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Rebekah Brown


Professor Rebekah Brown
Monash Sustainable Development Institute
T: +61 3 9905 0124

As Director of Monash Sustainable Development Institute (MSDI), Professor Rebekah Brown leads a team taking bold and transformative steps across research, education and engagement to shift the world onto a more sustainable and resilient path.

Sustainable Development isn’t just about the environment. It’s also about people and working for a fair and prosperous world. Under Rebekah’s leadership, MSDI is collaborating across Monash and with government, industry and philanthropists to advance the knowledge, policy and practice of sustainable development; to tackle the global challenges embodied by the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals and to find and implement solutions to real-world problems.

As a social scientist with a background as a civil engineer, Rebekah is a pioneer of interdisciplinary research across the social and biophysical sciences in sustainable water management. She co-founded the water sensitive cities research platform at Monash University as a sustainable development solution to urban water challenges globally. Rebekah was then instrumental in the establishment of the $120M (AUD) Cooperative Research Centre for Water Sensitive Cities and was its inaugural Chief Research Officer.

Rebekah’s research is focused on understanding the social and institutional transformations required to accelerate transitions to more liveable, resilient and sustainable cities. She has published over 100 papers in leading journals including Nature, Science, Global Environmental Change and Water Research. Rebekah is a consulting Editor to Global Challenges, and on a number of international Editorial Boards including Urban Water Journal and Environmental Innovations and Societal Transitions.

In 2016 an international research consortium led by Rebekah was awarded AUD $17M funding from the UK-based Wellcome Trust for a five year project in partnership with the Asian Development Bank to implement a water sensitive revitalisation of informal settlements across the Asia-Pacific. The project brings together expertise across public health, ecology, economics, urban design, engineering and social science disciplines as well as partnerships with organisations including Stanford University, the CRC for Water Sensitive Cities, World Health Organisation, Oxfam and WaterAid.