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Personal profile

Personal profile

Dr Michael Mitchell has a growing body of social research experience related to natural resources management. He is currently leading an Australian government funded project in collaboration with partner agencies in Pakistan to explore strategies for building adaptive capacity with people managing and living in salinity affected landscapes of the southern Indus Basin. From 2016 to 2020, Michael was employed on another Australian government funded project that aims to ultimately improve the lives of millions of people by tackling groundwater over-extraction in Pakistan. He has also been collaborating with Murray Local Land Services on a number of projects, including a novel way to undertake capacity needs assessment among community-based NRM groups.

Michael previously held two post-doctoral research fellow positions. The most recent (2012-2015) was part of the National Environmental Research Program's Landscape and Policy Hub. It involved applying social science theories and methods to improve regional-scale biodiversity assessment and planning in two case study sites – the Australian Alps (covering ACT, NSW & Vic) and Tasmanian Midlands. The other (2009-2012) was with the National Centre for Groundwater Research and Training exploring social dimensions of groundwater management. The position also involved a project working with rural agencies seeking to enable resource-dependent communities determine transformational strategies in the face of major changes to their resource base. Michael's doctoral dissertation (2005-2008) focused on sustainability reporting and the use of the 'triple bottom line' concept drawing on a case study with Murrumbidgee Irrigation.

Michael is interested in participatory action research and qualitative social research to support inter-disciplinary research related to rural NRM issues; in learning theories at organisational and social scales; in reporting as a strategy to enhance sustainability; and in applying social-ecological systems analysis to improve NRM outcomes.

Research Interests

  • Participatory/ transdisciplinary research and social learning
  • Resilience and social-ecological systems analysis
  • Social dimensions of environmental management
  • Governance and NRM
  • Sustainability

Professional Information

External Appointments & Memberships:

  • Friends of Nail Can Hill (coordinator)


ENM443 Resilience Thinking and Ecologically Sustainable Development

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 6 - Clean Water and Sanitation
  • SDG 11 - Sustainable Cities and Communities
  • SDG 15 - Life on Land
  • SDG 17 - Partnerships for the Goals

Education/Academic qualification

Doctor of Philosophy, Charles Sturt University


Graduate Certificate in Education (TESOL), University of New South Wales


Master of Philosophy, The University of Sydney


Thai I, II & III, Australian National University


Bachelor of Science (Honours), The University of Sydney


External positions

Friends of Nail Can Hill (coordinator)


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