David Pannell
The University of Western Australia

David Pannell photoProfessor David Pannell

Professor of agricultural and resource economics, The University of Western Australia

See Professor Pannell’s full research profile here.

E: david.pannell@uwa.edu.au

Research outputs linked to policy change and decision-making

  • Investment framework for environmental resources (INFFER): A framework for systematic assessment of environmental projects, particularly landscape management project. Utilised for planning, prioritisation and business-case development by over 50 organisations, across every Australian state, plus New Zealand, Canada and Italy. The tool has profoundly influenced the thinking and working methods of many of those organisations. Still being actively used after 12 years. Impact achieved by working directly with organisations to identify needs and capabilities, design the tools and documentation, test them widely, provide training and user support, and continuous communication at various levels. Role: project initiator, leader, tool developer, trainer, and communicator.
  • Adoption and diffusion outcome prediction tool (ADOPT): ADOPT is the world’s only systematic tool for predicting the uptake of new practices (including sustainable practices) by farmers. It meets a massive need for this type of information by policy agencies, research agencies, researchers themselves and extension agents. It is being very widely used (well over 1,000 users) including being embedded in the core decision-making processes of some agriculture-related bodies. For example, Grains R&D Corporation utilises it extensively as part of its process for allocating $300 million of funding to research and extension each year. As well as providing predictions, it deepens users’ understanding of the adoption process and its diverse drivers and barriers. Role: inititated the idea for the tool, helped establish an interdisciplinary team to create it, played the key role in its specific technical design and parameterisation.
  • Salinity research: ‘Your research provided the sound economic and social principles that underpin the State’s Salinity Investment Framework, that has recently been endorsed by Cabinet … Your articulate and powerful presentations to the State Salinity Council were instrumental in achieving the necessary shift in policy thinking that will enable more strategic, cost-effective investment.’ Dr Paul Vogel, Director, Environmental Policy Unit, Department of Premier and Cabinet, WA. ‘I have no doubt that your group has influenced not only industry attitudes towards sustainability, but also national policy agendas, particularly with respect to dryland salinity.’ Mr Richard Price, National Manager, National Dryland Salinity Program.
  • National Environmental Science Program (NESP) Northern Australia Environmental Resources Hub (NAERH) projects: Multi-objective planning in northern Australia, Prioritising threatened species in northern Australia and Transdisciplinary environmental research.

Current and recent academic employment and positions

  • 2004–present: professor of agricultural and resource economics, University of Western Australia
  • director, Centre for Environmental Economics and Policy, University of Western Australia
  • 2020–2022: project leader, Australian Research Council discovery project
  • 2014–2020: project leader and researcher, Bushfire and Natural Hazards Cooperative Research Centre (CRC)
  • 2012–2020: project leader and researcher, CRC for Water Sensitive Cities
  • 2015–2020: project leader, NESP NAERH
  • 2015–2020: project leader, NESP Threatened Species Recovery Hub

Highest qualification

  • 1989: PhD, University of Western Australia.

Major prizes, medals and honours

  • 2015: Quality of Research Communication Award, Australian Agricultural and Resource Economics Society
  • 2012: Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences in Australia
  • 2011: Distinguished Fellow of the Australian Agricultural and Resource Economics Society
  • 2009: Australian Research Council Eureka Prize for Excellence in Interdisciplinary Research
  • 2004: W.E. Wood Award for Excellence in Salinity Research and Development.

Roles on government or regional organisation committees

  • Professor Pannell has served on 15 government committees and boards in Australia and one in Canada, related to natural resource management. To each of these, he brought his focus on systematic decision making to achieve better environmental outcomes. Examples include the board of directors of Land and Water Australia; technical advisory committee for Water Resource Recovery Catchments in WA; scientific advisory panel for Caring for Our Country program, Australian Government; and ministerial task force on State Salinity Strategy, WA.

Links with non-government groups or networks

  • Professor Pannell has many links with non-government organisations. He has engaged closely with around half of the 50 regional natural resource management bodies around Australia, providing advice, consulting, and training on tools and systems for decision-making. He recently completed a project that involved collaboration with The Nature Conservancy in a project on the conservation potential of abandoned agricultural land.

My Projects

Current projectCompleted project
NESP RLH, 2021-2027NESP, 2015-2021NERP, 2012-2015TRaCK, 2005-present