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New publication: Using social network analysis to track the evolution of Pacific food system research collaborations over time

Workshop participants listening to a presentation

Sustineo's research team, led by Dr Matthew Allen, Ellis Mackenzie, and Dr Asenati Chan-Tung, worked alongside Dr Rachel Friedman and Dr Steven Crimp from the Australian National University to publish an article in the Regional Environmental Change journal. The article, Using social network analysis to track the evolution of Pacific food system research collaborations over time, delves into the collaborative research landscape on food systems and climate change in Pacific Island Countries and Territories.

Using social network analysis, the article identifies key actors shaping co-authored research on food security in the Pacific. A discernible group of influential organisations, mostly academic institutions, dominates collaborative knowledge development about food systems and climate change in the region. Many of them are based in Australia, the United States, and the United Kingdom.

While regional Pacific institutions have remained central actors in the research landscape, national and subnational actors are still in the minority. The article identified barriers hindering increased Pacific representation, such as insufficient funding, a shortage of qualified teaching staff which exacerbated the teaching burden on academic researchers, and prevalent local stigmas against pursuing careers in agriculture and food production.

This article draws on the findings of Sustineo's project with the Australian National University’s Institute for Climate, Energy & Disaster Solutions in 2022–2023. The project was aimed at supporting the generation of knowledge to assist Pacific stakeholders and help bolster preparedness for changing climate conditions in the Pacific Islands regions. Through expert interviews spanning public and private sectors, civil society, the donor community, and academia in targeted countries, the research aims to contribute valuable insights to the ongoing discourse.

We appreciate the opportunity to share important findings from this project through an open access article. The Sustineo team is hopeful that our article can contribute to understanding the network of researchers on climate change and food systems in the Pacific.

The article can be found in Regional Environmental Change.