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Dr Stuart Whitten

Research Director


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Contact details:

GPO BOX 1700


I am currently Research Director, Sustainability Pathways, CSIRO Environment.

I am an expert in environmental and institutional economics with particular specialisation is the design and delivery of environmental markets including auctions and tenders, biodiversity offsets and cap and trade approaches. I have worked on the design and implementation of environmental markets for the Australian Government (Reef Tender, Environmental Stewardship Program, Forest Conservation Fund) and for several regional natural resource management groups. At a policy level my economic expertise has supported the Great Barrier Reef water quality policy responses and biodiversity policy across three states and at the national level.

My current research focus is on exploring the economic implications of a transition to net zero carbon emissions for Australia, economics and policy of Great Barrier Reef water quality, and the economics of natural capital and biodiversity on private land. I have coordinated several workshops and symposia: including an international workshop on 'Conservation Tenders in Developed and Developing Countries - Status Quo, Challenges and Prospects' with Tobias Wunscher in Germany, and 'Improving water quality into the GBR: From costs to public policy', 'New Horizons in Market Based Instruments’ and ‘Market-based Tools for Environmental Management’; and published widely in a variety of forums.

Other Interests

German (conversational level)
Life Member - Ginninderra Rats Basketball Club

Current Roles

  • Research Director (Acting)
    Sustainability Pathways, CSIRO Land and Water

  • Activity Lead
    Climate Risk with Commonwealth Bank of Australia

  • Independent Expert Panel member
    GBR 2050 Plan

Academic Qualifications

  • 2003

    PhD Economics
    University of New South Wales

  • 1995

    M. Phil.
    University of Cambridge

  • 1993

    B.Ag.Ec. (Hons I and UM)
    University of New England (AU)

Professional Experiences

  • 2013-2014

    Economist, Team Leader and Stream Leader

  • 2002-2012

    Economist / Institutional Analyst

  • 1996-1998


  • 1993-1996

    Research Officer
    Australian Bureau of Statistics

Achievements and Awards

  • 2019-2019

    Collaboration Medal (joint – for Australian National Outlook 2019)

  • 2012-2012

    OECD Cooperative Research Program Fellowship
    ETH Zurich

  • 2005-2005

    CSIRO Sustainable Ecosystems 'Leadership' Award

  • 2003-2006

    Visiting Fellow
    UNSW at ADFA

  • 2004-2004

    AARES 'Travelling North' Fellowship

  • 2000-2000

    PERC Graduate Fellowship
    PERC, Bozeman Montana

  • 2000-2000

    Land and Water Australia Travel Fellowship

  • 1993-1993

    University Medal
    University of New England

Other highlights

  • 2014-2014

    CSIRO Experienced Leader Program

  • 2013-2013

    Conservation Tenders in Developed and Developing Countries (Co-organiser - Jakobsberg Germany)

  • 2013-2013

    Improving Water Quality in the Great Barrier Reef: From costs to public policy (Organiser - Brisbane)

  • 2005-2005

    New Horizons in Market-Based Instruments (Organiser - Canberra)

  • 2003-2003

    Market-based tools for environmental management: 6th Annual AARES Symposium (Chair organising committee - Canberra)

  • 2017-2022

    Australian and Queensland Government Reef 2050 Plan Independent Expert Panel Member

  • 2015-2016

    Queensland Government Water Science Taskforce


  • 2011-2013

    Reef Rescue - Integrated assessment of BMP cost-effectiveness and barriers to landholder adoption and landholders

  • 2014

    Reef Trust Tender - 3 phases to date - Design and Implementation Support

  • 2010-2011

    Conservation value metric for the environmental stewardship multiple ecological communities project

  • 2008

    Measuring investments – principles and protocols for best-practice MBI metrics in NRM

  • 2007-2008

    Nest Egg outcome auction design and trial

  • 2003-2005

    Tradable Recharge Credits in Coleambally Irrigation area

  • 2013-2016

    How does an adaptation lens change the way we invest in landscapes for biodiversity?

  • 2014-2016

    Economic risk assessment of resistance management strategies for BT cotton

We have publications by Dr Stuart Whitten