An environmental sociologist with research interests including biodiversity conservation, adaptation to environmental change, and food security in poor agricultural communities, will be the next Director of The Cairns Institute at James Cook University.
Professor Stewart Lockie is presently Head of the School of Sociology at the Australian National University. He will join JCU in January 2014.
“We are pleased to announce the appointment of a researcher with an impressive record in areas that mesh well with The Cairns Institute’s focus on the complex challenges facing people and societies in the tropics,” JCU’s Senior Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Professor Chris Cocklin, said.
Professor Lockie said JCU’s research strengths had attracted him to the role.
“All of Australia’s regional universities do a great job supporting their local communities and students, but JCU really is the stand-out on research performance, and is showing international leadership in research for and about the tropics,” he said.
Professor Lockie is President of the International Sociological Association’s research committee on environment and society, and a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences in Australia.
As The Cairns Institute’s second leader, following Foundation Director Professor Hurriyet Babacan, Professor Lockie said one of his roles would be to internationalise the work and profile of the Institute.
“I will be building on the great work that has already gone into The Cairns Institute, and aiming to make JCU a byword for excellence in cultural and social studies of the tropics, as it is already for marine and rainforest science,” he said.
“There is a lot of interest among governments as to how the social sciences and humanities can help us understand and deal with the great challenges we face, such as climate change and food security. I see an important role there for The Cairns Institute.”
Professor Lockie’s current research includes an Australian Research Council Discovery project focused on aspects of climate governance. He is also involved with projects on regional minerals futures and the public safety of energy pipelines.
He said he and his family were looking forward to making the move from Canberra to the far north. “My first job as an academic was at Central Queensland University in Rockhampton, where I spent 13 years. We are all excited about returning to the tropics.”
Professor Sue McGinty will be Acting Director of The Cairns Institute until Professor Lockie takes up his position in 2014.
Issued May 21, 2013
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