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Meet the Cohort

Theme: Global challenges

Commonwealth Futures Climate Research Cohort

A. Clayton (1)

Dr Andrea Clayton, Caribbean Maritime University, Jamaica

Dr C. Andrea Clayton is Principal Lecturer of Sustainable Development at the Caribbean Maritime University, the Caribbean representative for the Governing Plastics Network, and the Director of the Earth Ambassadeurs Programme. Her research and publications focus on systems thinking and applications, the blue economy, marine litter and the problem of plastic pollution.

Her current research projects include abandoned ghost gear in the Caribbean, and behaviour towards single-use plastic use in primary and prep schools. Her ghost gear initiatives involve education and training activities in fishing communities, and examining ways to collaborate with the local solid waste management agency in the collection and treatment of discarded fishing nets. Her work on behavioural change involves educating the school population about single use plastic and its impact, as well as helping individuals and institutions to identify possible alternatives to plastic use. 
 
Dr Clayton holds a doctorate from Temple University and degrees in economics and economic development. She is also a trained facilitator and an ACU alumna.

She is the mother of four and a very keen gardener. 

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Astrid Alexandra Werkmeister, University of Strathclyde, UK

Dipl. Met. Astrid Werkmeister studied atmospheric science at the Institute for Meteorology and Climatology at the Leibniz University in Hannover, Germany. Here, she developed her interest in satellite remote sensing, which brought her to the University of Miami, USA to pursue a PhD in applied marine physics at the Rosenstiel School for Marine and Atmospheric Science. Her dissertation involves studying hurricane winds and waves from satellite based Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR). In 2018, Astrid started working at the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow, Scotland. Here, she developed a new MSc course in Satellite Applications. Part of this new course, Astrid also developed three new modules addressing different aspects of satellite applications: from data science and programming in python to the United Nation's sustainable development goals.

Astrid’s research interests reflect what she has been teaching. She is particularly interested in disaster management using satellite data, as well as any observations (atmospheric, climate, geological, archaeological, oceanographic etc) that can be done via remote sensing from space or ground. Astrid is currently involved in projects involving machine learning for land-usage estimations via SAR, estimating electricity availability from night-light imagery in Nigeria, and using machine learning to detect gulag camps in Kazakhstan.

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Dr Chandima Kumudini Ariyarathna Hanchapola Appuhamilage, University of Peradeniya, Sri Lanka

Chandima's research is geared towards developing plants that produce more with less, and those that fit better in target agroclimates. She works on biotic and abiotic stress tolerance in rice and millets, and her research develops and applies innovative tech solutions for crop improvement targeting local farming environments. To achieve this goal, Chandima has a multidisciplinary program and partnerships with diverse skill sets, interests, and backgrounds in plant sciences, biotechnology, bioinformatics, software solutions and genetic and genomic resources. Her research has benefited from national and international collaborations, supervision of PhD and Masters/Hons students, success in winning local (NRC, Sri Lanka) and international (TWAS, UNESCO) competitive research grants, publishing in well-ranked journals (15 peer-reviewed publications), and engaging with industry. The outcomes of her work addresses broader issues including food security, sustainable agriculture and climate resilience.

Born and bred in Sri Lanka, Chandima obtained a doctorate from UWA, Australia in 2016. Currently, she is a senior lecturer at the University of Peradeniya. Prior to this, Chandima served as a breeder at the Tea Research Institute of Sri Lanka. She is an OWSD Early Carrier Fellow (2020) and a Borlaug International Agricultural Science and Technology Fellow (2020).

Chukwueloka Okeke Potrait 2

Dr Chukwueloka Udechukwu Okeke, Covenant University, Nigeria

Dr Okeke’s areas of specialty include hydroclimatic-induced natural disasters, geological hazards, GIS-based gully erosion assessment, land-use impact on rural/urban watersheds, landslides and natural dams, and ground improvement.

He received the Japanese Government (MEXT) Scholarship to Shimane University Japan, which culminated to the award of M.Eng. and PhD degrees in Engineering Geology in 2013 and 2016, respectively. His extensive interdisciplinary work at the Center for Natural Disaster Reduction Research and Education in Japan was fully sponsored by the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (Grant-in-Aid Number 24241061).

He has participated in many international training programmes and symposia, from the 2014 Third World Landslide Forum in Beijing, China to the Annual Regional Conference of the Geotechnical Society of Japan (2012-2013). He joined Covenant University Ota in 2017 as Researcher/Lecturer in Geotechnics and Geoenvironmental Engineering, and currently serves as an editorial board member of Geoenvironmental Disasters.

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Dr Constantinos Vassiliades, University of Cyprus

Constantinos studied Architecture with a scholarship at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki and was awarded as the best graduate. Subsequently, got his PhD from the University of Cyprus (UCy), which dealt with the building integration of active solar systems. He is a partner at the Limassol-based architectural firm Vassiliades Architects, and a Post-Doctoral Researcher at UCy. Besides research, he also teaches at the UCy and the Cyprus University of Technology (CUT), whilst he is a Visiting Researcher at the University of Naples Federico II (UNINA).

Constantinos deals extensively with sustainability and energy efficiency of buildings. He has participated in relevant research projects and conferences, made publications and taught in training schools in Barcelona and Warsaw. He is also a member of the Scientific Advisory Board of the 16th Conference on Sustainable Development of Energy, Water and Environment Systems (SDEWES).

Several of his studies have been published in architectural and research journals and he is one of the authors of the book "Building Integrated Solar Thermal Systems -Design and Applications Handbook". Constantinos is a Qualified Building Energy Efficiency Expert, member of the Technical Chamber of Cyprus and of the Cyprus Architects Association.

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Dr Daniel Etongo, University of Seychelles

Daniel is a senior lecturer at the University of Seychelles (UniSey), working on vulnerability assessment and climate change adaptation. Prior to joining the UniSey, he worked at Maynooth University, Ireland as a postdoc (2016-2018) in an EUH2020 project on water resources and climate change implemented in Ethiopia, Uganda, Malawi and South Africa.

He obtained his PhD from the Viikki Tropical Resources Institute (VITRI), University of Helsinki, Finland within the framework of the Biocarbon and Rural Development (BIODEV) project in West Africa, implemented by the World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF), the Centre for International Forestry Research (CIFOR), University of Eastern Finland, and Helsinki University in collaboration with national stakeholders in Burkina Faso, Mali and Sierra Leone.

Currently, Daniel is implementing two major climate research grants sponsored by the UNDP and Common Market for Easter and Southern Africa (COMESA). He has authored over 30 peer review publications and serves as a consultant for major organizations on nationally determined contributions (NDCs). Daniel is also part of a team of consultants at the University of Seychelles working in collaboration with Deltares with the World Bank as client to provide 'support for articulating the Blue Economy and Coastal Adaptation Investment Priorities for Seychelles’ Climate Resilience'. 

UPSA Profile

Eric Yiadom Boachie, University of Professional Studies, Accra, Ghana

Eric Boachie Yiadom’s research interest is on contemporary issues in macroeconomic developments such as external debts, foreign direct investment, economic growth, institutions and recently, climate change. Eric is passionate about curbing climate change, especially in Africa, and has dedicated his PhD thesis to this area of research. His research on climate change focuses on the role of local financial markets and fiscal policies on the relationship between international capital and environmental risk.

Eric is a Lecturer at the Banking and Finance Department of the University of Professional Studies, Accra, Ghana (UPSA)​. He is currently a PhD candidate in finance at the University of Ghana Business School. He is also a trained chartered accountant and a member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants, Ghana and holds a Master of Philosophy in finance from the University of Ghana Business School.  

Eric offers private consultation for some small and medium enterprises in Ghana. His research outputs in selected ranked journals provide local solutions to help solve climatic and macroeconomic problems in Africa and other developing countries around the globe.  

Fatma Abdelaal (1)

Fatma Abdelaal, University of Canterbury, New Zealand

Fatma is an Architectural Engineer and a PhD candidate at the University of Canterbury. She holds a Master of Science in Architectural Engineering from Cairo University, majoring in Environmental Design and Building Science & Technology.  In her PhD, Fatma focuses on integrating Whole Building LCA and BIM for Green Building Rating Systems. The ultimate goal of this research is to enhance sustainable buildings design and assessment and to reduce buildings environmental impacts, therefore contributing to New Zealand's efforts to reach its carbon emissions reduction targets. 

Along with academic research, Fatma enjoys working closely with the industry as she believes that the applicability of academic research in industrial practice matters. She worked with the New Zealand Green Building Council (NZGBC) on managing green building certifications and providing technical support and guidance to the industry. Before moving to New Zealand, she was a researcher at research and development organizations and has participated in several research projects in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, Turkey, India, and the UK.  

Fatma is also an advocate for Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment as it is crucial to achieving the other SDGs. 

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Dr Henri-Count Evans, University of Eswatini

Henri-Count Evans has researched media practice and reporting of climate change issues and sustainable development, and presented his work at several academic conferences and published several book chapters and journal articles. The research covered both the print and electronic media in Southern Africa and the world at large.

Henri-Count holds a PhD in Cultural and Media Studies, a Master of Social Science in Cultural and Media Studies (both from the University of KwaZulu-Natal in South Africa) and a Bachelor of Science (Honours) Degree in Journalism and Media Studies from the National University of Science and Technology in Zimbabwe. His PhD thesis is entitled 'Re-articulating Media Re/presentations of Climate Change Discourse(s) in South Africa: Climate Change Politics in the Global South'.

He has co-edited the book 'Knowledge for Justice: Critical Perspectives from Southern African-Nordic Research Partnerships. Cape Town, South Africa: African Minds', and has been section editor for the Handbook of Climate Change Resilience published by Springer under the prestigious Climate Change Management Series. He teaches in the Department of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Eswatini and has been an external Training Development Consultant and African Journalism Mentor at Climate Tracker.

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Dr Iroja Caldera, University of Colombo, Sri Lanka

Iroja is a senior lecturer in the Department of Plant Sciences, Faculty of Science at the University of Colombo. Her research centres on plant responses to environmental changes in the context of climate change. She is particularly interested in the anatomical and physiological responses of plant leaves. As a Commonwealth Scholar, Iroja completed her doctoral research on the plant leaf response of Arabidopsis thaliana ecotypes and tea cultivars to increases in carbon dioxide concentration and temperature. She has since then broadened her research to include other crops as well as rainforest tree species of Sri Lanka.

Iroja is also an attorney-at-law and has a keen interest in environmental law.,She brings together a unique combination of a scientific and legal expertise into her research and teaching. As a dedicated university lecturer, Iroja strives to develop student knowledge and skill through student-centred learning methodologies in her classroom and laboratory. She also volunteers as a resource person for staff and educational development activities. Iroja is the Immediate Past President of the Institute of Biology, Sri Lanka and the President-Elect of the Sri Lanka Association for Improving Higher Education Effectiveness.

She is a keen gardener and also enjoys sketching and cooking.

Kokila

Dr Kokila Konasinghe, University of Colombo, Sri Lanka

Dr Konasinghe is a Senior Lecturer at the Department of Public and International Law, at the  University of Colombo. She is the founding Director of Centre for Environmental Law and Policy (CELP) at University of Colombo. She is currently involved in two SAARC regional level projects representing Sri Lanka. She holds the position of the co-advisor for all seven countries under the United Nations Millennium Fellowship programme in collaboration with the Kathmandu Law School and she is responsible for producing the South Asian Report on Climate Change and Sustainable Development Goals.

She is preparing the country report on International Disaster Management Laws and Policies under a collaborative project with other SAARC countries and International Red Cross and Red Crescent Society. She collaborates on many research programmes with the Special Centre for Disaster Research at Jawaharlal Nehru University in India. Her book chapters and research articles have appeared in locally and internationally reputed journals and publications. She received her LL.B (Hons.) from the University of Colombo and LL.M from Erasmus University, Rotterdam and her PhD from Keele University, U.K.  She is an attorney at law of the Supreme Court of Sri Lanka and a Staff and Educational Development Association of the United Kingdom accredited teacher in higher education. 

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Dr Lucy Richardson, Monash University, Australia

Dr Lucy Richardson’s current research focuses on understanding how to effectively communicate climate change with diverse audiences to improve mitigation, adaptation and resilience. She is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the Monash Climate Change Communication Research Hub at Monash University on the lands of the Wurundjeri People in Melbourne, Australia.

Lucy began her career working for many years in the environmental sector in both consulting and non-profit organisations where she developed a keen interest in human behaviour that led her to study psychology. When completing her Doctorate, Lucy drew upon both her environmental and psychology background to examine the intersection of research and practice relating to behaviour change campaigns for climate change mitigation.

She has a keen interest in climate justice and empowered representation, and hopes to use her knowledge and experience to help diverse communities reach their climate action goals. Lucy’s research aspirations include working with communities in developing nations and small states to support their climate change communication goals. 

MG Photographed By Alice Whitby

Dr Mahendra Gooroochurn, University of Mauritius

Dr Gooroochurn has over three years industry experience as a research manager and head of sustainability in the building services engineering industry and has research interests in sustainability in the built environment with a focus on meeting all the needs of occupants using the natural resources available at the project site as far as possible. 

Heworks as Senior Lecturer in the Mechanical and Production Engineering Department  at the University of Mauritius. He is a Chartered Engineer (CEng) registered with the Engineering Council of UK, an accredited green building design and construction professional (LEED AP BD+C) registered with the USGBC and a member of the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET), UK.

He is the Ellen McArthur Foundation Circular Economy Pioneers for Mauritius as part of a network of 10 countries represented in Sub-Saharan Africa, disseminating knowledge on circular design principles at primary, secondary and tertiary levels of the education system and to entrepreneurs and NGOs. Based on his background in Mechatronics, Mahendra is also engaged in projects related to robotics, automation and artificial intelligence (AI) to devise innovative solutions to address industry and societal challenges. 

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Marium Alleyne, University of the West Indies, Cave Hill Campus, Barbados

Marium Alleyne is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in Environmental Studies at the University of the West Indies. Her research background relates to spatial climate change vulnerability assessments. She aims to support the further development of scientifically robust methods in modelling climate vulnerability and adaptive capacity specifically for Small Island Developing States (SIDS). Her motivation is primarily based on her desire to contribute to a transformational approach to the collective action on climate change and to add her voice in the climate change SIDS movement. 

Marium is an advocate for sustainable development, through a climate change lens. Her work on several climate change related projects in the Caribbean region testifies to her dedicated efforts on climate change vulnerability and adaptive capacity assessments and disaster risk management and reduction in SIDS. She possesses comprehensive knowledge of climate variability and climate change impact, as well as experience in designing and structuring solutions that address and mitigate disaster and climate risks. She has contributed to increased climate change awareness and capacity at the country level. 

Apart from her interest in climate research, Marium is a great cook and has a deep appreciation for nature and a love for travelling.

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Dr Ogheneruona Endurance Diemuodeke, University of Port Harcourt, Nigeria

Dr Diemuodeke's research interests concern clean energy technology and environmental sustainability, clean cooking and cooling, and industry decarbonisation. He received his B.Eng degree and M.Eng degree with distinction from the University of Port Harcourt, and his PhD degree from Cranfield University. He currently lectures energy and applied thermodynamics related courses at the Department of Mechanical Engineering, and is a Fellow of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), with an interest in the MIT Energy Initiative.

He is a recipient of many international awards; he had served as a judge and mentor for Hult Prize and Switch Energy alliance. He is a registered Mechanical Engineer by the Council for the Regulation of Engineering in Nigeria and many other professional bodies. He has worked, as a PI and Co-PI, on several research projects funded by DFID, FDA, Innovate UK and GCRF. He is a Lead Author for the Working Group III contribution to the IPCC Sixth Assessment Report, and an editorial board member of the prestigious Energy and Climate Change and Renewable and Sustainable Energy Transition journals. He is a reviewer for more than 10 archival journals in the field of energy and climate change.

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Olujumoke Adesola Ogunrayi, University of Cape Coast, Ghana

Olujumoke Adesola Ogunrayi is from Ondo State, Nigeria. She is a passionate advocate and researcher in the field of climate change management, with both academic and professional qualifications in Meteorology, Climate Science and Environmental Management (Bachelor and Master of Technology in Meteorology, Federal University of Technology Akure, Nigeria, and Postgraduate Diploma certificate in Environmental Management from Technische Universität Dresden, Germany). She is currently a Ph.D. student at the World Bank Africa Centre of Excellence in Coastal Resilience (ACECoR) at the University of Cape Coast.

Olujumoke's research interests are coastal management, vulnerability assessment, physical oceanography, climate adaptation, and resilience. Her professional work experience includes 18 years as a Senior Climate Scientist under the Ondo State Ministry of Environment, rising to the post of Deputy Director. She also has professional research experience in Water, Waste & Energy-Environmental and Supply Chain Management, Global Transformation towards Sustainability, and Ecological, Human, and Technological Dimensions under the Germany Academic Exchange Program (DAAD). Olujumoke is a professional and active member of the Nigerian Meteorological Society (NMS), Nigerian Environmental Society (NES), Organization for Women in Science for the Developing World (OWSD), and DAAD ClimapAfrica Working group on 'Climate Change and Land Use'.

She enjoys reading novels, listening to music, current affairs, and traveling. 

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Dr Olumuyiwa Bayode Adegun, Federal University of Technology Akure, Nigeria

Dr Adegun is Senior Lecturer in the Department of Architecture, Federal University of Technology, Akure. Nigeria. He earned his PhD at University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa, with a thesis on just sustainability at the nexus of informal settlement intervention and green infrastructure. Dr Adegun’s research interests dealt with issues related to environmental sustainability in low-income housing and slums/informal settlements within cities in sub-Saharan Africa. His recent works, supported through the Climate Research for Development (CR4D) Programme, Africa Academy of Sciences (AAS), and within framework of DAAD ClimapAfrica, focus on climate adaptation in informal urban settlements in Nigeria and other parts of the continent. 

He is Visiting Research Fellow in the School of Architecture and Planning, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg (2018 – date). He was Guest Researcher at Nordic Africa Institute, Uppsala, Sweden (2018); Visiting Scholar, Canada Centre for Architecture, Montreal (2016); and World Social Science Fellow,  Sustainable Urbanization (2015). He coordinates the DAAD ClimapAfrica Working Group on ‘Climate Change and Land Use’.   

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Dr Oyediran Olusegun Oyebola, University of Ibadan, Nigeria

Oyediran's research focuses on the application of genetics and breeding biotechnologies in exploring genetic diversity in Aquaculture and Fisheries resources for sustainable food security. He investigates and disseminates techniques for climate change impact adaptation for sustainable fisherfolks and fish farmers' resilience. Oyediran is also an alumnus visiting fellow of the ACU Climate Impact Research Capacity Leadership Enhancement (CIRCLE) programme, hosted by the African Academy of Sciences, and a research fellow at Makerere University, Uganda (2017). He is a key stakeholder among the Nigerian CIRCLE fellows, and has a strong passion for stakeholder’s engagement, research collaboration and outputs dissemination. He engaged Northern and Eastern Uganda fish farming stakeholders on techniques for farming despite climate-induced floods in 2018.

He is a Lecturer in the Department of Aquaculture and Fisheries Management at the University of Ibadan in Nigeria. He had his Bachelor and Master of Science degrees in Fisheries Management, and a PhD specialized in Fish Genetics and Breeding in 2014 from the University of Ibadan.  Oyebola currently engages fish farmers on the FIL Lab/Worldfish USAID supported Lean Management Training Project in Nigeria. He has over 35 publications, grants and awards and is a member of many professional bodies. He was a speaker at the 2021 Virtual Commonwealth Science Conference.  

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Dr Rachel Sarah Friedman, the Australian National University

Rachel is a postdoctoral research fellow at the Australian National University’s Institute for Climate, Energy and Disaster Solutions, having recently completed a PhD on community-based forest management in Indonesian Borneo at the University of Queensland.

She is interested in crossing disciplinary divides to better understand the connections between decision-making processes and policies, ecosystem health, human well-being, and social equity within agricultural and forestry landscapes. Often focusing on regional case studies, Rachel’s research addresses issues of climate change vulnerability and adaptation, gender and social justice, and community engagement in smallholder farming communities, currently in the Indo-Pacific.

Rachel also has a keen interest in applied research, having spent time working on policy and communications for NGOs and multilateral organisations on topics of climate-smart agriculture and international climate and environmental policy processes. Originally from the north-western United States, Rachel enjoys spending time outside, climbing, hiking, and camping. She also loves coaxing vegetables to grow and teaches/practices yoga, as time allows. 

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Dr Ravita Devi Prasad, Fiji National University

Ravita Prasad is an Assistant Professor at Fiji National University, where she teaches physics and renewable energy to undergraduate students.  She has been teaching in the field since 2004.  Ravita received her Ph.D. from The University of the South Pacific in March 2020, and her research interests are in climate change mitigation with special focus on long-term energy planning to reduce emissions, energy efficiency and conservation, energy demand forecasting, and renewable energy resource assessment.  

Ravita has published many peer-reviewed journal articles and book chapters, and has presented in local and international conferences and symposiums.  She was awarded the College Teaching Excellence Award in 2019, and in 2020 she was awarded University Research Excellence Award in the category of Higher Degree by Research.

Ravita loves listening to music and spending time with her family.  

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Dr Refilwe Precious Mofokeng, University of KwauZulu-Natal, South Africa

Dr Refilwe Mofokeng has a PhD (2020) in marine ecotoxicology from University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN). Her research interests are in marine and estuarine ecotoxicology, and environmental impact on biodiversity and the environment. She is also interested in understanding the mechanisms by which climate change impacts marine biodiversity, and what mitigatory measures could be put in place. 

In the past years, Refilwe studied in other universities including the University of Zululand (South Africa), Leiden University, Delft University (Netherlands), Università degli Studi di Siena, Università per Stranieri di Siena (Italy), and Birmingham University, UK. In all the universities she has been affiliated with, Refilwe had the opportunity to work and adapt to non-familiar environments with varying climates. She was also mentored by renowned scientists. 

The COVID-19 pandemic made Refilwe appreciate the importance of scientists and politicians working together for the benefit of society and mankind.

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Rufino Varea, the University of the South Pacific, Fiji

Rufino is a passionate PhD student from Fiji with a deep sense of care for the ocean. As a Pacific Ocean custodian, he is dedicated to learning and understanding more about the dynamics and threats posed to ocean life by pollutants. By establishing a biomonitoring approach to assess pollution effects in seafood, finfish and shellfish in Fiji, Rufino hopes that his research will enable Fijians to strive towards a clean and blue economy.

Rufino's line of work has taken him to some of the most interesting places in Fiji, working closely with coastal communities and local fishers to build capacity and awareness regarding marine pollution. The nature and deep connection of marine pollution to livelihood security and climate change have opened opportunities for Rufino to be involved in interdisciplinary work alongside specialists, government and non-governmental organizations. He has a great interest in advancing how science can better inform policy and action on a local and national level. Rufino recognises that as persistent as many pollutants are in the environment, humans too must push on and work together stronger to build a better, cleaner, and safer future.

In 2018, the ACU supported Rufino's scientific preparation in Australia, as a research fellow under the Blue Charter Fellowships programme.

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Dr Scott J. Davidson, University of Waterloo, Canada

Scott is currently a Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Waterloo, Ontario, Canada. His research investigates the resilience of peatland ecosystems to both climate change and disturbance regimes, as well as the roles these ecosystems can play as natural climate solutions.

Scott uses a multi-scale approach, combining both field research and laboratory analysis with remote sensing and modelling approaches to better constrain spatio-temporal dynamics of peatland ecosystems. With his work, Scott aims to contribute a better understanding of the complex feedbacks between ecosystem resilience and disturbance regimes under a rapidly changing climate.

He is also passionate about creating inclusive and diverse research spaces. Outside of work, Scott is an avid supporter of independent cinema and enjoy watching a variety of films.

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Dr Stephen Summers, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore

Dr Stephen Summers' main research theme involves the evaluation of biofilms growing on marine structures. This can range from man-made piers and seawall defence constructions, to plastic debris floating in the ocean. The biofilms growing on these types of surfaces can impact the degradation rate of the structures, allowing unwanted debris to degrade to component gases and nutrients, or the biofilms to augment these structures by acting as a foundation for a diverse community to establish and grow.  While he has experience in many aspects of marine science, his expertise is in bioinformatics and ecological assessments of the natural environment. By using ‘big data’ and various technologies, Stephen is able to obtain a far greater understanding of the key mechanisms that are driving the ecology of marine biofilms and the subsequent impacts this may have on the environment. 

In his current role, and as part of the Climate Research Cohort, Stephen will investigate the impact of a changing climate on tropical coastal regions in South East Asia, as well as continue to assess how we as a community can protect against rising seawaters and other climate consequences, without incurring significant environmental costs. 

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Tracy-Ann Nicole Hyman, University of the West Indies, Mona Campus, Jamaica

Tracy-Ann Hyman is a geoscientist who has developed a keen interest in researching climate change vulnerability, adaptation, and resilience in small island states. She has been working and researching in the fields of environmental sciences, disaster management, and information and communication technologies for several years . She is not only focused on climate change, the problem, but solutions that can be derived to combat it. She is therefore personally wired to finding solutions to the Earth’s challenges. 

As a PhD Candidate at the University of the West Indies, Mona Campus, she is working on a flood model that can assist disaster planners with reducing the number of lives lost, and infrastructural damage from hazards, using artificial intelligence. Interestingly, having studied in Japan and being caught up in the 2011 Tohoku Earthquake, she will publish a book soon, describing this harrowing experience titled: 'How Do You Use These Darn Chopsticks?! A Memoir of a Jamaican Woman who Lived and Studied in Japan'. 

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Dr Wassim Dbouk, University of Southampton, UK

Following his PhD in Marine Environmental Law, and in combination with his diverse past work experience in the private, public, legal, and research sectors - most notably with the Lebanese Parliament - Wassim has a broad, flexible skillset and an astute understanding of the interaction between research, law and policy. Thanks to his academic background, Wassim has been involved in several wide-ranging policy-informing research projects, during which he collected and analysed data and presented his research outcomes to the relevant stakeholders. In addition, he is responsible for scanning, drafting and submission of academic responses to government consultations and Parliamentary Inquires. 

In his current role as Marine and Maritime Policy Research Fellow, he is actively collaborating with colleagues within the Southampton Marine and Maritime Institute (SMMI) on several interdisciplinary research projects and specialises in creating and delivering policy engagement opportunities for them. He is currently working closely with the Maritime and Coastguard Agency to identify and fulfil evidence needs through PhD placement and contract research ensuring impactful knowledge exchange between policymakers and the expertise found within the SMMI. 

Wassim is also the biggest fan of anything Manchester United FC.


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Theme: Global challenges