Matt is a human geographer with deep expertise in applied social science research, developed over a twenty-year career as an academic and development practitioner specialising in the western Pacific (Melanesia). He has sectoral interests and expertise in land and natural resource governance, food security and resilience, local-level governance, and peace and conflict. In addition to his extensive research as an academic, Matt has contributed to the design and implementation of five major donor-funded applied research projects in PNG and Solomon Islands, including in a leadership capacity; and has undertaken several research-based consultancy assignments in his specialist fields.
Matt has a strong understanding of all dimensions of applied social science research, with particular expertise in qualitative and mixed-methods research. He has advanced Melanesian pidgin language skills and a deep understanding of culturally appropriate approaches to Pacific research and community/stakeholder engagement. Matt has a strong track record of peer-reviewed publications and enjoys an international reputation as a leading social scientist of the Pacific Islands region.
Matt has extensive experience in university teaching and research training, supervision and mentoring. He was a Professor of Development Studies at the University of the South Pacific, 2018-2020 (where he continues to be an Adjunct Professor), and held a succession of academic appointments at the Australian National University, 2008-2017. He holds a Master of Science in Geography and a PhD in Political Science and International Relations, both from the Australian National University, where he is an Honorary Associate Professor.