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. 

  • EV1011: Introduction to Sustainability (Level 1; CNS)
  • EV2008: Environmental Management Systems in Practice (Level 2; CNS & TSV)
  • EV2011: The Case for Sustainability (Level 2; CNS & TSV)
  • EV3004: Corporate Social Responsibility in Practice (Level 3; CNS & TSV)
  • EV3011: Sustainability in Practice (Level 3; CNS & TSV)
  • EV5015: Sustainability in Practice (Level 5; CNS & TSV)
  • 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)

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 22+ 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.

Department of Environment and Heritage Protection - Tender

Denitrification bioreactor trial in the Russell catchment of the Wet Tropics

Indicative Funding
$235,087 over 4 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, Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, TropWATER, Terrain Natural Resource Management (Wet Tropics) and Australian Wetland 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.

  • Sustainability Assessment of Mountain Biking and Bushwalking in the Baldy Mountain Forest Reserve and Herberton Range State Forest. A Multiple Bottom Line Assessment for the Atherton Tablelands Region (PhD , Primary Advisor/AM/Adv)
  • Cassowary Attitudes and Drier Behaviour in the Wet Tropics in Australia (PhD , Primary Advisor/AM/Adv)
  • Drivers of Change in Farming Systems and Forest Cover in Ghana (PhD , Primary Advisor/AM/Adv)
  • A study of Forest Management in Indonesia (PhD , Primary Advisor/AM/Adv)

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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