Future Regions Lab

Regions are crucial and complex units; a respective region emerging from a distinct interplay of geographic, economic, political, cultural and ecological factors.

The regional unit is useful in denoting governance or administrative jurisdictions, understanding cultural identity, economic and urban planning and development, resource management and care, and enabling collaboration and cooperation.

The Future Regions Lab adopts a broad interpretation of regions, specialising in both regional Australia, Australia’s regions (which may include cities) and regions in the Asia-Pacific. It seeks to understand inequality within and between these regions, with attention to industry, communities or groups in the socio-economic or geographic periphery.

The Future Regions Lab has two aims:

  1. To understand the contemporary challenges and characteristics of regions, particularly against the backdrop of global market restructuring, growing socio-economic inequity and disadvantage, urbanisation and population pressures, and ecological crises
  2. To provide evidence-based findings to inform regional strategic decision-making and policy strengthening sustainable industry and community futures

The Future Regions Lab focuses on the following research and policy areas:

  • Technology advancements and innovation to improve labour productivity, business opportunities, industrial transitions and the attractiveness of living in a specific region
  • Industry and business opportunities, challenges and responses to recent global shocks reconfiguring trade and production relationships
  • Ecological crises and the shift toward the greening of and resource efficiency in industry and urban areas
  • Urban and regional structural inequality and disadvantage in vulnerable socio-economic communities to strengthen sustainable development outcomes and goals



Innovation in the peripheries

Rails to prosperity

PassionateGrowth: Rural economic diversification, local production and entrepreneurship

Beyond borders: Understanding globalisation and regional economies

Structural inequality, employment targets and planning policy


Dangerous work and labour advice networks


Our team

Associate Professor Kirsten Martinus

Kirsten Martinus is an Associate Professor at the School of Social Sciences, The University of Western Australia. Prior to becoming an academic, she worked as an economic development consultant and Japanese/English interpreter while residing in Australia, USA, Indonesia and Japan.

Her work is interdisciplinary, balancing fundamental research with applied outputs to inform economic development strategic policy and decision making across government. Kirsten’s work examines the (re)distribution of resources (mining, energy, innovation, labour, wealth) across regions, and the socio-economic factors increasing regional competitiveness (productivity/innovation) and mitigating uneven development.

Kirsten has won several large competitive grants for her research including an Australian Research Council Discovery Project and early career fellowship (DECRA). She is a board member for the Australian Academy of Sciences National Committee for Geographical Sciences and Institute of Australian Geographers, and on the editorial boards of Geographical Research, Applied Geography and Global Networks.

 Kirsten Martinus
Anna Costello

Anna Costello is a full time staff member of the Future Regions Lab in the School of Social Sciences. She has a Master’s of Urban Design, with a specialisation in Environmental Planning, and a bachelor’s degree of Landscape Architecture, from UWA.

She has developed a number of key research interests throughout her educational experiences, resulting in a passionate understanding of Ecological Urbanism, Biodiversity Sensitive Urban Design, Water Sensitive Urban Design and the enhancement of water-dependent ecosystems, and equality in urban planning, particularly in the delivery of social and affordable housing.

She is enthusiastic to broaden her knowledge of planning to include the challenges and opportunities faced beyond that of the urban realm, and aspires toward a future in which she will help to shape the future of Western Australia. 

 Anna Costello
Professor Sharon Biermann

Sharon Biermann is Professor and Director of the Planning and Transport Research Centre (PATREC), hosted at The University of Western Australia. PATREC is a collaboration between three Western Australian universities and three government departments as well as the Local Government Association. She is responsible for delivering on the PATREC mandate, to conduct collaborative, applied research and teaching in support of policy in the connected spaces of transport and land use planning. Her role includes leading and conducting research projects in the areas of integrated land use and transport futures; smarter personal travel decisions; integrated freight system optimisation; emerging technology; network optimisation and intelligence and transport infrastructure investment risk management.

She has recently established a new program of research in relation to climate action in land use and transport planning. With a PhD in Geography, her specific areas of expertise include: scientific research leadership and management of integrated planning and infrastructure programs, Planning Support Systems and integrated land use and infrastructure planning and modelling.

 Sharon Biermann

Associate Professor Bryan Boruff

Bryan Boruff is an environmental geographer and Associate Professor in the UWA School of Agriculture and Environment, the University of Western Australia (UWA). He has expertise in the application of Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and Remote Sensing (RS) technologies to a range of environment management issues.

Over the past decade, Dr Boruff’s collaborations have include research on physical activity and health outcomes, urban vegetation measurement and monitoring, information and communications technology for development, sustainable livelihoods, and renewable energy and agricultural production. These collaborations have resulted in significant contributions to the use of GIS and RS in the fields of population health, planning, international development, and environmental science as well as through the promotion of Geography across a range of multidisciplinary projects.  

Bryan Boruff  

Professor Anu Rammohan

Anu Rammohan is a Professor of Economics, and Director of International Engagement (Business School) at The University of Western Australia. She is also the Senior Research Fellow at UWA for the Australia Indonesia Centre’s Partnership for Australia Indonesia Research’s (PAIR) program. She led the UWA Australia India Institute from 2018-2022. She is on the Steering panel of the ARCH-India (Australia Research Collaboration-India) and in this capacity has served on selection panels for Australia-India research collaboration grants supported by the Department of Education. Anu currently serves as a member of the Australian Research Council's College of Experts, which oversees Australia’s largest competitive national research grants program. She was previously on the Editorial Board of Economic Record.

Her research is in Development Economics, Health Economics and Agriculture Economics. The focus of her research has been on understanding household vulnerability and socio-economic factors that can influence education differences, maternal and child health outcomes, gender discrimination and food security issues in South and South-East Asia. As such, her research is multidisciplinary and brings an economics lens to research in Public Health, Agriculture and Geography. She has received research funding of over $9 million through competitive research grants from the Australian Research Council, DFAT, Australian Council of International Agriculture Research, Department of Health (WA), and the Australia India Institute. Her research has been presented at numerous invited research seminars and conferences, both nationally and internationally.

 Anu Rammohan

Associate Professor Marit Kragt

Associate Professor Marit Kragt is Director of the Centre for Agricultural Economics and Development at UWA. Her research focuses on improving natural resource management decisions in agricultural regions. Her expertise includes climate change mitigation and adaptation in agriculture, adoption of farm management practices, social benefit-cost analysis, and valuation of non-market impacts (e.g. on natural capital).

Marit has a background in environmental science and economics, with 17 years of experience in interdisciplinary research. She was an ARC DECRA Fellow from 2016–2020.

 Marit Kragt

Associate Professor Thomas Sigler

Associate Professor Thomas Sigler (Deputy Head, School of Earth and Environmental Sciences at The University of Queensland) is an urban and economic geographer with a longstanding interest in how globalisation shapes cities and regions. His projects focus on the impacts of international firm activity on urban form and structure, in addition to how corporate activities connect disparate places through networks of knowledge.

His collaboration with Associate Professor Kirsten Martinus and Professor Matthew Tonts has spanned more than a decade, leading to several Perth-related projects and studies. His current work focuses primarily on the impacts of Airbnb and other short-term rental platforms on Australian cities.  He has published more than 100 scientific papers, and serves on the editorial boards of four international journals.

 Thomas Sigler

Samali Jinadasa

Samali Jinadasa is a research assistant at the Future Regions Lab, School of Social Sciences, UWA. She has a master’s degree in international development from UWA and holds a bachelor's degree in Organisational Management from the University of Peradeniya, Sri Lanka where she earned the university gold medal for her academic and extracurricular performance from the Faculty of Management for the year 2023.

Drawing from her experience at Verite Research and the Institute of Policy Studies, Sri Lanka her research interests lie in development economics, mainly gender, poverty, public infrastructure and decent work. She has worked on a plethora of projects during her stint at Verite Research including The Lure of Chinese Loans and Gender-Responsive Budgeting.

She aspires to undertake a PhD focused on the impact of monetising unpaid domestic and care work in developing countries with a focus on Sri Lanka.

 Samali Jinadasa

PhD students

Anita Herlina

Anita Herlina is a PhD student at the School of Social Sciences of The University of Western Australia. She received a scholarship from the Indonesia Endowment Fund for Education, Ministry of Finance of Indonesia.

Anita has 20 years experience in Indonesian immigration and policy, as a lecturer and immigration officer in Indonesia. She has researched various areas of migration such as Indonesia-Australia immigration cooperation, Indonesia's migrant workers, refugees, transnational crimes particularly how immigration policy affects human security.

Anita is currently exploring how effectively the Indonesian border management policy addresses comprehensive non-traditional security threats such as irregular migration, human trafficking, people smuggling, infectious disease, and climate change. She aims to understand best practice for Indonesian immigration policy in protecting sustainable national security, human security, and economic growth and increasing regional and international cooperation with the state and non-state actors of migration areas. She is also a mentor for "PhD Mama Indonesia", a voluntary social community for mothers wanting to pursue a PhD. In this role, she supports mentee scholarship applications, such as reviewing research proposals, advising on test preparation and interview techniques.

 Anita Herlina

Contact Kirsten Martinus

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Research Repository

Read more about Associate Professor Kirsten Martinus

Research Repository