Prospective students interested in research degree topics involving:

Current PhD students

Minoli Amarasinghe
PhD candidate
Supervised by Dr Colin Brown (principal), Prof John Foster and Dr Liam Wagner (associate)
Topic: 'Sustainable energy - energy efficiency and demand side management'

Don Burtt
PhD candidate
Supervised by Dr Paul Dargusch (principal), Prof John Foster and Dr Liam Wagner (associate)

The overall objective is to review carbon pricing and trading legislation and schemes, principally in Australia, to understand the effectiveness and cost efficiency of how these schemes reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and to suggest how legislation could be changed to provide a more cost effective outcome.

This is to be achieved by examining previous research, gathering information on relevant legislation (having direct and indirect effects), quantifying the impact these schemes have on emission reductions with the inclusion of a survey to understand sensitivities of pricing to energy usage. The value of having a liquid carbon trading scheme will also be analysed. A model is to be developed capturing the relationship between the pricing (and subsidy) of various schemes and the resultant level of GHG reductions.

The intended outcome is determine the most cost effective means by which Australia can reduces its level of greenhouse gas emissions.

Liam Byrnes
PhD candidate
Supervised by Dr Colin Brown (principal), Prof John Foster and Dr Liam Wagner (associate)

Liam's topic examines the viability of powering regional and remote Australian communities with renewable energy. His research aims to better understand the financial viability of installing renewables as well as the social and environmental consequences. Communities examined are located in regional and remote areas of Queensland and Western Australia with different characteristics and sources of electricity. Non-financial barriers and social/cultural considerations form an integral part of the research and will ultimately help develop more effective deployment strategies and government policy.

Leondard Smith
PhD candidate
Supervised by Dr Colin Brown (principal), Dr Liam Wagner (associate)

Leonard investigates how countries can be better equipped following the discovery of new natural resources and how they can ensure sustainable economic and social outcomes. The thesis will also explore the associated impact of direct foreign investment that results from the growth of sovereign wealth funds and authoritative private equity derived from first mover advantage associated with rapid economic growth in a nation as a result of a resource boom. This project will seek to develop metrics which can inform policy makers by identify structures and institutions which may not fairly manage this new source of wealth.

Lynette Moylyne
PhD candidate
Supervised by Dr John Foster (principal) and Dr Liam Wagner (associate)
Topic: 'Measuring resilience in energy systems'

Resilience is a term used widely and interpreted loosely. This research seeks to find predictors of robust energy systems through analysis of past energy shocks. Using insights from the research, the consequences of a lack of resilience in energy systems will be examined.

Former PhD Students

Alexandra Bratanova
PhD awarded in 2015
Supervised by Dr Jackie Robinson (principal), Dr Liam Wagner (associate)

Alexandra investigates potential of project evaluation methods to improve public program development in Russian energy sector. Her research project examines multicriteria analysis and levelised cost of energy modelling as tools to support decision making in addressing the issues of new energy generation technology adoption, energy efficiency improvement and renewable energy development in Russia.

Former masters student projects


Stuart Clark
Master of Economics
Supervised by Dr William Bell
Project title: 'Enabling factors towards sustainable micro-grid energy development for economic growth: An inferred model, based on India, for stakeholder decision-making in rural Kenyan communities'


Gloria Colmenares
Master of Environmental Management
Supervised by Dr Liam Wagner
Project title: 'Biofuels potential of Peru'

Rose-Marie Dennis
Master of Environmental Management


Anne Maren Erlandsen
Master of Economics
Supervised by Dr Liam Wagner
Project title: 'The Effect of Climate Change on Peak Electricity Demand in Australia'

Julien-Joern Mueller
Master of Economics and International Finance
Supervised by Dr Liam Wagner
Project title: 'The devil's tears in the tournament of shadows - oil supply, markets and unstable products'

Leonard Smith,
Master of Natural Resource Economics
Project title: 'Implications of supply and demand shocks to the global LNG marketplace and price implications'


Richard Creagh
Master of Economics
Project title: 'The economic efficiency of applying biochar as a carbon sequestering soil amendment'


Lynette Molyneaux
Master of Natural Resource Economics
Supervised by Prof John Foster and Dr Liam Wagner
Project title: 'Is there a more effective way to reduce emissions than by free-market auction: examining alternatives to emissions trading' (PDF, 489KB)

Cameron McLeod
Master of Economics
Project title: 'Energy security and natural gas: the impact of rising gas prices on the mix of generation plant in the Queensland electricity supply industry'

Former honours student projects


Anthony Smith
Project title: 'Analyzing energy security in the transport fuel supply'


Daniel De Voss
Project title: 'Evolutionary perspectives on energy use and economic growth in Australia'


Patrick Hamshere
Project title: 'Impacts of subprime carbon on a 2020 Australian marginal abatement cost curve'

Krispin McAndrew
Awarded ACCC prize for best micro-economics student
Project title: 'Modelling the potential economic benefits of distributed generation on electricity transmission networks'

Trent Saunders
Project title: 'Distributed generation and peak demand in the national electricity market'


Joseph Mullins
Valedictorian and ACCC prize for best micro-economics student and best overall student
Project title: 'Strategic bidding and spot price in the national electricity market'