Kerrie Wilson

Kerrie Wilson headshotProfessor Kerrie Wilson

Pro Vice-Chancellor (Sustainability and Research Integrity) and professor of environmental science, QUT

See Professor Wilson’s full research profile here.


Research outputs linked to policy change and decision-making

Professor Kerrie Wilson addresses conservation questions such as where to invest limited resources to protect biodiversity or restore habitat. Her research is characterised by an interdisciplinary approach involving the ecological, geographical and social sciences.

Professor Wilson has had leading roles in several large collaborative projects within Australia and internationally. As examples, a United-States-based private firm (the Irvine Ranch Conservancy) sought her expertise to develop a US$14 million restoration prioritisation plan for a private national park in the Los Angeles Basin. Professor Wilson has also led Australian Research Council (ARC) linkage projects involving 3 of Australia’s largest non-government conservation organisations and local councils as linkage partners. From 2010 to 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 from around the world working in genuine partnership with scientists, global institutions and organisations, governments, non-governmental organisations and industry.

Since 2010, Professor Wilson has provided inspirational leadership to 3 major Australian centres of scientific excellence. As the Director of the ARC Centre of Excellence for Environmental Decisions, she has had responsibility for node and centre-wide research and strategic planning. Professor Wilson was previously the Director of Conservation at The Nature Conservancy Australia Program. Her disciplinary leadership is evidenced by scientific advisory roles such as the natural science expert with the Australian National Commission for UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) and the Australian Heritage Council, conservation prioritisation expert for the IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) Save our Species program and the Independent Expert Panel for the Great Barrier Reef 2050 Plan, and an invited member of the Ecosystem Services Partnership Steering Committee. Professor Wilson commenced as Executive Director of the Institute for Future Environments at QUT in January 2019 (~200 staff and $43 million revenue per annum).

Professor Wilson was appointed an Affiliated Professor in Conservation Science at The University of Copenhagen in 2016. Her clear and creative thinking, scientific rigour and dedication to the natural sciences has been recognised widely through awards that include the Prime Minister’s Prize for Life Scientist of the Year, the Australian Academy of Science Nancy Millis Medal and the Australian Museum Eureka Prize for Outstanding Young Researcher.

Academic employment and positions

  • Sept 2022–present: Pro Vice-Chancellor (Sustainability and Research Integrity), QUT
  • 2021–2022: Pro Vice-Chancellor (Sustainability Strategy), QUT
  • 2019–2020: executive director, Institute for Future Environments and professor of environmental science, QUT
  • 2005–2019: professor, University of Queensland
  • 2010–2017: ARC Future Fellow
  • 2016–present: affiliated professor, The University of Copenhagen.

Highest qualification

  • 2004: PhD, University of Melbourne.

Major prizes, medals and honours

  • 2022: Australasian Agricultural and Resource Economics, Quality of Research Discovery Award 2022
  • 2018: Commendation, UQ Partners in Research Excellence Award, Social Enterprise category
  • 2017: Nominated for the Australian Ecology Research Award
  • 2017: Australian Academy of Science Nancy Millis Medal for Women in Science
  • 2016: Mahathir Science Award, Tropical Natural Resources, Academy of Sciences Malaysia
  • 2016: Prime Minister’s Frank Fenner Prize for Life Scientist of the Year Award
  • 2015: Women in Technology Life Sciences Research Award
  • 2014: SCOPUS Young Researcher Award, Life and Biological Sciences
  • 2014: HG Andrewartha Medal, Royal Society of South Australia
  • 2013: Australian Museum Eureka Prize Outstanding Young Researcher
    2013: UQ Foundation Research Excellence Award
  • 2011: Australian Academy of Science, Travel to Europe Award
  • 2010: Australian Research Council, Future Fellowship (commencement deferred until 10th January 2013)
  • 2009: Australian Leadership Award (nominated by Prof David Siddle and Max Bourke AM)
  • 2009: European Erasmus Mundus Scholar in Sustainable Forest and Nature Management at University of Copenhagen (European Union)
  • 2009: Finalist, L’Oréal Australia For Women in Science Fellowship
  • 2008: Australian Research Council, Post-doctoral Fellowship

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