Research Staff

Prof. George Curry is a Geographer at Curtin University. George’s teaching and research interests are in the areas of Development Studies, migration, rural geography, and research methods. Most of his research has been in rural Papua New Guinea, examining sociocultural and economic change associated with the transition to a market economy. Much of his research is at the household or village level, often involving extended periods of fieldwork. He uses a sustainable livelihoods approach to investigate how export cash cropping and labour migration are accommodated within quasi-subsistence economies, where indigenous relations of production and exchange and communal land tenure are still extant. George is currently leading a research project investigating the livelihoods of coffee smallholder communities in Papua New Guinea. This research is in collaboration with other Australian and Papua New Guinean researchers. George has co-authored a number of journal articles, industry and research reports and manuals for agricultural extension officers. From 2001 to 2009, he was Co-editor of Geographical Research: The Journal of the Institute of Australian Geographers.

Assoc. Prof. Gina Koczberski is a Geographer and a Senior Research Fellow at Curtin University. She has over 25 years of research experience in PNG working on issues around internal migration and migrant livelihoods, land tenure, agricultural and rural change, gender, and smallholder production and livelihood practices. Since 2000 she has been involved in several research projects examining socio-economic change in smallholder oil palm and cocoa production in PNG, with an emphasis on examining how changing demographic, economic and social circumstances influence household relations of production and strategies of commodity crop production. Gina is currently examining food security among cocoa and oil palm farmers in PNG and farmers’ responses to stressors and shocks on their agricultural systems. She is also leading a research project on rural women’s engagement in small-scale agricultural enterprises in PNG. Most of her research is in collaboration with other Australian and Papua New Guinean researchers. Gina has co-authored a number of journal articles, industry and research reports and manuals for agricultural extension officers.

Dr. Timothy Sharp is a Research Fellow in Geography at Curtin University. His research explores the social dimensions of economic activity in Papua New Guinea (PNG), with a particular focus on marketplaces, trade intermediaries, livelihood strategies, informal economy, hybridity, and the geography of development. Tim’s 2012 doctoral research is the first detailed study of the betel nut trade in PNG. It focused on the social dynamics of trading relations within the highlands, and examined the changing nature of trade and marketplaces in PNG. Tim has worked as a consultant in PNG in the areas of social impact assessment, household and livelihood surveys and resettlement associated with extractive resource development, and has lectured on development and resource conflict in Melanesia. He has extensive experience in Papua New Guinea, where he has conducted field research in fifteen provinces. His current research focuses on the growing involvement of intermediaries in marketplaces, women’s agricultural enterprises, and the livelihoods and production practices of coffee smallholders.

Dr. Warrick Fort is an early career researcher at Curtin University. Born in Mt. Maunganui NZ, he is a member of the Tūhoe people from the Te Urewera region of Te Ika a Māui (NZ’s North Island). Warrick’s academic background is in Urban and Regional Planning, and his PhD research investigated entrepreneurship and networking in historical and contemporary (Indigenous) settings. Warrick is a co-convenor for the Indigenous Peoples Knowledges and Rights Study Group; a research collective within the Institute of Australian Geographers. Warrick is currently researching financial inclusion and formal & informal microfinance initiatives in PNG and other developing countries.

Sean Ryan is a part time research associate at Curtin University. Sean completed his Masters at Curtin in 2015, in which he examined educational attainment among oil palm smallholders in Papua New Guinea. His research interests include development studies, economic geography and sustainable livelihoods relating to cash crop farmers. His current research examines inequalities in educational opportunities among oil palm settlers in Papua New Guinea.

Linda Browning is a research assistant within the livelihoods research program. She works on all projects to assist with administration.

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