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Researcher biography

Karen is an Associate Professor in the School of Earth and Environmental Sciences at The University of Queensland (UQ). As a human geographer, Karen undertakes research into the impacts of, and responses to, environmental change on people's livelihoods, particularly in the Pacific Islands region and parts of Asia. Karen has been undertaking research in this area for over fifteen years, partnering with numerous governments, and inter-governmental and non-governmental organisations throughout the Asia-Pacific region. She has published more than 70 academic papers and book chapters.

Karen is currently lead Chief Investigator on two ARC Linkage projects (one on optimising community-based climate change adaptation in the Pacific Islands, and one on transformative human mobilities), and Chief Investigator on an ARC Discovery project (on everyday experiences of sea-level rise) and a National Geographic project (on navigating rising seas in Fiji, Tuvalu and the Maldives). She has undertaken a number of research projects for the Australian Government, European Union, United Nations Development Programme, United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, and others. She currently supervises 9 PhD students, and is a member of the United Nations University's 'Resilience Academy', Integrated Research on Disaster Risk's 'Young Scientists Programme', and an Associate with the Queensland Centre for Population Research (UQ). Karen serves on the Editorial Boards of the International Journal of Disaster Risk Science, Urban Island Studies, and the APN Science Bulletin.

Prior to taking up her position at UQ, Karen was a Research Consultant at the University of the South Pacific based in Fiji (2011-2012). From 2008-2011, Karen was based in Cairns at James Cook University managing major research projects in the Wet Tropics rainforest and Torres Strait for the Marine and Tropical Sciences Research Facility and National Climate Change Adaptation Research Facility. Prior to this, Karen worked for the NSW Government (2007) and in various roles at the University of New South Wales (2002-2006).