Prof Quentin Grafton

  • Professor, Australian Laureate Fellow, Chairholder, UNESCO Chair in water Economics & Transboundary Water Governance, Director, Centre for Water Economics, Environment & Policy, Convener Geneva Actions on Human Water Security, Convener Water Justice Hub, Crawford School of Public Policy

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Personal profile


R. Quentin Grafton, FASSA, is Professor of Economics, Australian Laureate Fellow, Convenor of the Water Justice Hub, and Director of the Centre for Water Economics, Environment and Policy (CWEEP) at the Crawford School of Public Policy at the Australian National University. In April 2010 he was appointed the Chairholder, the UNESCO Chair in Water Economics and Transboundary Water Governance and between August 2013 and July 2014 served as Executive Director at the Australian National Institute of Public Policy (ANIPP). He currently serves as the Director of the Food, Energy, Environment and Water Network and Covenor of the Water Justice Hub.

He is the recipient of several prestigious awards including the National Water Commission Professor Peter Cullen Eureka Prize for Water Research and Innovation(2011), Royal Bank of Canada Distinguished Lecture (2017), the Vice-Chancellors’ Award for Education, Excellence in Supervision and the ANU Commendation for Outstanding Contribution to Student Learning (2011).

Previously he was Chief Economist and Executive Director of the Australian Bureau of Resources and Energy Economics (2011-2013), Senior Fellow at the Centre for Resource and Environmental Studies (2001-2004) at the ANU, Director of the Institute of the Environment (1999-2001) at the University of Ottawa, Canada.

He has an abiding interest in the problems of the environment and public policy, especially the overexploitation and management of renewable resources (particularly water and fisheries), and the economics of energy and also the economics of non-renewable resources.

He graduated with a PhD in Economics from the University of British Columbia in 1992, and holds an MS degree from Iowa State University and an undergraduate degree from Massey University in agricultural economics. He has served as Editor of the Australian Journal of Agricultural and Resource Economics and currently serves on the editorial boards of several journals. He is a Past President and also a Distinguished Fellow of the Australasian Agricultural and Resource Economics Society. He was the founder and Executive Editor of the Global Water Forum, Convenor of the Geneva Actions on Human Water Security and is Convenor of the Water Justice Hub.

He has published more than 180 scholarly articles in some of the world’s leading journals in economics and the life sciences (such as Science and Nature Climate Change, Nature Sustainability, Phil Trans A), 49 chapters in books and encyclopedia contributions, and 17 edited or co-authored books (in Oxford University Press and Cambridge University Press) including: Risks, Rewards and Regulation of Unconventional Gas: A Global Perspective (2017), Understanding and Managing Urban Water in Transition (2015), and Water Security, Economics and Governance (2013), A Dictionary of Climate Change and the Environment (2012), Water Resources Planning and Management (2011), Basin Futures Water Reform in the Murray-Darling Basin (2011), and Handbook of Marine Fisheries Conservation and Management (2010).

He has served in numerous advisory roles and expert panels in Australia and overseas. Most recently he serves as a Commissioner and Lead Expert for the Global Commission on the Economics of Water. He has served as the Chair of the Social and Economics Reference Panel of the Murray-Darling Basin Commission (2008-2009), served or contributed to several Australian Council of Learned Academies Expert Working Groups, and as a member of the National Council on Education for Sustainability (2008-2010), Chair of the International Geothermal Expert Group (2013-14, Chair of the Marine Estate Knowledge Panel for the State of New South Wales (2014-18), and was a member of the Board of Directors for the [International Centre for Biosaline Agriculture] ( (2018-2020).

Research interests

  • Water justice
  • Food, Energy, Water nexus
  • Resilience and risk
  • Urban water pricing
  • Energy security
  • Gas markets and regulation
  • Water markets and water economics
  • Social capital and network theory
  • Fisheries management (especially marine reserves)
  • Property rights (especially quantitative instruments in resource and environmental management)

Current student projects

Current PhD students

  • Albert Lamberte
  • Khanh Hoang
  • Chloe Burns

Researcher's projects

  • Responding to risks and managing for resilience
  • Food and water gaps
  • Economics costs at water restrictions
  • Human-induced impact on water scarcity
  • Optimal investment in water supply
  • Marine reserve and ecological uncertainty
  • Social networks and productivity
  • Social capital and environmental performance
  • Efficiency measures in fisheries


B.Ag. Econ (Massey), MS (Iowa State University), PhD (University of British Columbia)

Expertise Areas

  • Environmental Management
  • Natural Resource Management
  • Fisheries Management
  • Simulation and Modelling
  • Agricultural Economics
  • Environment and Resource Economics


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