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Dr Russ Wise

Senior Principal Sustainability Economist


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Contact details:

GPO BOX 1700


Russ Wise is a sustainability economist passionate about working with people to help understand the challenges caused by rapid technological and environmental change and economic development and to develop approaches that enable learning and decision making under uncertainty. Core areas of Russ’s research include:
- Further developing economic theory and analytical approaches to help structure adaptation problems and inform the evaluation of trade-offs in resource allocations under uncertainty.
- Exploring how concepts and approaches such as adaptation pathways can build shared understanding of complex problems and support adaptive responses over time (see the Enabling Adaptation Pathways research webpages);
- Understanding and addressing the systemic barriers to investments in resilience, adaptation and disaster risk reduction through developing and testing new investment processes and methods in applied projects, and building coalitions across communities, business, and governments (see the Enabling Resilience Investment initiative website)
- Developing ways to support individuals and agencies learn and adapt through pilot demonstration projects that build confidence and capacity to make decisions under risk, uncertainty and ambiguity.

Russ’s has experience in doing this in countries such as Australia, Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, and South Africa.

Before joining the CSIRO in August 2010, Russ spent six months in the Economics and Policy Research Branch at the Victorian Department of Primary Industries where he assisted in the development of a stochastic Linear Programming model to investigate the economic implications of the Murray Darling Basin Plan on the northern Victorian Irrigation region. Prior to this, between 2006 and 2010, Russ led a team of environmental economists at the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) in South Africa. During that time Russ gained experience in the development and application of ecological-economic models in areas as diverse as invasive species control, climate-change adaptation, payments for watershed-protection services, biofuel strategy development and assessment, natural capital restoration projects, and carbon-accounting in land-use systems.

Academic Qualifications

  • 2005

    PhD - Agricultural and Resource Economics. Thesis: Agroforests as carbon sinks: a bio-economic analysis of Indonesian systems
    University of New England, Australia

  • 1997

    Graduate Diploma in Natural Resource Economics
    University of New England, Australia

  • 1995

    BSc Honours - Environmental and Geographical Science
    University of Cape Town, South Africa

  • 1994

    BSc - Natural Sciences (Botany, Environmental Science)
    University of Cape Town

Professional Experiences

  • 2019-present

    Principal Sustainability Economist
    CSIRO Environment

  • Aug 2010-2019

    Senior Research Scientist

  • Jan 2010-Aug 2010

    Senior Quantitative Economist
    Victorian Department of Primary Industries

  • Jan 2006-Jan 2010

    Senior Environmental and Resource Economist
    Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR)

  • Apr 2001-Dec 2005

    Lecturer and Research Associate
    University of New England (UNE)

Achievements and Awards

  • 2015-2015

    Award for Exemplary contributions in science and leadership
    L&W Business Unit, CSIRO

  • Jan 2010-Jul 2010

    Performance and Productivity Award
    Victoria DPI, Australia

  • 2006-2007

    Leadership Award
    CSIR, South Africa

Other highlights

  • 2015-2018

    Member of the NCCARF Technical Reference Committee

  • 2015-2015

    Invited expert to the Dep't of Industry and Science workshop to develop Australia's Science and Research Priorities

  • 2014-2014

    Chair of the Panel Session on Climate Change and Ecosystem Services at the BIOECON Conference, Cambridge

  • 2014-2014

    Invited speaker and Panel member at the South Australian Climate Change Adaptation Showcase

  • 2013-2014

    Member of the steering committe for the South Australian Government “Science to Solutions” programme

  • 2012-2012

    Invited speaker and Panel member at the NCCARF Climate Adaptation Conference

  • 2009-2009

    Expert contributor to South Africa’s National Research Plan for South Africa’s medium-term programme in the “Economics of Global Change”.

  • 2008-2009

    Member of the Research Advisory Panel of the CSIR’s Natural Resource and Environment Unit