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. Jeff Kinch is an Adjunct Research Fellow in the Pacific Livelihoods Group at Curtin University. In addition, he is the Principal of the National Fisheries College, supervising the Nago Island Mariculture and Research Facility in Papua New Guinea. He has over 24 years’ experience in project management in various donor-funded fisheries development management programmes and projects with the European Union, United Nations and the Asian Development Bank and has also worked for the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Program and the Pacific Community.  On a practical level, he has experience in socio-economic and environmental impact assessments, analysis of market chains, and issues surrounding climate change impacts on fisheries-focussed livelihoods.  He has also conducted several evaluations for government, NGOs and regional agencies in the Pacific Islands Region with a particular focus on Melanesia and Papua New Guinea in particular.  He has authored or co-authored a number of documents including peer-reviewed journal articles as well as many other technical reports, proposals, evaluations, reviews, education and awareness materials on a wide range of topics relating to fisheries and their management and development in the Pacific Islands Region.

Dr. Reuben Sengere is a socio-economist with Papua New Guinea’s Coffee Industry Corporation (CIC) and an Adjunct Research Fellow in the Pacific livelihoods Research Group. He has a background in agriculture, science communication and social sciences. He engages in development studies with particular interest in socio economics. Reuben is the Papua New Guinea lead researcher on the project ‘Improving livelihoods of smallholder coffee communities in Papua New Guinea’.

Dr. Jagannath Adhikaari is an Adjunct Research Fellow in Human Geography at Curtin University. He has over 20 years research, teaching and consultancy experiences in various areas of international development. His particular interests are sustainable livelihoods; sustainable development; food security in both rural and urban context; globalisation, migration, remittances and development; sustainable agriculture; participatory natural resources management; land management and land reform; agrarian change and livelihoods. He has provided consultancy services to various international agencies like World Bank, WFP, UN/FAO, DFID, and UNDP.

Dr. Ivo Syndicus is an Adjunct Research Fellow at Curtin and Postdoctoral Research Fellow in Social Sciences at the Royal Veterinary College, University of London. Ivo is trained in anthropology, rural development, natural resource management and agriculture ecology, and has an abiding research interest in how processes of social change, including univer­sity education, intersect with the transformation of land use and agricultural production systems in Papua New Guinea, the Bolivian Andes and South Asia. He was involved in a national assessment of the cocoa value chain in Papua New Guinea for the European Commission, a summary of which can be found here:

Dr. Myrtille Lacoste is an Adjunct Research Fellow at Curtin University. Her research investigates the trajectories of rural societies as they co-evolve with the managed environment: diversity in farming resources and practices, productivities, constraints and opportunities for resilient development. She has worked in Australia, East-Timor, Indonesia and Honduras on topics that included marginal seed systems, digital technologies, landscape heterogeneity, farmers’ learnings. She uses mixed methods approaches and the concept of the agrarian system (comparative agriculture) to capture farmers’ management and circumstances. Her latest work examined the global rise of a new type of on-farm experimentation which harnesses farmers’ own research to support change.

Dr. Sudeep Thing is an early career academic, currently teaching geography as a casual academic at Curtin University. His PhD in Social Science (completed in 2014 with a Vice Chancellor’s commendation) critically discussed the ethnography of marginalised Sonaha indigenous minorities resisting conservation regime in Bardia National Park, lowland Nepal and concomitant conservation conflicts and spatial politics. More broadly, Sudeep’s work deals with the political ecology of conservation, conservation and equity, indigenous peoples’ rights and customary livelihoods, indigenous peoples’ and community conserved areas and territories (known as ICCAs or Territories of Life) and has appeared in peer-reviewed journals, book chapters and reports. Currently, Sudeep is affiliated with the ICCA Consortium and collaborates with socio-environmental NGOs and indigenous peoples’ organisations in Nepal to advance equity, human rights and social justice for all communities governing, managing and conserving their territories of life in Nepal.

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.