The Australia India Institute @UWA was established in 2019 as an affiliate-centre of Australia-India Institute, University of Melbourne with the explicit aim of promoting India-focussed research at UWA. AII@UWA aims to create new networks to strengthen UWA’s capacity in research, teaching and engagement relevant to India. Capitalising on UWA’s location as the only Australian city in the Indian Ocean region, AII@UWA seeks to strengthen India-focussed research and regional and international collaborations, in line with UWA’s Vision 2030.
AII@UWA is working towards establishing a community of India-focussed academics and students within UWA, with the goal of:
- becoming the leading centre for India-related research in Western Australia
- matching UWA strengths to Indian government priorities and funding
- identifying and supporting ongoing and potential research collaborations with Indian partners
- creating an India-focussed network for academics, students and relevant regional and international policy networks.
Current research projects
Australia-India Institute Next Generation Network Scholars are engaged in cutting-edge India-focussed research:
Dr Mona Chettri is conducting research on urbanisation, development and gender in the eastern Himalaya. Her research looks at contemporary changes in regional towns and cities in India’s borderlands which are undergoing rapid economic, demographic and social transformations. Her research focuses specifically on the impact of these changes on female labour, urban landscape and inter-ethnic/racial relations in the eastern Himalaya.
Dr Srinivas Goli is investigating population dynamics and its implications for public health, food security and nutritional inequalities, and its social determinants, demographics of gender, and regional developmental issues in developing countries in general and India in particular. His most current research focuses on emerging concerns in union formation, family demography, household economics, gender and social equity, and the well-being of vulnerable populations.
- Professor Anu Rammohan
Professor Anu Rammohan is a Professor of Economics. She is the academic lead for UWA’s Australia India Institute node. Her research is in Development Economics and Health Economics.
The focus of her research has been on understanding household vulnerability and socio-economic factors that can influence maternal and child health outcomes, gender and food security issues in South and South East Asia, particularly in India, Indonesia and more recently in Myanmar. Her recent research has focused on two central areas- (i) the analysis of intra-household distribution of health and education in developing countries, and its implications for the household’s children, women and the elderly, and (ii) food and nutritional security in rural areas of developing countries. Her research has been widely published, and has been funded by research grants from the Australian Research Council, DFAT, Australian Council of International Agriculture Research and the Australia India Institute. She is currently on the Editorial Board of The Economic Record, Australia’s top-ranked Economics policy journal.
- Dr Mona Chettri
Dr Mona Chettri received her PhD from the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London in 2014. She is the author of Constructing Democracy: Ethnicity and Democracy in the eastern Himalaya (Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press, 2017) and has published widely on urbanisation, ethnicity, politics and development (hydro-power projects and pharmaceutical industry) in the eastern Himalayan borderland with a special focus on Sikkim and Darjeeling.
Her current research focuses on the intersections between gender, labour, urbanisation and infrastructure in the Sikkim-Darjeeling Himalaya, India.
- Dr Srinivas Goli
Before joining UWA, Dr Srinivas Goli was an Assistant Professor at JNU (2015-to-present), GIDS (from-2013-to-2015) and a visiting faculty at the University of Gottingen, Germany.
His research interest includes population dynamics and its implications for development, families, public health, nutrition and gender inequalities and its social determinants. He published more than 70 journal articles in reputed international journals and five reports and co-authored a book.
He obtained some government and non-governmental competitive research grants. He is also serving as an academic editor of PLOS One: Journal of Science and Medicine.
Our Honorary Research Fellows
- Dr Girish Bahal
Dr Girish Bahal is an Assistant Professor of Economics at the UWA Business School. His key areas of research are networks in economics, macroeconomics and labour economics.
He is a principal investigator of the project ‘Social Identities and the Labour Market’. The project is a joint venture with the Indian Institute of Management, Bangalore, and Azim Premji University that aims to identify the exact pathways through which social identities – particularly gender, ethnicity and religion – affect an individual’s socioeconomic outcomes. He is also affiliated with the Centre for Applied Macroeconomic Analysis (CAMA) at the Crawford School of Public Policy, ANU, as a research associate.
Before joining UWA, Girish worked at the International Monetary Fund (Washington DC) and the National Council of Applied Economic Research (New Delhi). Girish received his PhD in Economics from the University of Cambridge (UK) in 2017, where he was a Cambridge-Nehru scholar.
- Professor Martin Barbetti
Professor Martin Barbetti’s research focuses on providing a better understanding of the epidemiology and management of a wide range of foliar and soilborne pathogens across a diverse array of broad-acre and horticultural crops. His findings have been widely adopted to improve disease control.
Martin comes from a farming background and was a plant pathologist at the Department of Primary Production and Regional Development Western Australia before he joined UWA in 2004. A major focus of his research has been on diseases of oilseed Brassicas and forage legumes.
He has more than 30 years of experience researching diseases of oilseed and vegetable Brassicas, forage and crop legumes, cereals (including rice) and a diverse array of horticultural crops. He has an extensive track record in building collaborations across international (e.g. India, China, Europe and Africa) and national research institutions, including academia, government and farmers, as evidenced by the large number of co-authored publications arising from these connections.
- Dr Tushar Bharati
Tushar Bharati is an Assistant Professor of Economics in the Economics department at the UWA Business School.
His key areas of research are development economics, economics of education and labour economics.
Tushar received his PhD in Economics from the University of Southern California, Los Angeles in 2018.
- Associate Professor Rachel Cardell-Oliver
Associate Professor Rachel Cardell-Oliver is the Head of the Department of Computer Science and Software Engineering at UWA. She designs intelligent systems that integrate data from environmental sensors and then works with the data to tell a story.
Her research solves problems that allow us to live better with the environment with smart water metering, wastewater treatment, sustainable housing, public transport and measuring environmental impact in the Australian bush.
- Dr Ishita Chatterjee
Dr Ishita Chatterjee is an applied microeconomist with interests in socio-political issues and their impact on economic development, institutions and policy formation. Her recent publication looks at the issue of son preference in India and also the gender gap in primary educational outcome in India.
Her current research is directed towards wellbeing, health and education with a focus on women and children in developing and less developed economies.
Ishita Chatterjee serves as a council member of the Economic Society of Australia, WA branch. She also acts as a moderator of economics units for the UWA Foundation Program.
- Professor Amitava Datta
Amitava Datta is a professor in the Department of Computer Science and Software Engineering at UWA.
Amitava has more than 30 years of research experience in many areas of computer science.
His current research interests are in design and analysis of algorithms, application of machine learning for large-scale data analysis, computational molecular biology and high-performance computing.
- Dr Alexander Davis
Dr Alexander E Davis is a lecturer in International Relations at UWA.
Alex's research looks at international relations from historical, critical and postcolonial perspectives, particularly in South Asia. His current research focuses on colonial legacies in India's borderlands, particularly the Indian Ocean and the Himalaya.
He is head of the Australian Himalaya Research Network and a foundation member of the network New International Histories of South Asia.
- Professor Vaille Dawson
Vaille Dawson is Professor of Science Education in the UWA Graduate School of Education where she supervises doctoral and master’s students and teaches preservice secondary science education.
For the past 20 years, she has conducted science education research at secondary and tertiary levels. Her research interests include scientific literacy, teacher education, argumentation and decision-making, critical thinking, socio-scientific issues, and teaching in disadvantaged schools.
Vaille has received funding from the Australian Research Council and the Australia India Institute and conducted professional development on equity and science inquiry for middle school science teachers in Mumbai and Gwalior, India. Vaille has co-edited four widely used preservice science teacher education textbooks.
She has published 17 book chapters, 55 peer reviewed journal papers and presented more than 100 conference papers at local, national and international conferences. She is Fellow of the Royal Society of Biology and an Honorary Senior Research Associate at University College London.
- Associate Professor Michael Gillan
Dr Michael Gillan is an Associate Professor at the UWA Business School. He has published in a wide range of national and international journals, including Economic Geography, Journal of Contemporary Asia, Asian Studies Review, South Asia, Contemporary South Asia and the Journal of Industrial Relations.
His current research interests encompass global union federations, transnational labour regulation, the political economy of liberalisation and labour movements in India, and employment relations in Myanmar. He is a past president of the South Asian Studies Association of Australia.
- Professor Jane Heyworth
Professor Jane Heyworth is an environmental epidemiologist with more than 30 years of experience in environmental health research, policy and practice. She is currently Deputy Head of the UWA School of Population and Global Health.
Jane’s specific research interests are in air, noise and water quality and their impact on health. She has received more than $16 million in research funding and has 131 publications. Jane has worked in non-government agencies in Sri Lanka, India, Hawaii and Brazil in assessing the risk associated with rainwater consumption and also provided advice to the WHO South East Asia Regional Office on a guidance document on health aspects of rainwater harvesting and storage.
Jane’s main areas of teaching are epidemiology and environmental health. In October 2008, Jane worked with the Achutha Menon Centre for Health Sciences in Trivandrum, Kerala, India to revise their MPH unit in Environmental Health. Jane had led several trips for UWA students to work on public health issues in Southern India and Nepal.
- Dr Sam Illingworth
Dr Sam Illingworth is a Senior Lecturer in Science Communication at UWA.
His research involves using poetry and games to develop dialogue between scientists and non-scientists, giving voice to those communities that are often ignored by science.
Find out more about his work by visiting his website.
- Associate Professor Amir Karton
Associate Professor Amir Karton leads the theoretical and computational chemistry group at UWA. His research interests focus on developing quantum chemical theory for the calculation of highly accurate chemical properties and applying these theories to problems of chemical structure, mechanism and design.
Amir’s applied studies span several disciplines, ranging from biochemistry to nanochemistry. These include the computational design of functional 2D materials and elucidating the mechanisms of atmospheric and astrochemical reactions.
Recent awards include the American Chemical Society (ACS) Journal of Physical Chemistry – PHYS Division Lectureship Award (2020), the Royal Australian Chemical Institute (RACI) Physical Chemistry Division Lectureship (2019), and the Le Fèvre Medal from the Australian Academy of Science (2018). Amir serves as an Editor of Chemical Physics Letters and an Associate Editor of the Australian Journal of Chemistry.
Read more on his website.
- Dr Parwinder Kaur
Dr Parwinder Kaur leads an innovative Translational Genomics research program that aims to translate fundamental science into ready-to-use solutions across the agricultural and medical sectors.
Her DNA Lab team enables research to span the spectrum of scientific activities beyond the traditional ‘Lab-to-Landscape’ model, using new age technologies such as CRISPR, single-cell and 3D genomics. With DNA Zoo Australia, she is on a mission to provide genomic empowerment to unique Australian biodiversity facilitating conservation efforts for the threatened and endangered species.
She has made substantial contributions to the field of biotechnology and was appointed as UWA ‘Be Inspired’ for Agricultural and Environmental Biotechnology in 2019. She has been honoured with the prestigious Science and Innovation Award for Young People in Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry by the Australian Academy of Sciences in 2013. DNA Zoo’s innovative work developments won the Microsoft's AI for Earth award for 2019–20.
She is an active mentor for gender equity, a Women in Technology WA Role Model and GirlsXTech international ambassador working to close the gender gap in technology.
- Dr Ram Pandit
Dr Ram Pandit is an Environmental and Resource Economist at the UWA School of Agriculture and Environment. He has research interests in conservation and development issues.
His research focuses on causes and consequences of environmental and resource management policies to help improve environmental and natural resource management. His current works include economics of threatened species conservation, socioeconomic impacts of protected area policies and valuation of urban green space. He teaches Environmental Economics, Environmental and Resource Economics, and Development Economics.
He is a member of the Commission on Environmental, Economic and Social Policy (CEESP) and World Commissions on Protected Areas (WCPA) of the IUCN. He also coordinates the Economics of Biodiversity and Protected Areas working group of the International Union of Forest Research Organizations (IUFRO). He has contributed to Land Degradation and Restoration, and Regional Assessment of the Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services in the Asia-Pacific of the IPBES (Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services).
- Associate Professor Julian Partridge
Associate Professor Julian Partridge is Acting Director of the UWA Oceans Institute, which brings together the University’s multidisciplinary research strengths across areas including oceanography, ecology, engineering, resource management and governance to address key ocean challenges.
The Oceans Institute’s diverse members 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. The Oceans Institute is actively developing links with Indian marine research institutes and universities with marine research interests.
Julian is a marine biologist with internationally recognised expertise in animal sensory systems and deep-sea biology. With more than 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.
- Dr Kosala Ranathunge
Dr Kosala Ranathunge received his BSc (Hons) in Agricultural Biology from the University of Peradeniya, Sri Lanka, in 2000 and PhD in Natural Sciences from the University of Bayreuth, Germany, in 2005.
In 2007, he was awarded the prestigious Alexander-von-Humboldt Fellowship at the University of Bonn, Germany. In 2011, he moved to the University of Guelph, Canada, as a research associate where he worked on understanding plant responses to nitrogen limitation for the improvement of nitrogen use efficiency in economically important crop plants.
Since 2016, he has been working at UWA on fascinating research projects to understand the efficient phosphorus acquiring and utilising mechanisms of Australian native plants (Proteaceae). In June 2017, he was awarded an ARC Future Fellowship to continue research on Australian native plants.
- Associate Professor Mark Reynolds
Associate Professor Mark Reynolds was co-founder of a research group in Real-time Optimisation, Scheduling and Logistics while serving in management roles in the Engineering and Mathematical Sciences.
He is internationally recognised for work on temporal and related logics in computer science with applications to ensuring correct behaviour of complex dynamic hardware and software systems. He is an author of one of the most cited large research monographs in the area of temporal logic for computer science and has published more than 100 papers in international journals and conferences. He has received research grant funding from the UK EPSRC, the Australian ARC research council, industry and WA state government departments for projects in these areas.
Current large projects are funded by Main Roads WA, the iMove CRC, Austal shipping and an ARC ITTC in Transforming Maintenance through Data Science. Professor Reynolds also regularly serves on program committees of international conferences and is on the editorial board of several leading journals in the area.
- Associate Professor Fay Rola-Rubzen
Associate Professor Fay Rola-Rubzen is an agricultural economist/development economist with extensive experience in farming systems research; analysis of farmer behaviour under risk and uncertainty; gender, poverty and food security; agribusiness and supply chain analysis; and poverty and social analysis.
Fay has led and managed several research and development projects with multidisciplinary teams both in Australia and internationally (Asia and Africa), and has been consultant to various organisations including the UN-FAO, UN-ESCAP, International Rice Research Institute (IRRI), the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR).
Currently, Fay is the project leader of a multi-country ACIAR-funded project on Understanding Farm-Household Management Decision making for Increased Productivity in the Eastern Gangetic Plains. She is also a co-investigator (socio-economist and gender specialist) in the Sustainable and Resilient Farming Systems Intensification project in South Asia, where she leads the gender mainstreaming work and the analysis of farmer behaviour and technology adoption.
- Associate Professor Sanjit K Roy
Associate Professor Sanjit K. Roy is an Associate Professor of Marketing and Fellow at the Centre for Business Data Analytics at the UWA Business School. He is also an Honorary Fellow at the Australia–India Institute at UWA and a certified LEGO® SERIOUS PLAY® Facilitator.
He is an Associate Editor at European Journal of Marketing and on the editorial boards of Journal of Business Research, Journal of Services Marketing, Journal of Strategic Marketing, and Journal of Service Theory & Practice.
His research interests include customer experience management, impact of new technologies (i.e. AI, robots etc.) on services and transformative service research. He has published in Industrial Marketing Management, European Journal of Marketing, Journal of Business Research, Journal of Marketing Management, International Journal of Information Management, Information Systems Frontiers, Internet Research and Journal of Services Marketing, among others.
- Dr Renu Sharma
Dr Renu Sharma is Associate Director/Chief Operating Officer at the International Centre for Radio Astronomy Research (ICRAR).
Dr Renu Sharma has held senior management positions at UWA and has managed two large and complex schools since December 2002. She has also served as Equity and Diversity Advisor. Her management responsibilities include strategic and operational planning; finance and human resource management; safety, health and risk management; marketing and promotion; and supporting teaching, research and research training activities through a culture of continual improvement.
In addition to her management experience in Australia, Renu has nearly two decades of experience working in the science and technology sector in India.
- Professor Kadambot Siddique
Professor Kadambot Siddique, Hackett Professor of Agriculture Chair and Director, the UWA Institute of Agriculture, has more than 30 years’ experience in agricultural research, teaching and management in both Australia and overseas.
He has developed a stellar reputation in agricultural science especially in the fields of crop physiology; production agronomy; farming systems; genetic resources; and breeding research in cereal, grain and pasture legumes, and oilseed crops.
In 2016 he was designated by United National FAO as Special Ambassador for the International Year of Pulses. Professor Siddique is the recipient of several national and international awards, including Urrbrae Memorial Award, Member of the Order of Australia (AM), 2014 Western Australian Year of the Award (CitWA), the Dunhunag Award by China's Gansu Provincial Government, and the Friendship Award from the Chinese Central Government (the highest award for a foreign expert) in recognition of his outstanding contributions to agricultural science and education in China over the years.
He is Fellow of the Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering, African Academy of Sciences, Australian Agricultural Institute and Indian National Academy of Agricultural Sciences.
- Dr Nicolas Taylor
Dr Nicolas Taylor completed his PhD at UWA and was then awarded the European Molecular Biology Organization Long Term Fellowship to study at the Department of Plant Sciences at the University of Oxford, UK.
He was recruited back to UWA in 2006 to the newly established ARC Centre of Excellence in Plant Energy Biology where he has held ARC Post-Doctoral and ARC Future Fellowships. Here his lab applied and developed a wide range of quantitative mass spectrometry approaches to quantify proteins, lipids and metabolites and used these in a wide range of research projects.
He has also been involved in the push to make agricultural research data FAIR to accelerate research. His lab seeks to gain a comprehensive understanding of how changes in metabolites, proteins and lipids influence yield in cereals and how plant cells respond to extremes of temperature and salinity.
- Professor Valerie Verhasselt
Professor Valerie Verhasselt, MD, PhD, is leading a team performing translational and multi-disciplinary research aimed at understanding how human milk instructs long-term immune health.
She is internationally renowned for her pioneering work on the prevention of allergy by breastfeeding. Her research has resulted in landmark papers in journals such as Nature Medicine, Lancet Infectious Disease, Gut, and Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology.
The wide impact of her research is demonstrated in her recent publication in JAMA Pediatrics on possible prevention of malaria by breastfeeding. Her authority in the field is illustrated by her appointment as the first Chair in Human Lactology at UWA (2017). Ultimately, she hopes her research will guide evidence-based recommendations for maternal and/or child intervention that will increase the chance of optimal health for all through breastfeeding.