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Dr Stuart Whitten

Research Director


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Dr Stuart Whitten is the Research Director for Sustainability Pathways, CSIRO Environment. As Research Director his is responsible for setting research direction, identifying, recruiting and supporting a capability of approximately 100 researchers and delivering a funded pipeline of research.

Our Sustainability Pathways research is supporting, driving, and navigating sustainability transitions with the Australian community. Our work brings together diverse perspectives, science and leading-edge technologies in partnership with stakeholders. We are engaging across net zero and a smaller material footprint (circular economy), building climate resilient, prosperous and biodiverse regions and infrastructure. We work with indigenous peers to bring indigenous science and knowledge into our work to build our diverse people, values, hopes and perspectives into our work.

In addition to his Research Director role, Dr Whitten is leading our integrated assessment modelling to better inform the economic, social, regional transition challenges and opportunities of Australia moving to a net zero emissions economy.

Across his career Dr Whitten has brought expert knowledge in environmental and institutional economics to a range of research areas including environmental markets, natural capital on private and public lands, biosecurity, and transaction costs of alternative policy response.

Other Interests

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

Current Roles

  • Research Director
    Sustainability Pathways, CSIRO Environment

  • Project Leader
    Pathways for Australia’s transition to net zero emissions

  • 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