I completed a BA (Honours) in Geography at Curtin University, Perth in 1993 and I then joined JCU (Townsville) as an Associate Lecturer at which time I also embarked on my PhD in Sustainable Development.  I stayed at JCU until 2000 when I moved to Canberra to take up a position with the Bureau of Rural Sciences (BRS) (Commonwealth Government) where I was involved in developing NRM (natural resource management) socio-economic indicators and researching the adoption of sustainable land management practices.  I completed my PhD in 2002 which was also about the time I left BRS and Australia to return to Scotland to take up a three-year post-doctoral research position at the University of St Andrews.  When this finished I stayed on at St Andrews to establish their undergraduate degree program in Sustainable Development.  I returned to Australia in 2006 and then spent nearly six years as a Lecturer of Environmental Social Science at the University of Western Australia before returning to JCU (Cairns) at the start of 2012 to establish and coordinate the Bachelor of Sustainability.  My research uses a variety of social science methodologies to deliver sustainable outcomes – particularly at local and regional levels and in natural resource dependent communities.  I have published widely in these fields and more broadly in geography and the environmental sciences. 

  • Research areas include: Sustainability and Sustainable Development; environmental social science; natural resource management; education services (university and government); community and stakeholder engagement; triple-bottom line (economic, social, ecological) assessment; regional development; social impact assessment; community capacity (human, social, institutional, cultural) profiling; waterways management and planning; socio-economic indicator and framework development; cultural heritage and sense of place assessments; disaster impact assessment.
  • 2012 to present - Senior Lecturer - Sustainability, James Cook University (Cairns, QLD, Australia)
  • 2007 to 2012 - Assistant Professor, University of Western Australia (Albany, WA, Australia)
  • 2006 to 2007 - Principle Social Scientist - Sustainability, URS Consulting Pty Ltd (Perth, WA, Australia)
  • 2006 - Lecturer, Curtin University (Perth, WA, Australia)
  • 2002 to 2006 - Senior Teaching/Research Fellow, University of St Andrews (St Andrews, Scotland, UK)
  • 2000 to 2002 - Senior Research Scientist, Bureau of Rural Sciences (Canberra, ACT, Australia)
  • 1995 to 2000 - Lecturer, James Cook University (Townsville, QLD, Australia)
Socio-Economic Objectives

These are the most recent publications associated with this author. To see a detailed profile of all publications stored at JCU, visit ResearchOnline@JCU. Hover over Altmetrics badges to see social impact.

Journal Articles
Book Chapters

ResearchOnline@JCU stores 31+ research outputs authored by Dr Colin MacGregor from 2000 onwards.

Current Funding

Current and recent Research Funding to JCU is shown by funding source and project.

Skyrail Rainforest Foundation - Research Funding

Investigating the human dimensions of cassowary and vehicle traffic interactions on Mission Beach roads

Indicative Funding
$1,000 over 1 year
The overall aim of this project is to improve the understanding of cassowary and vehicle traffic interactions in the interest of mitigating cassowary road mortality in Mission Beach. This will be done by observing recorded driver behaviours on the Mission Beach entry roads and interviewing people who have had interactions with cassowaries on Mission Beach roads. The outcomes will identify the most critical factors apparent in cassowary-vehicle traffic interactions and will help to better understand driver behaviours to protect the iconic endangered species. By collaborating with stakeholders, the findings will contribute to reduced cassowary road mortality and improved road traffic safety.
India Marshall, Colin MacGregor and Miriam Goosem (College of Science & Engineering)
Cassowary road-mortality; Driver behaviours; Human-wildlife interactions; Road ecology; Theory Of Planned Behaviour

Palladium Pty Ltd - Australia Pacific Climate Partnership

Traditional Knowledge about Climate and Food Security in Kwaio, Malaita, Solomon Islands

Indicative Funding
$95,000 over 1 year
This project will be implemented in conjunction with Baru Conservation Alliance in Malaita, Solomon Islands. Traditional Knowledge and experience of weather, the seasonal interaction of plants, animals and people will be explored and documented. The use of tradiitional 'disaster food' after natural disasters will also be documented. The local scale production of flour from locally grown fuits and vegetables will be piloted; usage and spoilage monitored, and dishes made from flour trialled for acceptability and feasibility with Kwaio tribal groups. The project links food security, health and ecological sustainability to inform local level disaster and climate resilience measures in Malaita, Solomon Islands.
David MacLaren, Karen Cheer, Michelle Redman-MacLaren, Colin MacGregor and Darren Crayn in collaboration with Tommy Esau, Esau Kekeubata, Dorothy Esau, Maasafi Alabai, Paul Flemons, Tyrone Lavery and Rebecca Johnson (College of Medicine & Dentistry, College of Science & Engineering, Australian Tropical Herbarium, Baru Conservation Alliance, Australian Museum, Australian National University and Smithsonian Institute)
Solomon Islands; Baru Conservation Alliance; Climate Resilience; Food Security; Disaster Preparedness; Traditional Knowledge

Department of Environment and Heritage Protection - Tender

Denitrification bioreactor trial in the Russell catchment of the Wet Tropics

Indicative Funding
$235,087 over 3 years (administered by Jaragun Pty Ltd)
This project will establish the effectiveness of denitrification bioreactors as an on-farm technology for removing dissolved inorganic nitrogen (DIN) in waters draining the Babinda Swamp Drainage Area. The region has been identified as a hotspot for DIN in the Great Barrier Reef catchment. This will be the first trial of denitrification bioreactors in the Wet Tropics. Denitrifying bioreactors route water through a high-carbon substrate under anaerobic conditions to encourage denitrification (the conversion of DIN to atmospheric N2). Two bioreactor configurations will be tested at two sites, and the potential for broader adoption will be assessed.
Paul Nelson, Alex Cheesman, Liz Owen, HanShe Lim, Bithin Datta, Colin MacGregor and Ian Layden in collaboration with Nathan Waltham, Bart Dryden and Mark Bayley (College of Science & Engineering, Jaragun Pty Ltd, DAF, TropWater, Terrain Natural Resource Management and Australian Wetlands Consulting)
sugarcane; Water quality; nitrate; runoff; Wet Tropics; Great Barrier Reef

Advisory Accreditation: I can be on your Advisory Panel as a Primary or Secondary Advisor.

These Higher Degree Research projects are either current or by students who have completed their studies within the past 5 years at JCU. Linked titles show theses available within ResearchOnline@JCU.

  • The potential of front gardens to enhance biodiversity consciousness. (PhD , Secondary Advisor)

The map shows research collaborations by institution from the past 7 years.
Note: Map points are indicative of the countries or states that institutions are associated with.

  • 5+ collaborations
  • 4 collaborations
  • 3 collaborations
  • 2 collaborations
  • 1 collaboration
  • Indicates the Tropics (Torrid Zone)

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