72(2):156-162 doi: 1111/1747-0080.12163
  • Hughes R, Maher J, Baillie E, Shelton D. Nutrition and physical activity guidance for women in the pre- and post-natal period: A continuing education needs assessment in primary health care. Australian Journal of Primary Health. 2011:17(2):135-141. doi:1071/PY10012
  • Baillie E, Bjarnholt C, Gruber M, Hughes R. A capacity-building conceptual framework for public health nutrition practice. Public Health Nutrition. 2009:12(8):1031-1038 doi: 1017/S1368980008003078