Research boost in Central Australia 


Charles Darwin University’s research capacities in Central Australia will be boosted with the appointment of prominent researcher Dr Rolf Gerritsen as Centre Team Leader.

Dr Gerritsen (pictured) has relocated from Darwin where he was the “Outback Livelihoods” Project Leader in the Tropical Savannas Cooperative Research Centre at CDU’s Casuarina campus.

He brings a wealth of experience drawn from a career in consultancy, lecturing and academia which included a stint as Director Social/Economic Policy in the Department of the Chief Minister.

Dr Gerritsen said he was excited about research opportunities in Central Australia and looked forward to his new role as a mentor and leader.

‘My vision is to have a small but highly respected network of researchers who will gain national and international repute for the University and themselves,’ he said. ‘It’s about developing a holistic approach to research and blending different skills and disciplines.’

Dr Gerritsen is a graduate of the University of Western Australia, the University of Ghana, and has a doctorate from the Australian National University.

His broad areas of expertise include history, African studies, political science and economic anthropology, all of which he considers relevant to his new position.

‘The interfaces between the ecology and the society of remote Australia and its political economy are fascinating especially with regard to Indigenous culture,’ he said. ‘Our collective problems are hugely interesting and shared in part with countries with which we would not normally compare ourselves.’

Dr Gerritsen joins a team of more than 10 Alice Springs-based researchers covering arid land ecology, land management, knowledge systems, and sustainability with a particular focus on Indigenous knowledge and addressing problems of importance to the people of Central Australia.