Africa research - image


David Doepel 

Chair, Africa Research Group at Murdoch University and Chair, Africa Australia Research Forum

David has held a number of positions in research management positions at Murdoch University including Deputy Vice Chancellor of Research and Development,  Interim CEO of the National Centre of Excellence in Desalination, and Director, Research Institute for Resource Technology.

Prior to that he served in a variety of roles in the Western Australian Government, including Principal Policy Advisor (Science and the Arts) to the then Premier Alan Carpenter and inaugural Regional Director for the Americas for the Western Australian Trade and Investment Office in Los Angeles.

His current research interests include policy settings for structural transformation in an African context, the nexus between the extractive industries and the agricultural sector and farming system innovations.

David holds degrees from Murdoch University, the Melbourne College of Divinity and Boston University.

Dr Ryan Admiraal

Statistical analysis of survey data, Experimental design

Dr Ryan Admiraal is a Lecturer in Statistics in the School of Engineering and Information Technology. His research largely considers statistical methodology for the social sciences, including sample survey methods and social network analysis with applications to sexually transmitted diseases, including HIV.  He also is involved in a broad range of applied statistics projects. Recent projects with Murdoch colleagues include examining the efficacy of particular interventions on soil salinity for farmland in the Western Australia Wheatbelt and developing a series of checks that allow feedlot owners to remotely detect at-risk animals.

Ryan has been involved in the Nampula Province Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (NAMWASH) Program in Mozambique, a joint venture by UNICEF and the Government of Mozambique, lending his statistical expertise to use pre-intervention survey data to gauge the impacts of and suggest modifications to proposed water, sanitation and hygiene interventions in small towns in Nampula Province. He is currently the PI for the Australian Development Research Awards Scheme project "Using Natural Resource Wealth to Improve Access to Water and Sanitation (Mozambique)," a follow-up project that aims to show the economic benefits through a rigorous cost-benefit analysis of investing mining taxes and royalties in water and sanitation infrastructure in small towns along the Nacala corridor, a major mining export route in Mozambique.  Dr. Admiraal is also co-chair of Murdoch University's HIV and Extractive Industry Initiative.

Dr Davina Boyd

International development, water and sanitation, and capacity building

Dr Davina Boyd is an applied researcher and consultant in the areas of community and international development and sustainability. Her particular interest is the process of building capacity. Davina works with diverse stakeholder groups to strengthen institutional and individual capacity and to learn from this process. In addition to this project, Davina works as a community development practitioner with a local community garden and aboriginal corporation in Western Australia.

Dr Treena Burgess

Plant Sciences, Biological Sciences and Biotechnology

Dr Treena Burgess is a Senior Lecturer in Plant Sciences at Murdoch’s School of Biological Sciences and Biotechnology and a Project participant in the Centre of Excellence for Climate Change, Woodland & Forest Health. In 1999-2000, Treena went to South Africa and spent a two year post-doc at the Forestry and Agriculture Biotechnology Institute (FABI) at the University of Pretoria, South Africa.

The project proved to be very successful and built the foundations for what has subsequently been extensive collaboration in the fields of forest biosecurity, fungal molecular taxonomy and population genetics. FABI is a world-renowned institute directed by Professor Mike Wingfield, a recognised international leader in forest and tree pathology.

Treena has developed a research project based on forest biosecurity and continues to work closely with FABI where she holds an adjunct position at the University of Pretoria. She visits FABI each year, and several of her Australian students have conducted research there. To date she has held two ARC Discovery grants with Mike Wingfield, published 38 papers and been on the advisory panel of 7 PhD students at FABI. This significant collaboration with a South African research institute has been far reaching and mutually beneficial.

John Davis

Interdisciplinary challenges of sustainable development, international aid, and natural resource management

John Davis has been working in rural development since 1980. He is deeply interested in understanding how people pushed to the edges of society can gain access to sustainable livelihoods. A particular passion is to find out whether NGO programs really do empower the marginalised people they seek to help, and to what extent their programs and the changes produced are sustainable. His research interest in sustainability ranges across social sciences, agriculture and natural resource management.

Dr Trish Fleming

Physiology, Behavioural Ecology, Wildlife Conservation

Dr Trish Fleming is Senior Lecturer in Physiology in Murdoch’s School of Veterinary and Biomedical Sciences.  Much of Trish’s research focuses on translational ecology, where improving the understanding of the physiology and behaviour of animals has conservation or welfare implications. 

Trish has been working on nectarivorous birds in collaboration with researchers at the University of Pretoria, South Africa. These birds are faced with extreme physiological challenges due to their diet and their tiny size. Comparing and contrasting how honeyeaters (Australia) and sunbirds (southern Africa) deal with their nectar diet reveals common physiological mechanisms as well as evolutionary divergence.

She is also involved in behavioural ecology projects across the two continents, examining factors that influence antipredator responses in animals, including lizards, birds and invertebrates. Autotomy (the defensive loss of a body part in order to escape entrapment) in invertebrates and lizards is a central topic in this research.

Other work investigates the links between physiology and behaviour in mole-rats and aspects of the general biology, breeding, foraging behaviour and dispersal patterns in various mammal species.

Dr Phil Gorey

Environmental and mining securities regulatory and policy reform

Dr Phil Gorey is the Executive Director Environment with the Western Australian State Government’s Department of Mines and Petroleum, and is appointed as an Adjunct Associate Professor at Murdoch University’s School of Public Policy and International Affairs. Phil joined the Department of Mines and Petroleum in 2009, and has 20 years experience in environmental regulation, including impact assessment, and regulatory and policy reform.

Phil has worked in technical and policy roles relating to environment management in State Governments in metropolitan and regional areas of Victoria and South Australia. In Western Australia--one of the largest mineral resource jurisdictions in the World--Phil has overseen significant environmental regulatory and policy reforms for the mining sector over recent years. Most notably these have related to the implementation of new mine closure standards, and the development and introduction of a major overhaul of the state’s mining securities system: the Mining Rehabilitation Fund.

Professor John Howieson

Sustainable agriculture, nitrogen fixation in legumes

Professor John Howieson is an internationally recognised expert in sustainable agriculture, specialising in the nitrogen fixation of legume crops. His research interests include the selection and development of root nodule bacteria as commercial inoculants for agricultural legumes, and the selection of annual and perennial legumes for sustainable agriculture. He has led the discovery program for several new pasture and forage legumes in Australian agriculture.

Currently he is on the steering committee for the project “N2Africa: Putting nitrogen fixation to work for smallholder farmers in Africa”. This US$20 million program is funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, that sees legume science as a key to increasing food security in Africa and Murdoch University as playing a vital and key role in delivering that security.

Professor Howieson and team are also involved in two other ACIAR-funded projects in Africa, ECCAL –Eastern Cape Arable Lands and SIMLESA –Sustainable Implementation of Legumes in Maize Cropping Systems, led through the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Centre, CIMMYT, with a node at Murdoch.

Professor Samuel Makinda

Security, Terrorism and Counter-Terrorism

Professor Samuel Makinda is the Professor of Politics and International Studies and the Chair of Security, Terrorism and Counter-Terrorism Studies at Murdoch University. He is a member of the Council for Security Cooperation in the Asia-Pacific. Professor Makinda served on the Australian Foreign Minister’s National Consultative Committee for International Security Issues between 2001 and 2008. He has research experience in the following areas: security and governance in Africa; the UN and peace building; transnational terrorism; and security in Southeast Asia and the Middle East. He has published four books and more than 100 refereed journal articles and book chapters.

Professor Makinda was invited by the Kenyan Government to serve as a consultant to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in 2007, during which time he helped establish the Foreign Service Institute. In 2009, the Kenyan Government invited him to address the biennial conference of Kenya’s ambassadors and high commissioners in Diani Beach, Mombasa. He previously worked with the Foreign Affairs Group in the Parliamentary Research Service at the Australian Federal Parliament in 1980s, where he briefed Members of House of Representatives, Senators, Ministers and Parliamentary Committees on various international security issues. He is a former editor of the Daily Nation (Nairobi) and wrote a weekly column for the Nairobi-based Business Daily from 2007 to 2012.

Professor Simon Mallal

Simon Mallal MBBS is Professor of Medicine and Director of the Center for Translational Immunology and Infectious Diseases at Vanderbilt University, USA and Director of the Institute of Immunology and Infectious Diseases at Murdoch University and Clinical Immunologist and Immunopathologist at Royal Perth Hospital in Western Australia.

Dr. Mallal completed his training in Internal Medicine and Clinical Immunology and training in Pathology in Western Australia before undertaking a post-doctoral fellowship in Infectious Diseases at Johns Hopkins Medical School. He has undertaken clinical practice management altering research throughout his career which has informed and directed his basic science research. This has had impacts over time in the domains of: reproductive endocrinology (1978 – 82), genetic disease association studies (1987 – present), immune restoration disease in HIV (1994 onwards), improved efficacy of antiretroviral therapy (1988 onwards), mitochondrial toxicity and metabolic complications of antiretroviral therapy (1997 on), use of pharmacogenetic tests to avoid drug hypersensitivity (2002 on) and HIV and Hepatitis C adaptation to HLA restricted immune responses to support vaccine immunogen design and potential eradication approaches. The impact on clinical and healthcare practice and policy in these domains has been important, as has the development of new multidisciplinary capacity and approaches to translational medicine. This culminated in the establishment of a purpose-built translational medicine Institute which he leads. He has authored over 200 articles and book chapters and given over 215 presentations at scientific meetings. He serves on several international scientific committees and advisory boards and received the Western Australian Premiers Science Award in 2006.

Dr Mark P McHenry

Energy and water technology, agricultural productivity

Dr Mark P McHenry researches within the School of Engineering and Information Technology, and the Division of Research and Development at Murdoch University in Western Australia.

Dr McHenry's research focuses on a diverse range of topics, including: clean energy technology; agricultural system productivity; international, regional, and rural development; technology performance; climate change policy; carbon markets; research collaboration, and; water intensive technology.

Dr McHenry has undertaken numerous research positions, and is currently located at Sandia National Laboratories on the Kirtland Air Force Base in New Mexico, USA as a visiting postdoctoral Fulbright scholar. Dr McHenry has published over 50 peer reviewed journal articles and edited book chapters, and is involved in various collaborative research projects in a number of countries, including the USA, Philippines, South Africa, Mozambique, Tanzania, Spain, Kenya, and Liberia.

Dr McHenry is heavily involved in several collaborative multi-national research projects focussed on Mozambique, Liberia, and Kenya. These include three AusAID's Development Research Awards Scheme funded projects: "Driving policy innovation in mine closure and abandonment management, environmental risk mitigation and rehabilitation of abandoned mine sites as a pro-development strategy"; “Towards a model of ‘patient procurement’; Leveraging mining infrastructure and procurement needs in Mozambique and Liberia for robust and enduring agricultural supply chain productivity and development”, and; “Building the case: Leveraging Mozambique’s natural resource wealth for sustainable investments in water and sanitation”.

Associate Professor Martin Mhando

Filmmaking and African cinema

Martin Mhando is an Associate Professor at the School of Media, Communication and Culture. He is a filmmaker with an award-winning feature and documentary films to his credit.

Martin’s areas of research include documentary theory, film production praxis, African cinema, world cinema and Indigenous knowledge. He often serves on festival juries and has also served as curator of international festivals.

A recent project with Associate Professor Mick Broderick will allow audiences in Rwanda and Tanzania to see a program of Indigenous films from Western Australia. The program of features, documentaries and shorts, including works from Murdoch University’s creative practitioners, will screen at both the Rwandan and Zanzibar international film festivals. This project recognises Murdoch University’s ongoing research commitment to, and capacity building in, the East African region.”

Martin’s awards and achievements include:

  • Recipient of Zeze Award 2006 in Tanzania for contribution to the arts in Tanzania
  • Winner of The Paul Robeson Award (2004) for the film Maangamizi for Excellence in Independent filmmaking
  • Nominated for the Academy Award (Foreign Film Section) 2001 for film Maangamizi.

Associate Professor Angus Morrison-Saunders

Dr Angus Morrison-Saunders has a joint appointment as Associate Professor in Environmental Assessment, Murdoch University, Australia and Extraordinary Professor in Environmental Sciences and Management, North West University, South Africa.

For more than two decades he has been involved in environmental impact assessment (EIA) research, education and training, and is co-Editor of Impact Assessment and Project Appraisal. Building on his earlier research on evaluating the effectiveness of environmental impact assessment, he is now active in the rapidly emerging field of sustainability assessment theory and practice.

Dr Morrison-Saunders’ research focuses on evaluating the outcomes of all forms of impact assessment and their contribution to sustainability. He has collaborated with many impact assessment practitioners worldwide, and Africa in particular, and published more than 50 international refereed journal articles across the spectrum of EIA, strategic and sustainability assessment. He has participated in statutory reviews of EIA legislation and procedures in South Africa, and in Australia.

Dr Morrison-Saunders is the Project Investigator on a collaborative multi-national research project entitled "Driving policy innovation in mine closure and abandonment management, environmental risk mitigation and rehabilitation of abandoned mine sites as a pro-development strategy" funded through the AusAID Development Research Awards Scheme 2012 Funding Round which will be implemented from April 2013 to June 2015. This project focuses on the contribution that mining activity can make to sustainable development with an emphasis on the mine closure planning phase of major mining projects in Australia and five sub-Saharan African countries.

Dr Morrison-Saunders has received several awards in recognition of his contribution to teaching and training activities from Australian and international organisations.

Dr Hudson Mtegha

Mining administration, regional mining bodies, and in African minerals policy development and implementation

Dr Hudson Mtegha is a senior lecturer at the University of the Witwatersrand in the School of Mining Engineering, teaching mining methods and mineral policy. Prior to academia Hudson had worked in the Southern African mining industry for over 25 years in the private sector, in public mining administration, regional mining bodies, and in minerals policy research. He has also acted as independent mining consultant at various points in his career. Hudson’s area of interest is in African minerals policy development and implementation.

Hudson has a Bachelor's degree in Physics and Chemistry from the University of Malawi; a Bachelor’s degree in Mining Engineering from the University of Wales, UK; a Master’s degree in Mining Engineering from McGill University, Canada; and a PhD in Mining Engineering (mineral Policy) from the University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa.

Associate Professor John Mugambwa

Land law and land tenure in developing countries

John Mugambwa is an Associate Professor at the Murdoch University School of Law where his main area of research interest is land law and land tenure in developing countries. He has published extensively in the field, including a number of books and journal articles, specifically on Ugandan and Papua New Guinean land law and policy.

For the past three years, he has worked as one of the two international sub-consultants (land law experts) for the International Development Association sponsored project: “Uganda Private Sector Competitiveness Project II”. The overall goal of the project is to create an enabling environment that will promote investment and poverty reduction in the country. The land component of the project, in which he is engaged, has the added objective of creating an efficient and corruption-free land administration system and a land information system, which will facilitate the creation of a secure and effective land market. In this capacity, he has conducted a comprehensive review of all Uganda’s land-based laws, written issues papers and proposed new legislation.

Professor Shashi Sharma

Food security and biosecurity

Dr Shashi Sharma is an expert in policy, regulation and science relating to biosecurity risk management, market access and trade and agriculture protection. He has extensive first-hand experience of working in several countries in Asia and Africa, the UK and the USA.

He is a strong advocate of biosecurity as an integral part of global food security and has been internationally speaking on biosecurity and food security issues for a number of years.

He is former Director, Plant Biosecurity at the Department of Agriculture and Food Western Australia, ex-Head and Professor, Division of Nematology at the Indian Agriculture Research Institute and Scientist at the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics. He has authored/co-authored over 200 publications, including two books. Presently he is Leader of the Safeguarding Trade program of Australia’s Plant Biosecurity Cooperative Research Centre. He sits on several national and international committees and has until recently served as Chairman of three industry committees in Western Australia – the Grains Industry Biosecurity Committee, the Horticulture Industry Biosecurity Committee and the Bee Industry Consultative Committee.

Dr Rochelle Spencer

International aid and development, capacity building, and ethical tourism

Dr Rochelle Spencer is an anthropologist who has worked in different contexts with NGOs. Rochelle's strengths lie in analysing the factors driving poverty, marginalization and vulnerability in the developing world; designing and implementing capacity building strategies to redress these factors; translating complex issues and stories into well-analysed, coherent and compelling narratives to a wide audience including government agencies, NGOs, private sector, donors, and academia; and producing quality reports that demonstrate high levels of accountability.

Dr Tania Urmee

Renewable Energy, Rural electrification, Energy Efficiency, Climate Change Adaptation and Mitigation

Dr Tania Urmee is a lecturer of Energy Studies at Murdoch University. Tania is best known for her work in the areas of rural electrification using renewable energy, energy and sustainable development and energy efficiency in buildings. She is also involved in research on climate change mitigation using renewable energy and reducing energy consumption using solar water heater.