About the Institute

The UWA Oceans Institute brings together the University’s multidisciplinary research strengths across areas including oceanography, ecology, engineering, resource management and governance to address key ocean challenges. We work with local, state and federal governments, industry and business, research institutions and the community to help generate solutions towards the sustainable use of ocean resources.

Our Mission

We provide innovative and effective solutions to challenges facing the world’s oceans.

Our Strategy

The Ocean Institute’s mission is to draw on our world-leading marine research to tackle issues of national and global significance. We are uniquely placed to provide ocean solutions to real-world challenges, through the breadth and depth of our marine expertise, our state-of-the-art facilities and geographic reach.

Our People

Oceans Institute External Advisory Board

Made up of senior representatives from major research institutions, industry and government, the Oceans Institute External Advisory Board provides independent, high-level advice on industry and policy needs, as well as trends in the Indian Ocean region, to guide our strategic planning.

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Mr Jock Clough

Chair, UWA Oceans Institute Advisory Board

Jock has an extensive background in the engineering, finance and aquaculture industries. He is also an advisory board member at The Nature Conservancy (Australia), is on the advisory committee of the WA Maritime Museum and is a co-trustee of The Jock Clough Marine Foundation.

Dr Erica Smyth

Dr Erica Smyth AC

Chair, National Offshore Petroleum Safety and Environment Management Authority (NOPSEMA) Ministerial Advisory Board

Erica has 45 years of experience in the mineral and petroleum industries. She is the Chair of NOPSEMA and holds several non-executive director roles. Erica has recently been appointed as Interim Chair of the MI4 CRC bid.

Dr Larry Madin

Dr Larry Madin

Senior Science Advisor, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution

An American marine biologist, Larry began researching plankton in the 1970s and was a pioneer of in situ methods, including open ocean SCUBA diving and the use of submersibles and remote vehicles. Larry has served on over 70 ocean expeditions across the globe.

Professor Carmen Lawrence

Professor Carmen Lawrence

Professorial Emerita, School of Psychology, UWA

After training as a research psychologist, Carmen entered politics in 1986, serving at both state and federal levels for 21 years. After shifting to federal politics in 1994 she became Minister for Health and Human Services and Minister assisting the Prime Minister on the Status of Women. Carmen retired from politics in 2007.

Professor John Chandler

Professor John Chandler

Co-Director, Centre for Mining, Energy and Natural Resources Law, UWA

John has specialised in mining and petroleum development law for more than 30 years, as a partner in leading law firms such as Freehills, and as a company director. John has been involved in projects including the Argyle Diamond Project, the Channar iron ore mine and the Bayu-Undan oil and gas project.

Adjunct Professor Luke Smith

Adjunct Professor Luke Smith

Chief Environmental Scientist, Woodside Energy

Luke has worked on several major oil and gas developments both in Australia and internationally. He has over 20 years of experience in managing large marine research programs focused on understanding oil and gas-based environmental science and management and has authored two books.

The Oceans Institute Team


Michael Small profile image

Acting Director – Associate Professor Julian Partridge

Julian is a marine biologist with internationally recognised expertise in animal sensory systems and deep-sea biology. With over 30 years of research and teaching experience at world-leading universities in the UK and Australia, much of Julian’s work has linked engineering with biology. Julian’s experience in science and business development enhance UWA’s marine research collaborations and capabilities.

Michael Small profile image

Business Support Manager – Robert Pemberton

Robert has 9 years’ experience in marine science and business development, having worked across Asia Pacific, Europe, and the Middle East. He has worked on metocean projects for the oil and gas industry, offshore wind and tidal energy projects, port developments, and government coastal monitoring programmes. Robert holds a Bachelor of Oceanography degree from the University of Southampton, UK.  


Executive Assistant –Dirima Cuthbert

Dirima is an ethnographer, researcher, and project manager with a BSc (Hons Anthropology), BDes (Architecture) and an almost finished Masters Degree in Environmental Design. In her work supporting the Oceans Institute, Dirima combines her passion for sustainable futures with a deep love for being in, under, on and beside the ocean.  As OI Executive Assistant, Dirima brings a range of valuable skills and expertise to the OI core team.



Contact Us

The University of Western Australia, Crawley, Perth, Western Australia 6009

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Find us on campus

Ocean Marine Research Centre, Building 453 (Corner of Fairway and Fairway Entrance 4).

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