Research students

Contact Professor Paula McDonald if you are interested in joining this program as a research student. We host PhD and research masters students who contribute to our research on a range of topics.

PhD Students

Natalia Adan

Currently, Natalia holds a scholarship from QUT to undertake her research at the School of Management. She explores food waste governance in the food service business. The focus of the study is to understand how private governance responds to the challenges of reducing food waste in such establishments. Using qualitative research methods, she will investigate perceptions and knowledge about food waste management practices by managers and chefs of restaurants and cafes. She holds a Brazilian bachelor’s degree in agriculture science and has always been involved in food waste management initiatives. She has also worked for the Australian Centre for Culture, Environment, Society and Space at the University of Wollongong.

Irena Bukhshtaber

Organisations are increasingly using technology and artificial intelligence, such as social media profiling and chatbots to select and hire new employees. However, little research has scrutinized whether AI contributes to or exacerbates issues of fairness and bias in hiring decisions. Irena’s research will consider how three different types of Australian organisations use AI to address ethics, bias, fairness, transparency, safety and accountability in recruitment and selection, and if AI supports or hinders recruitment of diverse or vulnerable candidate groups.

Profile picture of Linda Carroli

Linda Carroli

Research topic: Sustainable socio-technical transitions in infrastructure systems in regional planning.


Merrilyn Delporte

Merrilyn’s PhD research focuses on how stakeholders respond to and act on narrative used to advocate for social and human causes, using a qualitative case study of an asylum seeker campaign in Australia. Her research will extend insight into how organisations seek to influence different stakeholders through communications, and how these stakeholders make sense of and respond to these efforts. Prior to commencing a PhD, Merrilyn’s professional experience included work as a foreign policy adviser with the Federal Government, and in policy and communications with State and Federal  Members of Parliament. Merrilyn has also worked as a sessional lecturer and tutor in a range of international relations and business subjects.

Bernadetta Devi

Bernadetta’s PhD research examines how the mining industry in Indonesia is governed in the context of sustainable development. Specifically, her research investigates how proximally located large-scale mining and artisanal and small-scale mining in Indonesia is governed as multi-scalar and how the involved actors are themselves governed. The research utilises a case study approach examining a specific mining site in Indonesia. The research will extend current understandings the (un)sustainable practices of extractive industry and international development.

Gabrielle Jess

Research topic Minding my own business: A multiple capitals perspective exploring Australian small business survival of natural hazards.

Joseph Macharia

Joseph Macharia

Research topic Telephone farmers: The new agribusiness entrepreneurs in Kenya.

Paolo Marinelli

Paolo  Marinelli

Paolo’s PhD research looks to the future of the Australian Federation by examining how power is arranged between and within the Commonwealth, states and territories and their agencies. Using as a case study the recent formation of the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator, which is neither a Commonwealth nor state agency, the various institutional response to the changing power relationships of the Federation are being examined. Prior to commencing his PhD, Paolo worked for both Commonwealth and Queensland agencies in the areas of local government relations, water catchment management and sustainable transport policy including introducing Queensland’s first voluntary travel behaviour program – TravelSmart.


Gayani Mudianselage

Research topic Shop floor worker voice in the strategic CSR agenda of the Sri Lankan apparel industry.

Ellen Nielsen

Ellen’s PhD research investigates how graduates of tertiary education in Creative Industries disciplines experience education-to-work transitions, which reflects her keen interest in the relationship between individuals, higher education, and labour markets. Employing both quantitative and qualitative methods, the research is particularly interested in how these graduates use and value employability strategies when navigating graduate labour markets.  A University Medal recipient and PhD scholarship holder, Ellen has three years’ experience teaching in QUT’s Creative Industries Faculty and has worked as a Research Assistant across QUT’s Creative Industries Faculty, Business School and Learning and Teaching Unit.

Samantha Paredes

Samantha’s PhD research examines the value of local fisheries for the coastal community and tourism. By understanding the consumer preferences of both locals and tourists, this may better connect local fishers to the consumer and may lead to a boost in the local community’s economy. She is currently a PhD candidate and sessional academic in the QUT Business School, Economics and Finance and has worked on projects with the CSIRO Oceans and Atmosphere Flagship. Her previous research examines the role of offsets in compensating for damage in the coastal and marine environments and she holds a Master of Business (Research) (Economics) from QUT and a Bachelor of Business (Economics) (with distinction) / Bachelor of Laws from QUT.

Masters Students

Annissa Hansen

The Aged Care industry in Australia is currently experiencing rapid change with an increasingly older population, a workforce that is increasingly in demand, and a more sophisticated consumer. One of the ways in which the industry is responding to this change is through the increased use of technology, both in the care of patients, but also to create a more efficient work practises. Annissa’s research seeks to understand how the introduction of technology is impacting the aged care workplace. Annissa has held senior leader positions in People and Culture in community services and education organisations, and has over 15 years consulting in Australia, the Asia Pacific region, and the UK.


Alicia Feldman

Alicia’s research explores the drivers and inhibitors of habitat restoration actions among individuals who participate in outdoor recreational activities. The aim is to identify psycho-social and contextual factors that predict the performance of specific responsible environmental behaviours of recreational fishers. This research will contribute to a deeper understanding of the motivations and barriers experienced by individuals, therefore helping to shape more targeted interventions that encourage pro-environmental behaviours.

Choity Jones

Choity’s research explores the strategic ways organisations employ CSR to respond to institutional pressures from a spillover crisis.  The aim is to identify the extent to which organisations assume responsibility within their communication to stakeholders within a CSR-based crisis spillover through strategic responses. Choity comes from an international background and moved to Australia from Sweden in 2007 to complete her Bachelor’s degree.  Since then she has been working as a professional in the Australian international tertiary education sector, and is completing her research studies concurrently.

Maria Khan

Maria’s research explores the persisting gender gap in leadership positions by considering how contemporary leadership is conceptualised in the media and the extent to which cultural norms and gendered assumptions inform media representations of women thereby problematising their progression into leadership. Maria has a Bachelor of Laws (LLB Hons) from the University of London, MSc in Management from the University of Surrey, UK and a Graduate Diploma in Human Resource Management from QUT, and currently works as a Sessional Academic and Research Assistant at QUT.

Rudi Messner

Research topic Waste not. Want not. Make not. A study of the paradoxical economy of food waste preparation.

Denise Nogueira

Denise’s research explores the contributions of the sharing economy to food security in Australia. The purpose of the study is to understand how the sharing economy as a diverse phenomenon is promoting equitable access to individuals or groups that are on the edges of the conventional economy. This research contributes to the development of knowledge on the implications of the sharing economy to social and economic justice. Denise has over 15 years of experience working with community organizations, SMEs, co-operatives, and financial institutions in Brazil and other countries; developing initiatives related to local development, sustainability and corporate social responsibility.


Paul Woods

Technology is increasingly enabling new ways of work – including mobile work away from the traditional workplace. Paul’s research explores how individuals who are encouraged to work in more flexible ways enabled by technology manage the porosity of the physical, temporal and psychological borders between work and life. His research into the intersection between technology, work and life is now being both applied and commercialised through his role as the founder of technology adoption consultancy – Adopt & Embrace. Paul has presented aspects of his research at industry conferences in Australia, Singapore and Canada.