Kerrie Wilson
Queensland University of Technology

Kerrie Wilson bioProfessor Kerrie Wilson

Pro Vice-Chancellor (Sustainability Strategy) and professor of environmental science, Queensland University of Technology

See Professor Wilson’s full research profile here.


Research outputs linked to policy change and decision-making

  • ARC Centre of Excellence of Environmental Decisions (2011–2018) was a partnership of 5 universities and 5 partner organisations undertaking innovative and transformational research in environmental decision-making. Professor Wilson was a chief investigator and from 2016 to 2018, she was the director of the centre. A strong emphasis was placed on communication and translation into policy and practice. Annually, the centre averaged 45 submissions to government on policy-related issues and more than 18 briefings with government, industry and business. The research led by Professor Wilson contributed to the design of environmental policies and management systems at state, national and international levels. Examples include a decision-support system for fire management, prioritisation of koala conservation areas, and an accounting model of environmental offsets under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act.
  • Borneo Futures (Borneo Futures research initiative, 2010–2018). Professor Wilson was the University of Queensland (UQ) lead scientist of the Borneo Futures research initiative, a collaboration of ~250 researchers from 70 institutions around the world. Her research team employed structured approaches to decision-making and integrated social, economic and ecological analyses to evaluate and predict the outcomes of alternative natural-resource management actions. The project contributed to the up-listing of the Bornean orangutan from endangered to critically endangered, contributed to Malaysia’s Sarawak government pledging to protect additional habitat and end illegal poaching and logging, and influenced Indonesia’s new national plan for orangutan conservation. International acknowledgement of this research was received in 2016 with the receipt of the Malaysian Academy of Science Mahathir Award.
  • Smart allocation of restoration funds (Australian Research Council [ARC] linkage project LP0883616, 2015–2018). Professor Wilson was a lead chief investigator in a collaborative project with the City of Gold Coast (Queensland) on restoration planning. This project facilitated the first comprehensive investigation of the value of structured and inclusive approaches to setting restoration objectives, with the goal of moving the entire restoration sector away from ad-hoc decision-making. Her body of research provided much-needed capability for developing schedules for where and when restoration should occur, and operational guidance for cost-effective restoration planning. For this work, Professor Wilson was awarded a commendation in the social enterprise category at the highly coveted 2018 UQ Partners in Research Excellence Awards and the City of Gold Coast received 2016 Society for Ecological Restoration Australasia Award for Restoration Excellence.

Current academic employment and positions

  • Pro Vice-Chancellor (Sustainability Strategy) and professor of environmental science, Queensland University of Technology
  • 2019–2020: executive director, Institute for Future Environments and professor of environmental science, Queensland University of Technology
  • 2005–2019: professor, University of Queensland
  • 2010–2017: ARC Future Fellow
  • 2016–present: affiliated professor, The University of Copenhagen.

Highest aualification

  • 2004: PhD, University of Melbourne.

Major prizes, medals and honours

  • 2017: Australian Academy of Science Nancy Millis Medal for Women in Science
  • 2016: Mahathir Science Award, Tropical Natural Resources, Academy of Sciences Malaysia
  • 2015: Prime Minister’s Frank Fenner Prize for Life Scientist of the Year Award
  • 2014: HG Andrewartha Medal, Royal Society of South Australia
  • 2013: Australian Museum Eureka Prize Outstanding Young Researcher.

Roles on government or regional organisation committees

  • Current roles
    • 2020: Australian Heritage Council natural heritage expert
    • 2018: Natural Sciences Commissioner of the Australian National Commission for UNESCO
    • 2017: Great Barrier Reef 2050 Plan independent expert panel
    • 2017: scientific committee of Healthy Land and Water (Queensland)
  • Past roles
    • 2016–2017: member of the enabling ecosystem surveillance working group of the Ecosystem Science Council
    • 2010–2015: invited member of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Save our Species advisory committee (international)
    • 2013–2014: invited member of the Qld Department of Environment and Heritage biodiversity research partnership steering committee
    • 2010–2013: invited member of the international biosustainability science committee of DIVERSITAS.

Links with non-government groups or networks

  • Professor Wilson’s research collaborations with non-government organisations and groups include The Nature Conservancy, Healthy Land and Water (Queensland), The Wilderness Society, Trust for Nature Victoria, Greening Australia.

My Projects

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