Dr Felecia Watkin Lui is a Torres Strait Islander woman with giz from Erub, Mabuiag and Badu.  She is an Associate Professor of Indigenous Studies in the Indigenous Education and Research Centre and Thematic Convenor of Indigenous Futures for the Cairns Institute, JCU. 

She graduated with a PhD from JCU in 2010. Her doctoral research was the first intergenerational study examining cultural and political identity for Islanders living outside the Torres Strait.   Dr Watkin Lui's doctoral research on the Torres Strait Diaspora led to an interdisciplinary collaboration with colleagues in environmental science and economics and ground breaking work on the sharing of marine bush meat in Indigenous communities. Her focus on collaborative community projects piqued her interest in exploring issues of engagement, impact and benefit, and the role of Indigenous leadership in research uptake.  Dr Watkin Lui was Principal Investigator on an ARC Indigenous Discovery Project (2014-17) which focused on research impact and benefit in Indigenous research contexts.

Dr Watkin Lui was project leader of Meriba buay - ngalpan wakaythoemamay (We come together to share our thinking): Evaluating a Community of Practice for Torres Strait Islander Health and Well-being funded by the Lowitja Institute.  Further details about the project can be found at  https://www.lowitja.org.au/page/research/research-categories/cultural-and-social-determinants/social-determinants-of-health/projects/meriba-buay

She is currently the lead researcher for ARC Indigenous Discovery IN190100061, titled Knowledge Integration for Torres Strait Sustainability with CIs Dr Sanchia Shibasaki (Lowitja Institute), Dr Cass Hunter (CSIRO), Prof Natalie Stoeckl (JCU) and Prof Stewart Lockie (JCU).  This project aims to investigate how Torres Strait Islanders use context-specific local knowledge and research evidence to address environmental sustainability challenges. The Torres Strait is experiencing significant threats to its environment and there is a need to use research to identify strategies that can meet these challenges. However, at present significiant barriers exist in the translation of current research knowledge to the Torres Strait context. The project will examine how knowledge is constructed (culturally) and develop new methods to allow research findings to be integrated into Torres Strait knowledge. This project will support the empowerment of Torres Strait Islander people to seek the research information that is most useful for their decision-making.




  • IA3030: Navigating the Cultural Interface (Level 3; CNS & TSV)
  • IA5012: Interpreting Research (Level 5; CNS)
  • IA5030: Navigating the Cultural Interface (Level 5; CNS & TSV)
  • IA5110: Individual Study/Project (Level 5; CNS)
  • IA5431: Justice and Indigenous Peoples (Level 5; CNS)
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

ResearchOnline@JCU stores 23+ research outputs authored by A/Prof Felecia Watkin from 2012 onwards.

Current Funding

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

Australian Research Council - Discovery Indigenous

Knowledge Integration for Torres Strait Sustainability

Indicative Funding
$387,811 over 3 years
This project aims to support sustainable development in the Torres Strait through the development of practical, locally-relevant strategies for collating, generating and integrating knowledge relevant to the management of intersecting social, economic and environmental challenges. The project seeks to generate new knowledge about how Torres Strait Islander people construct the idea of sustainable development by integrating participatory and quantitative methodologies to support research evaluation and decision-making in a way that supports community aspirations. The expected outcomes include enhanced capacity of Torres Strait Islander people to effectively seek the knowledge that is most useful in their decision-making for sustainability.
Felecia Watkin, Stewart Lockie and Natalie Stoeckl in collaboration with Sanchia Shibasaki and Cass Hunter (Indigenous Education & Research Centre, The Lowitja Institute, Commonwealth Scientific & Industrial Research Organisation, Cairns Institute and Division of Tropical Environments & Societies)
Torres Strait; Sustainability; Sustainable Development; knowledge integration; knowledge translation

Lowitja Institute-Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health CRC - LI Cooperative Research Centres (CRC) funding

The Co-production of the Lowitja Institute Knowledge Translation to Research Impact for Empowerment Approach

Indicative Funding
$225,000 over 2 years
This research project will involve the co-development of a Knowledge Translation to Research Impact for Empowerment Approach with the Lowitja Institute Research and Knowledge Translation (R&KT) team. The co-development of this approach will incorporate and work off three major products that will provide the building blocks to improving Knowledge Translation (KT) and research impact for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health research: 1. Lowitja Institute Knowledge Translation and Research Impact Indicators; 2. Lowitja Institute Research for Impact Tool co-developed with James Cook University (JCU); and 3. Lowitja Institute KT to Research Impact Framework. This research project will combine the proposed programs of work which will lead to the JCU team and the Lowitja Institute developing the first known Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander KT to Research Impact Approach that will underpin research commissioning, monitoring and reporting, translation of knowledge into practice, workforce development and so on. It is anticipated this work will have significant implications for the broader Australian health research environment.
Felecia Watkin, Komla Tsey and Lynda Ah Mat (Indigenous Education & Research Centre, College of Arts and Society & Education)
Research Impact; Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander He; Knowledge Translation

Lowitja Institute-Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health CRC - Seeding Grant 2020

TSACA: Feasibility Study for a Torres Strait Aged Care Information and Advocacy Hub

Indicative Funding
$20,730 (administered by Torres Strait Aged Care Association Inc.)
This project A Feasibility Study for a Torres Strait Aged Care Information and Advocacy Hub will provide evidence to support a larger grant application for the second round of grants to close in October 2020. This feasibility study explores the idea of aging and older adults who could benefit from an Aged Care Information and Advocacy Hub. The Information and Advocacy Hub idea aims to support individual and community to better understand the aged care system (particularly within their local island jurisdictions). The aging and older adults Hub concept will involve building networks and key partnerships with aged care services, aligned government agencies, NGOs and relevant non-for-profit agencies in the region. JCU will work with TSACA Inc to i) undertake a needs analysis with key stakeholders to determine the demand and scope; ii) Examine similar models; iii) Prepare a report of findings, and iv) Raise awareness about unmet aged care needs for those living in the Torres Strait and identify opportunities for seniors to contribute meaningfully to their respective communities and the broader Australian society.
Felecia Watkin in collaboration with Vincent Backhaus and Lynda Ah Mat (Indigenous Education & Research Centre)
ATSI Health; Research Impact; Knowledge Translation; Aged Care

Lowitja Institute-Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health CRC - Research Activity Funding

Meriba buay - ngalpan wakaythoemamy (we come together to think): Evaluating a Torres Strait Research Community of Practice

Indicative Funding
$405,692 over 2 years
The project aims to identify and describe processes involved in developing and implementing a Community or Practice (CoP) that focuses on the social determinants of health and well-being for Torres Strait Islanders; and monitor and evaluate the Knowledge Translation (KT) capacity of CoP members and KT impact in the community. The expected outcomes include (a) a repository of knowledge about TSI research projects (b) a network to support capacity building and ? knowledge translation strategy. Current knowledge about the social determinants of health for Torres Strait islanders is fragmented and researchers are often working in isolation. There is growing evidence demonstrating the effectiveness of CoPs in health care and knowledge translation through shared learning, innovative practice and collaborative research.
Felecia Watkin, Vinnitta Mosby, Juanita Sellwood and Al Harvey in collaboration with Sean Taylor, Cass Hunter, Lynda Ah Mat, Sanchia Shibasaki, Daniel Grainger and Margaret Harvey (Indigenous Education & Research Centre, College of Arts, Society & Education, Queensland Health, Commonwealth Scientific & Industrial Research Organisation, The University of Queensland, SenseMakers 4 Smarter Care and Monash University)
Torres Strait; Social Determinants; Community of Practice; ToresStrait Islander health

Office for Learning and Teaching - Innovation and Development Grant

Addressing the gap between policy and implementation: Strategies for improving educational outcomes of Indigenous students

Indicative Funding
$41,118 over 2 years (administered by Central Queensland University)
This proposed project is a partnership between five universities representing regionally focused and metropolitan based universities with a regional outreach; Central Queensland University (CQU), Charles Darwin University (CDU) with Batchelor Institute, James Cook University (JCU), The University of Newcastle (UoN) and the University of South Australia (UniSA). The project focuses on the Office for Learning and Teaching (OLT) priority; ?improving access to and outcomes in higher education for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people?.
Denise Wood, Bronwyn Fredericks, Steve Larkin, Lester-Irabinna Rigney, Maree Gruppetta, Josephine May and Felecia Watkin (Central Queensland University, Charles Darwin University, University of South Australia, The University of Newcastle and Indigenous Education & Research Centre)
Aboriginal; Education; Retention; Torres Strait Islander; University

Australian Research Council - Discovery Indigenous

Developing a framework for measuring Indigenous research benefit

Indicative Funding
$612,845 over 3 years
The proposed project will bring together researchers and Indigenous community members to develop a collaborative framework for measuring research benefit. It will address two main 'Closing the Gap' priority areas, Indigenous health and education, by questioning what constitutes research benefit from an Indigenous perspective, and how can the benefits of research be measured to ensure sustainable outcomes for Indigenous communities. The innovation of this project lies in its methodology which will unpack the benefit construct from an Indigenous worldview to enable future research projects to be designed with outcomes in mind that are acceptable and valued by Indigenous beneficiaries and be informed by Indigenous knowledge.
Felecia Watkin, Roxanne Bainbridge, Yvonne Cadet-James, Komla Tsey and Janya McCalman (Indigenous Education & Research Centre, Central Queensland University, College of Arts and Society & Education)
Aboroginal & Torres Strait Islander; benefit; research impact

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.

  • Best practice and cultural appropriateness: Governance of the Torres Strait fisheries into the future. (PhD , Secondary Advisor)
  • Indigenous and First Nations Women in Indigenous Leadership: a Comparative Study (PhD , Primary Advisor)
  • Textile Collaborations in remote Indigenous Communities in Northern Australia (PhD , Advisor Mentor)
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultural competence in legal service delivery; how can it be defined, measured and produced? (Masters , Secondary Advisor)
  • Looking to the Future (Paypa Nagemik) - Economic Development in the Torres Strait as Self-determination (Masters , Secondary Advisor)
  • Exploring and Identifying a Voice to Parliament for Mainland Torres Strait Islanders (Masters , Primary Advisor)
  • Exploration of Resilience of Indigenous Students in Remote Contexts (Masters , 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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  3. Dr Lynore Geia
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  4. Dr Roxanne Bainbridge
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  5. Dr Janya McCalman
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