Our skills

Our capacities and capabilities include:

Climate compatible development

Our researchers are interested in examining how climate change (adaptation and mitigation) can be ‘mainstreamed’ into development. We recognise climate change as one of many interacting drivers that are exerting pressure on livelihoods and ecosystems, and we take approaches that are holistic and integrative. We have developed tools which can identify livelihood strategies which can simultaneously build adaptive capacity, reduce or sequester carbon emissions, and meet the Sustainable Development Goals. We also apply concepts such as ‘adaptation pathways’ which can plot the implementation of livelihood strategies to maintain flexibility in the face of future uncertainty. We have also investigated narratives of climate change and adaptation that shape adaptive capacity and responses at individual, community and institutional levels.

Contact: Erin Bohensky

Ethics of development research and practice

Ethical research and practice is fundamental to inclusive, participatory development – it also makes good sense from a science perspective. The LAAD team are active in shifting the ethics conversation beyond compliance to examine how ethical practice shapes research and development outcomes. We have developed practical tools to assist researchers and practitioners to engage ethically with others and we continue to test our approaches within our own respective projects.

Contact: Lucy Carter

Gender-sensitive development

Our researchers are interested in developing an understanding of the constraints, barriers and opportunities women face in differing contexts across the Asia-Pacific region to ensure the widest positive impact of our work. We have developed processes to ensure that the design and implementation of programmes involve women across multi-scales and in policy dialogues for transformative change. Key areas of our gender research are nutrition sensitive agriculture, women’s economic empowerment through inclusive value chains, energy-food-water nexus including the feminisation of agriculture, and MEL.

Key contacts: Michaela Cosijn, Samantha Stone-Jovicich and Lucy Carter

Monitoring, evaluation and learning (MEL) for more meaningful and impactful research

Achieving, and demonstrating, impacts from research is not easy. We know that the adoption of research findings and technologies hinges not only on rigorous science but on other practices that often fall outside the domain of science – e.g., building strong partnerships with key clients and stakeholders; engaging effectively with policy; and using project management tools that help track progress while enabling flexibility and responsiveness to emerging demands and unexpected changes. The LAAD team have been experimenting with ways to tailor and embed Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning (MEL) approaches and tools in research projects and programs as a means to support scientists and partners better track, understand, and reflect and learn about the role science can play in contributing to positive change for people and the environment.

Contact: Samantha Stone-Jovicich

Nutrition-sensitive agriculture (NSA)

NSA approaches recognise that food systems play a key role in shaping livelihood outcomes. Essentially meaning “agriculture with a nutrition lens”, NSA recognises nutrition-agriculture pathways are primarily mediated by women and their capacity to provide nutritionally-dense, affordable and safe food for their families. NSA is essential for reducing malnutrition, improving food security and reducing poverty. Lucy Carter has co-authored strategic planning and operational documents for DFAT, contributed to country-level programming, and facilitated learning events for partners striving to improve health and nutrition outcomes using agriculture as a primary pathway.

Contact: Lucy Carter

Participatory planning and decision-making

We have skills in designing and running participatory processes and tools (e.g. scenario planning) which aid stakeholders from multiple levels to anticipate future uncertainty, and identify appropriate interventions. Our processes are intended to generate social learning, conflict resolution, collaboration, innovation and transformative change in systems. We also evaluate these processes to better understand how their design and the dynamics of participation achieve the intended outcomes.

Contact: Erin Bohensky

Partnership brokering and innovation capacity development

Complex problems inherently involve multiple interests and stakeholders. Inter-sectoral partnerships between stakeholders from private sector, government and civil society are increasingly important in order to co-design and co-develop solutions. We have partnership brokering skills for the generation of knowledge and building capacity to engender systemic change through our research in market systems, nutrition sensitive agriculture, gender mainstreaming and climate compatible development. We also develop capacities to innovate through a partnership approach.

Contact: Michaela Cosijn

Total System Health

We are building on the concepts of One Health and Ecohealth to take a systems view of health challenges. Our Total System Health approach explicitly aims to understand health problems from multiple perspectives, to understand the power and political dynamics that govern health outcomes, and to apply a pathways approach to interventions.

Contact: Erin Bohensky