Professor Neil Powell - University of the Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia

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Professor Neil Powell

PhD Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, MSc Norwegian University of Life Sciences, BA (Geography) NE

  • Professor of Sustainable Development
+46 701 679 169
Office location
Sunshine Coast
Professor Neil Powell

Professor Neil Powell is Professor of Sustainable Development with the Sustainability Research Centre (SRC) at the University of the Sunshine Coast, and a Senior Research Associate at the Stockholm Environment Institute (SEI). Prior to his appointment at USC, he was a Senior Research Fellow at SEI where he co-led the Transforming Governance Theme. He has also worked as a Senior Lecturer at the Department of Urban and Rural Development, Swedish Agricultural University, Uppsala and as a Senior Programme Officer, Department for Natural Resources and Environment, Water Division, Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida), Stockholm.

Neil's research, training and development action is geared towards addressing intractable issues and resource dilemmas in the context water resources and governance. The approach can be characterised as problem centred, and epistemologically heterogeneous. His present research examines governance inefficiencies and ambiguities in contexts characterised by abrupt environmental change and controversy. The applied objective of this research is to develop operation frames to understand how structures and stakeholder agency can best deployed to reconcile contemporary environmental challenges such as climate change adaptation and the provision of eco-system goods and services. Conceptually, and in the change processes he is part of, the following key frames feature in his work: water governance, social learning, action research, multi-stakeholder processes, intractability, dilemmas, agency, land use, livelihoods, ecosystem assessments and education for sustainable development (ESD).

Research grants

Project name Investigators Year
Climate change adaptation and water governance:  Reconciling food security, renewable energy and the provision of multiple ecosystem services (CADWAGO) Neil Powell     2012–2015
Comprehensive policy actions and investments in sustainable solutions in agriculture in the Baltic Sea region (Baltic COMPASS):  Governance and Policy work package Neil Powell 2009–2012

Research areas

  • soft systems methodologies (SSM)
  • social learning
  • water governance dilemmas
  • adaptation and vulnerability
  • ecosystem goods and services (ES)

Teaching areas

  • Integrated Water Resource Management
  • Action Research

Professor Neil Powell's areas of specialist knowledge include adaptive capacity, governance, stakeholder engagement, social learning, water security, climate change adaptation, sustainable livelihoods, sustainable development and eco-system services

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