Narayan Gopalkrishnan holds the position of Senior Lecturer in Social Work in the College of Arts, Society and Education. Narayan has a thirty year career in Australia and overseas, working in universities, NGOs and the private sector.  This has included major development projects and large corporate entities in India and work in the not-for-profit sector and academia in Australia. Narayan brings extensive experience in international development in Asia and has managed significant research projects in rural development. Narayan has expertise in Participatory Methodologies and has used these in studies at village and district levels in Asia.


In Australia, Narayan has held senior leading roles in research and sector development.   He was the Founding Director of the Centre for Multicultural and Community Development, at the University of the Sunshine Coast, unique in Australia in bringing together the dual focus on cultural diversity and community development and undertaking groundbreaking work in research, development and training.  Narayan has also coordinated and taught in courses in community development, mental health, counselling, health, globalisation, social disadvantage, human rights and social justice, communication and thought, and social policy.  He has been a visiting scholar in different universities around the world including Africa and Asia.


Narayan is recognised nationally and internationally and is called upon to give keynote presentations at conferences and events.  He has extensive publications in scholarly journals relating to his research interests including publications for bodies such as UNESCO and UNU. Narayan is an engaged scholar.  He has worked in different settings in Australia such as the Australian Red Cross and other NGOs as well as in academia.   He has been one of the founding members of a major NGO, the Multicultural Development Association, the primary provider of settlement services in Brisbane and Toowoomba. He was a member of the Multicultural Community Ministerial Advisory Committee to the Minister of Disability Services and Multiculturalism, Queensland. He has written industry peer reviewed documents such as guides for community development workers on structural change and how government can better engage with citizens. 


Narayan has a deep passion for social justice and integrated and holistic approaches to human development and participation.   

  • WS1005: Human Rights and Social Justice (Level 1; CNS)
  • WS2513: Community Work (Level 2; CNS)
  • WS4503: Social Work and Mental Health (Level 4; CNS & TSV)
  • WS5603: Social Work and Mental Health (Level 5; CNS & TSV)
  • Community Development Social Enterprise Cultural Diversity and Multiculturalism Mental Health Social Determinants of Health and Well Being Integrated Medicine Community and Ecological Sustainability
Research Disciplines
Socio-Economic Objectives
  • 2019 - Inclusive Practice Award, James Cook University
  • 2015 - Community Service Award: Australia and New Zealand Social Work and Welfare Education and Research
  • 2013 - The Cairns Institute, James Cook University

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
Conference Papers

ResearchOnline@JCU stores 42+ research outputs authored by Dr Narayan Gopalkrishnan from 2006 onwards.

Current Funding

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

Centacare Cairns - Contract Research

3M Connect Project Evaluation

Indicative Funding
$30,000 over 3 years
The three suburbs of Manoora, Manunda and Mooroobool in Cairns West are among the most disadvantaged suburbs in Australia. The 3M Connect Project takes a localised approach to community development and seeks to build whole-of-community cohesion and connection through initiatives that are driven and designed by local communities. The project evaluation process will involve qulaity improvement as a continuous process that informs the development and implementation of the project and will incorporate participatory action research tools towards ensuring that the outcomes reflect the needs of all stakeholders especially the most disadvantaged.
Narayan Gopalkrishnan (College of Arts and Society & Education)
Community Development; Asset Based Community Development; Indigenous Communities; Community planning

Queensland Police Citizens Youth Welfare Association (PCYC) - PCYC (funded via Safer Communities Fund)

Peer Support Research Mentoring Project (Safer Communities)

Indicative Funding
Queensland Police Citizens Youth Welfare Association (PCYC) is a registered charity which has been granted funds under the Commonwealth Government?s Safer Communities fund. The aim of the funding is early intervention crime prevention programs and activities for marginalised young people aged between 12 and 21 years old, and reduction in anti-social incidents for the same cohort. The program is being delivered at thirteen sites across Queensland, plus a management and coordination role based in Cairns. Twelve of the thirteen sites have a full time Safer Communities Coordinator (SCC). The Rockhampton SCC has commenced a pilot peer support mentoring (PSM) project with young people in School Term 3. A survey of young people?s knowledge of available services, and identifying effective ways to market these existing local services and activities to young people has commenced via peer action research methodology. A literature review has also been conducted. A separate agency-level social network analysis is also scheduled to be conducted in Rockhampton by March 2020. The research will be rolled out onto other sites in the following years. This project forms a partnership with Prof Babacan and Dr Gopalkrishnan to: 1. Provide expertise in the research as a `critical friend? to guide all aspects of the research 2. Support the development of the methodological frameworks for the evaluation research: review existing research data, prepare indicators and questions for research 3. Support data analysis and overview of final research reports 4. Build capacity of staff and peer researchers 5. Develop a framework for future collaboration with PCYC/JCU.
Hurriyet Babacan and Narayan Gopalkrishnan in collaboration with Shane Pointing (Cairns Institute and Queensland Police Citizens Youth Welfare Association (PCYC))
Safer Communities; Crime Prevention; Youth Development

Mareeba Community Housing Company - Contract Research

Crisis housing in Mareeba and the Atherton Tablelands: Needs, opportunities and innovation

Indicative Funding
The overarching aim of this research is to evaluate the need for crisis accommodation in the Mareeba and Atherton Tablelands region and to explore potential models for crisis accommodation relevant to the unique needs and community context with the objective of developing a sustainable model of crisis housing.
Narayan Gopalkrishnan and Ann Carrington (Cairns Institute)
crisis housing; Social Enterprise; social housing; Homelessness; Innovation

Office for Learning and Teaching - Innovation and Development Grant

International Social Work Student Exchange: Facilitating Good Practice in Australia and Asia Pacific

Indicative Funding
$388,000 over 2 years
Using collaborative and inclusive processes, this project will draw on data from Australian social work education providers and their international partners, to document and analyse current international student exchange practices, highlighting key issues and constraints. Merging this data with a critical literature review, the project will synthesise the knowledge created to develop transferable best-practice models in international student exchange. Focusing on enhancing relationships with the Asia-Pacific, this project aims to document, analyse, develop and disseminate exemplary practices in international social work student exchange. The project will contribute significantly to the development of mutually beneficial international student exchange programs and will support Australian tertiary educators to integrate evidence-led, transferable, good -practice principles into core curricula.
Debra Miles, Nonie Harris, Peter F Jones, Abraham Francis, Narayan Gopalkrishnan and Ines Zuchowski in collaboration with Hurriyet Babacan, Julie King, S Rajeev, Piyachat and Linda Briskman (College of Arts, Society & Education, The University of New England, Queensland University of Technology, De Paul Institute of Science & Technology, Nakhon Ratchasima Rajabhat University and Swinburne University of Technology)
Social Work; International student exchange; Internationalisation; Social Work Education; Curriculum Design

Mind Australia - Contract Research

Proposal to Develop and Implement a Formative Evaluation of the Newly Established Cairns PARC Service

Indicative Funding
$31,835 over 2 years
This proposal aims to work collaboratively with service managers and other key stakeholders to development and implement a formative evaluation plan for the newly established Cairns prevention and Recovery Care (PARC) service. The expected outcomes of the proposed evaluation are: * a description of the PARC service profile and service use characteristics; * a framework to facilitate continuous quality improvement of PARC; * ensure strategies are in place to collect data over the longer term to assess the extent to which the PARC model as it operates in Cairns constitutes value for money; and * provide additional pilot data for the proposed NHMRC Partnership Grant application.
Komla Tsey, Irina Kinchin, Narayan Gopalkrishnan and Vinnitta Mosby in collaboration with Steve Morton, Margaret Grigg, Lisa Brophy and J Buchanan (College of Arts, Society & Education, Indigenous Education & Research Centre, Mind Australia, The University of Melbourne and Cairns & Hinterland Health Service District)
PARC (Prevention and Recovery Care); Mental Illness; Mental Health; Evaluation

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.

  • Entrepreneurship Education Through a Feminist Lens: The Case of Migrant African Australian Women Entrepreneurs in North Queensland, Australia. (PhD , Secondary Advisor)
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Familial suicides; learnings from families and kinship about the healing journey. (PhD , Primary Advisor)
  • A Student Agency Approach to Classroom Engagement (PhD , Primary 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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