Our people


Students are the most important part of our college. If you think we can provide you with the right network and setting to do your PhD in climate and/or energy system science, please consider applying. We would love to hear from you.

Cathy Alexander has eight years’ experience as a political journalist in Australia. For most of this time she covered environmental policy and politics, with a major focus on climate change. She worked from the press gallery in Parliament House, Canberra, for three years with Australian Associated Press (2007-2010). More recently she was deputy editor of the website Crikey, where she continued to write on the environment and climate change. Cathy has also worked for a federal Coalition shadow cabinet member.

Natasha Ballis is a PhD candidate at the University of Melbourne in the Department of Infrastructure Engineering, under the supervision of Dr Murray Peel, Assoc Prof Rory Nathan, Dr Ben Henley and Prof David Karoly. Natasha was awarded degrees in Engineering (Civil) and Science (Atmosphere and Ocean Sciences) by the University of Melbourne and has experience working as a consulting engineer, modelling, planning and designing water supply systems.

Tim's research interests are diverse but centre around climate change law, broadly construed to include corporate social responsibility, torts, planning and administrative law, as well as the more traditional concern with United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change-led processes and domestic climate politics.

Poomphan is an energy analyst who is specialised in low-carbon technologies as well as energy modelling. He earned his Masters in Renewable Energy and Environmental Modelling from the University of Dundee (UK). He previously worked across a range of clean energy projects in ASEAN, Italy, the Pacific region, and the United Kingdom. He built up a good track record of consultancy experience in private equity-owned, international agencies as well as several government agencies in the Asia-Pacific region.

Kate holds an MSc in Environmental Technology from Imperial College London, and a BA from Latrobe University. For the past 10 years Kate has worked with environmental non-governmental organisations on forests, climate change and human rights, particularly the European Union’s policy responses to forest governance reforms and illegal logging, and the development of the REDD+ mechanism (reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation) at the UNFCCC.

Sonya completed a Masters of Atmospheric Science at the University of Melbourne, where she investigated changes in alpine Australia’s winter rain and snowfall events. She has worked for both the University of Melbourne and the Australian Bureau of Meteorology as a research assistant focusing respectively on synoptic weather patterns for extreme weather events and air pollution and using statistical methods to project Victorian streamflows to the end of the century using downscaled CMIP5 global climate models. 

With a degree in economics and honours degrees in development studies and law, Adrian began his career as a solicitor with a leading Australian law firm before moving in-house as a corporate lawyer with a global beverage company.  He then worked in corporate partnership and innovation roles with international development and environment organisations in Australia and the United Kingdom.

PhD Project:  Household Solar Power Policy

Philip is a Berlin born international trade and investment jurist. He obtained his Master’s degree (LL.M.) in “International and European Law: Trade and Investment Law” with distinction from University of Amsterdam (Netherlands) and holds a Bachelor of Laws (LL.B.) from FernUniversität in Hagen (Germany). Philip advanced his studies in Barcelona (Spain) where he attended specialized courses of the “International Economic Law and Policy Program” (IELPO LL.M.) as well as in Bern (Switzerland) at the WTI Summer Academy 2015 of the World Trade Institute.

Until early 2011, Ellycia worked a Marine Scientist, with Oceana – the world’s largest marine conservation organization. As part of the Climate Change and Clean Energy team in their Washington DC headquarters, Ellycia played a significant role in communicating and translating information about climate change and ocean acidification to policy makers and the general public, in an effort to raise awareness about their impacts and advocate for policy creation to protect the oceans and those that depend on them.

Dimitri is from the Netherlands, but has been living in Australia for the last 8 years. He graduated from the University of Utrecht with an MSc in geology/geophysics and has been working as a geoscientist for Shell for 11 years in the Netherlands and Australia. He now returns to academic life in pursuit of a PhD researching the climate impact of fugitive emissions of the fossil fuel industry, and unconventional gas in particular. In his free time he can be seen cycling in the Dandenongs.

Fiona Macgill

Fiona has a Masters in Spatial Information Science from the University of Melbourne. Her major project looked at “Comparison of MODIS-Aqua Chlorophyll-a algorithms west of Tasmania. Previously she studied Computer Engineering and Mathematics in Melbourne and enjoyed a semester exchange in Germany. In her spare time she practices Aikido, a Japanese martial art, for which she recently graded in Japan. On weekends she enjoys spending time along the Victorian coast: open water swimming, walking and enjoying the surf.

Madhu worked as a consultant in a multi-disciplinary environmental services firm for over a decade where he managed projects of varied environmental planning and design complexities in Australia, China, Hong Kong and India.  

Kennedy Mbeva is currently a PhD candidate in the department of Political Science, Faculty of Arts, at the University of Melbourne. His PhD project explores the co-evolution of the trade and environmental governance regimes, focusing on how preferential trade agreements foster (or not) environmental governance.

Dylan is a Chemical Engineer, with experience as an energy analyst. He has a detailed understanding of the cost structure of energy technologies and the electricity market. He was an author of the Melbourne Energy Institutes Renewable Energy Technology Cost Review, commissioned by the Garnaut Review, an investigation of renewable technology costs and projections. He has also developed detailed energy market models for analyzing the National Electricity Market electricity dispatch and price-setting system, in the context of understanding the effect of distributed solar photovoltaic systems and other technologies affecting wholesale electricity demand.

Alex studied Geography in Berlin and Climate Science in Bern. Before starting his PhD project in Melbourne he worked at the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Working Group I Technical Support Unit during the Fifth Assessment cycle. Alex draws on his work experience to develop research questions related to changes in climate systems that potentially have severe societal consequences. He hopes to contribute to a better understanding of the physical implications of different climate futures.

Zebedee completed his undergraduate Masters course in Physics at St.John’s College, University of Oxford. There he specialised in Atmospheric and Biological Physics and completed his Masters project under the supervision of Professor Myles Allen. His thesis focussed on building a simple integrated assessment model to analyse the factors which influence how much an economically rational decision maker might choose to let the Earth warm.

Alex is an environmental scientist with experience across a range of fields. He graduated from RMIT University in early 2014 with a double undergraduate degree and honours degree in enviromental science and environmental engineering. He has also had short stints working for a water managment authority in rural Victoria and in environmental consulting. This allowed him to gain experience across topics including atmospheric and soil chemistry, mathematics, hydrology and environmental modelling.

Graham is an electronic and industrial engineer with a technical, R&D, and management career in small business. His experience covers analog electronics, industrial automation, energy efficiency, and HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning). Following the completion of a Masters in Sustainable Energy at RMIT in 2008, he has made contributions to the energy and climate areas. His research aims to develop an improved systems-based methodology for EROI (energy return on investment) for fossil and non-fossil electricity generation.

Caroline received her undergraduate education at Harvard University in Human Developmental and Regenerative Biology, with a secondary field in Economics. As the 2017 U.S. Fulbright Anne Wexler Scholar in Public Policy, she will pursue research at the intersection of climate change and public health; she is specifically interested in how vulnerable populations respond to climate-influenced food insecurity.

Nick completed a Bachelor of Communications and Diploma of Business at Monash University in 2000 and spent the next fifteen years working in various communications roles within the corporate sector. He combined employment with further study, completing a Bachelor of Letters with Honours in politics in 2010, and a Master of European and International Studies in 2014. His Honours thesis focussed on the state-firm nexus within the European automotive industry.

Stephen undertook his undergraduate arts degree at the University of Adelaide with a major in Anthropology. He later completed Honours at the University of Melbourne with research into how rock-climbers perceive nature and manage the environmental impacts of their climbing practices.

Seb Rattansen is an experienced policy analyst with over five years experience in both the UK and New Zealand public sectors. He has worked on strategic policy and operational policy in both countries. In the UK he led the development of a new air quality requirement for the £864m Renewable Heat Incentive. The RHI is a flagship initiative designed to help the UK meet its EU climate targets. In New Zealand he led the publication of the Dairying Clean Streams Accord Snapshot of Progress report for 2010/11. This was a key report on the environmental performance of the agricultural sector in New Zealand. 

Yann obtained a Master’s in climate, ocean and atmosphere science (Pierre and Marie Curie University) as well as a Magister in theoretical physics (University of Paris-Sud). He has various research experience in oceanography (Equatorial Atlantic, Arctic, Antarctica), hydrology, cosmology and sea ice rheology at the universities of Pierre and Marie Curie, Harvard, Berkeley, Oxford, Copenhagen and McGill, respectively. After a year of field research in Benin and a sailing journey across the Arctic North-West Passage, Yann enrolled in the College and modelled national greenhouse gases emissions scenarios following a combination of different vision of climate justice:

Climate justice: Can we agree to disagree?
Operationalising competing equity principles to mitigate global warming

Raif is an Australian professional public servant, with over 15 years experience in policy and regulatory roles pertaining to energy systems, markets and resources. Raif graduated from the University of Western Australia in 2000 with a BA(Hons) in political science. Upon graduation, Raif worked for the Western Australian Government in upstream energy resources. Since then he has worked for the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission in energy network regulation from 2004-2007, and for the Victorian Government since 2007 on national energy market reform processes.

Kate studied an Honours in Mathematics and Statistics at the University of Queensland. During this period the 2010-2011 floods occurred and she developed an interest in disaster modelling. Pursuing this interest she worked in a Natural Hazards group at CSIRO with a focus on flood modelling. This interest continued in her PhD studies at the University of Melbourne, where she works on fitting statistical models to help understand how ENSO impacts the frequency and intensity of extreme rainfall events.

Alister is a PhD candidate through the department of Geography at the University of Melbourne. Alister holds a Master of Environment (Distinction) from the University of Melbourne, as well as a BSc (Distinction) in biological sciences from RMIT University. His previous research has looked at the role of leadership in international climate change politics, with particular focus on the tension between national and international priorities in India and other large rapidly industrialising countries.

Anita has a Masters in climate change and an engineering degree from the Australian National University.  She previously worked for the Australian Parliamentary Library providing research and analysis to Members and Senators of the Australian Parliament on climate change and renewable energy issues. In 2011 she spent a brief period at the European Parliament in Brussels.

PhD Project: Policy and governance of climate engineering 

Alexei was previously a research associate at the RMIT University Global Cities Research Institute, working across a range of climate change adaptation projects in the Asia-Pacific region, as well as private sector and local government partners in Australia. He has a background in human geography and development, with ongoing advisory roles with UN-Habitat and the UN Global Compact Cities Programme.

PhD Project: Urban Climate Resilience in Melanesia’s rapid-growth cities: the migrant narrative

Skye has a background in environment and development issues across the Asia-Pacific region, with a focus on responding to environmental and climate change risks and uncertainty. She works on the development of climate change adaptation and environment projects in the Asia-Pacific region for the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).

Elisabeth Vogel

Elisabeth studied Environmental Engineering at TU Berlin, with specialisations in agriculture, soil science and ecological modelling. During her final thesis, which she completed at the University of Lund, she analysed the role of soil respiration for the carbon balance of boreal forests. Prior to coming to Melbourne, she held a position as research assistant at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, exploring the impact of the ENSO climate oscillation index on global agricultural yields.

Changlong Wang grew up in China, studied at the Australian National University and has an engineering degree in Sustainable Energy Systems, Electronic Systems, Mechanical and Material Systems. In his honours project with the Australian Solar Institute Laboratory at the ANU, he developed several routine methods for detecting and distinguishing the most important defects (Iron and Oxygen) in silicon solar cells.

Martin studied Biological Sciences at The University of Southern California where he specialized in Astro and Geomicrobiology and later worked on Microbial Fuel Cells at the J. Craig Venter Institute in La Jolla. Martin then returned to Argentina, his home country, to pursue social entrepreneurship and establish businesses within the clean energy sector.

Annabelle completed her undergraduate degree at Melbourne, majoring in Politics and Chinese. In her Honours year, she investigated China's environmental policy in the lead-up to the Beijing Olympics. Upon completing her studies, Annabelle worked at the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC). Last year, Annabelle completed a Postgraduate Diploma in Environments (Public Health).

Matthew initially worked for over a decade in the global financial news and information business companies such as: Knight Ridder, Dow Jones and Reuters where he gained experience working in the media and news business.  Following that career he spent a couple of years with Hewlett Packard as a Pre Sales Engineer/Technical Account Manager.  In 2007 he formed an Environmental NGO ‘Beyond Zero Emissions’ and