Dr Hemant R. Ojha


Director, Environmental sustainability and Inclusive Development

Through the past 20 years of research, development practice, and innovation, Dr Ojha has championed deliberative governance, equitable development, decentralised natural resources management, and community empowerment. He is internationally known for his contributions to the theory and practice of community forestry, critical action research, and socially engaged scholarship.
View Profile

Dr Jagadish Timsina


Director, Agricultural Research and Development

Dr Timsina is a globally respected agricultural scientist specialising on agronomy, soil management and agroecosystems sustainability. He has a wide range of experiences in Australia and a number of countries in Asia.
View Profile

Dr Basundhara Bhattarai


Senior Specialist – Gender, Environment and International Development

Dr Basundhara Bhattarai has extensive experience in research, policy and development practice in Australia and the Himalaya region.
View Profile

Scientific Reference Group


Prof Rodney J Keenan


Co-Chair, Ecological Sciences - IFSD High Level Scientific Reference Group

Prof Rod Keenan has a global reputation on ecosystem sciences, forest management and resilience. He has a B. Sc. (Forestry) from the Australian National University and a PhD in forest ecology from University of British Columbia.
View Profile

Professor Anthony Zwi


Co-Chair, Social Sciences - IFSD High Level Scientific Reference Group

Anthony Zwi was the first Head of the School of Public Health and Community Medicine at The University of New South Wales (UNSW), Sydney and is now Professor of Global Health and Development in the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences at UNSW. He seeks to enhance the use of different forms of evidence in health and development policies and to build links between humanitarian relief, development agencies and academic institutions.
View Profile

Professor Andrea Nightingale


Panel Member, Gender and Environmental Governance - High Level Scientific Reference Group

Prof Nightingale  is the Chair of Rural Development in the Global South at SLU in Uppsala, Sweden. Her academic interests include socio-natures, feminist theory, critical development studies, and methodological work on mixing methods across the social and natural sciences. She has worked extensively on understanding how intersectional social relations, including gender, race, caste, class and other axes of social difference (known collectively as intersectional subjectivities) are foundational to which management priorities are considered in and who is expected to do what kinds of work to achieve environmental governance and sustainability goals, as well as the possibilities for the reconfiguration of gender and other social inequalities through everyday governance practices.
View Profile



Dr Ramesh Sunam


Senior Research Fellow - Migration, Livelihoods and Agrarian Change

Dr Ramesh Sunam is currently an International Research Fellow of the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS) at The United Nations University Institute for the Advanced Study of Sustainability (UNU-IAS), Tokyo. Dr Sunam earned a PhD from The Australian National University (ANU) in 2015. His research focuses on international migration (both regular and irregular), poverty, rural transformation, food security, and human dimensions of environmental change. Sunam has extensively published in leading international journals, including Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, Journal of Peasant Studies, Anthropological Forum, and Society and Natural Resources. He has carried out various assignments with international agencies including the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) and the Australian Department of Immigration and Border Protection.
View Profile

Dr Uttam B Shrestha


Senior Research Fellow (honorary) - Himalayan Ecology and Climate Change

Dr Shrestha is a Vice-Chancellor’s Research Fellow at the Institute for Agriculture and the Environment, University of Southern Queensland, Australia. He has completed PhD in Environmental Science from the University of Massachusetts Boston, USA and has two masters’ degrees, one in Geographic Information Technology from Northeastern University, USA and the other in Botany from Tribhuvan University, Nepal. Dr. Shrestha worked at Harvard University, University of Massachusetts Boston, University of Maine, and Ashoka Trust for Research in Ecology and the Environment (ATREE), USA and Technical University of Munich, Germany.
View Profile

Dr Jay Dhungel


Senior Research Fellow

Dr Dhungel conducted PhD is in subsurface drip irrigation, which addressed aeration in crops with different rooting systems and soil types. This project investigated the effect of air injection (aeration) in crop physiology, water use efficiency, yield quantity and quality. He is also trained in systems thinking in agriculture and rural development through his Master of Applied Science degree from Western Sydney University. He has also obtained Bachelor of Agriculture from the prestigious Rampur Campus of Tribhuvan University, Nepal.
View Profile

Dr Rohini Devkota


Research Fellow - Climate Change and Disaster Management

Dr Rohini Devkota is an Environmental Research Scientist at Bugs for Bugs to develop and implement research projects to achieve environmentally sustainable pest management production practices under various climatic conditions. Prior to Australia, he served as an Assistant Professor at Central Department of Environmental Science, Tribhuvan University, Kathmandu, Nepal where he supervised Master’s degree thesis students and delivered classes on climate change and water resources. Previously, He worked as an Environmental Officer at the Ministry of Local Development for the Nepalese Government for 2 years. He has published more than 12 peer review journal articles, more than four dozen general articles in national magazines and his research work has been recognised by several awards.
View Profile

Dr Prativa Sapkota


Research Fellow - Climate Change Adaptation and Social-Ecological Resilience

Dr Prativa Sapkota holds a PhD from the University of Melbourne, Australia. In her PhD research, she used interdisciplinary approach to examine community institutions, social marginalization and adaptive capacity in community forestry user group in the middle hills of Nepal. She completed her M.Sc. in Environmental Forestry from Bangor University, Wales, M.Sc. in Agricultural Development from University of Copenhagen and B.Sc. in Forestry from Tribhuvan University, Nepal. She has worked in the multiple settings of university, NGO and INGO. Her work experience includes teaching, conducting research, developing and implementing programs in thematic areas of natural resource management, GESI and climate change adaptation. Her recent research works include climate adaptation, social vulnerability and resilience.
View Profile

Dr Sakuntala Devkota


Research Fellow - Agricultural Economics

Dr Sakuntala Devkota obtained PhD degree in Agricultural Economics from Kyungpook National University, South Korea in 2009. In her PhD research, she applied autoregressive integrated moving average (ARIMA) model to forecast export and import of agricultural products (Tea, Coffee & Ginger) in Nepal.  She completed her master’s degree in economics from Central Department of Economics, Tribhuvan University, Nepal in 2001. She also has significant teaching experience in colleges in Nepal from 2001~2005 before starting her journey of PhD in South Korea. Dr Devkota has published two peer reviewed journal papers and have co-authored two textbooks for college level students of Nepal. Her areas of research interest are international trade of agricultural products, international trade of high value food commodity and food value chain analysis.
View Profile

Dr Chirangivi Bista


Research Fellow - Education and Development

Dr Bista has expertise in Business and Socio-Economics Research and Analysis. He has made significant scholarly and professional contributions in the area of poverty reduction, migration, health, and small and micro enterprise sectors in Nepal, Vanuatu, and Australia. He is highly experienced in preparing projects proposal, costing and budgeting, and formulating and implementing risk management plans. He has stat of the art skills in training, organizing and facilitating the team works, as well as ensuring the coordination with multi-level stakeholders in education and development sector. He has undertaken in-depth research of tertiary education in Nepal and Australia and possesses skills in teaching and developing Curriculum Packages under the Business and Management disciplines.
View Profile

Country Representatives


Dr Binod Chapagain


Honorary South East Asia Advisor

Dr Chapagain brings over 15 years of international development experiences, particularly on gender, migration, capacity development and community forestry processes. He has worked for various development programs funded by bi-lateral missions, including DFID, DFAT, NORAD, SDC, SIDA & USAID in South and Southeast Asia, and with international NGOs in the same region. Since early 2015, based in Bangkok, he has been working in the Southeast Asia region, earlier for the Center for People and Forests (also called RECOFTC) and currently for USAID funded Green Invest Asia Program. The USAID program collaborates with medium and large size businesses in the Southeast Asia to catalyze private finance for sustainable agriculture and forest. He has completed PhD on gender and migration from the Australian National University, Canberra.
View Profile

Nepal Representative, Dr Mani R Banjade


Environmental Governance and Social Entrepreneurship

Dr M R Banjade is a social entrepreneur, researcher and academics. He was the executive coordinator of ForestAction Nepal. He recently served as a senior researcher at Centre for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) which is based in Bogor, Indonesia.
View Profile