Ms Dr Elizabeth (Liz) Clarke

Visiting Fellow
ANU College of Science
T: +61419738087

Areas of expertise

  • Environmental Science And Management 0502
  • Human Geography 1604
  • Social And Cultural Anthropology 160104
  • Sustainable Agricultural Development 070108
  • Agricultural Land Management 070101
  • Other Studies In Human Society 1699

Research interests

  • Rural research for development and rural livelihoods
  • Soil and landscape regeneration
  • Social innovation and innovation systems;
  • Sustainability adaptation and transformation (including climate change)
  • Local and indigenous knowledge;
  • Knowledge management and co-production;
  • Disaster and risk management
  • Capacity development and pedagogy;
  • Food systems, dynamics and governance;
  • Research-policy engagement and governance;
  • Participatory evaluation and learning;
  • Facilitation, participatory process and action research;
  • Trans- and interdisciplinary research design, facilitation and implementation
  • Complex systems thinking and research;


Dr Elizabeth (Liz) Clarke is the CEO of Soils for Life - a not-for-profit dedicated to supporting Australian farmers to regenerate soils and landscapes. She is a passionate advocate for soil and landscape regeneration driven by a deep desire to bring about meaningful change for people, food production systems and landscapes. She combines a strong professional and personal commitment to regenerative agriculture with a lifetime of involvement in various aspects of sustainability, natural resource management and agriculture.

Liz has as worked as a practice-driven researcher, educator, policy advisor and mentor in the non-profit and private sector, across three levels of Australian government and with community and volunteer groups. She has led teams and organisations in Australia and internationally (including in Asia, the Middle East, Africa and Europe). As well as being the CEO of Soils For Life, Liz currently holds visiting fellowships at ANU’s Fenner School of Environment and Society and the Institute for Land, Water and Society at Charles Sturt University. She also holds a PhD in Human Ecology from ANU.

Her work focuses on complex systems, particularly tackling wicked problems. This includes exploring problem, context and scale; and designing, implementing and evaluating action research. Her experience is broadly based, encompassing research, international development, policy, governance, community development, and business and communication. Through her research experience (particularly facilitating and coordinating collaboration and coproduction) she provides important insights into research and academic cultures and the constraints and challenges researchers face in engaging in complex problems in partnership with practitioners, policy-makers, and communities, and in dealing with the complexities and contradictions and conflicts that this generates.

Researcher's projects

  • Soils for Life Resilient Agricultural Landscapes - Case study program
  • Developing academic capabilities and communities of practice in the Mekong region (including Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam and Myanmar)
  • Leverage Points for Sustainability Transformation, Leuphana University Lueneburg
  • Facilitating social innovation in rice-based systems in Southern Laos drawing on a participatory evaluation approach
  • Innovation systems approach for enhancing livelihoods in Southern Laos rice-based farming systems: study of the factors that enable and constrain innovation and change.
  • Disaster risk management: Transdisciplinary action research to explore and facilitate research-policy-practice engagement in the process of generating flood mitigation and management options and solutions in the Hawkesbury-Nepean Valley, in Western Sydney.
  • “Making it visible”: A series of workshops examining underlying motivations, beliefs, assumptions of sustainability change agents and social innovators (workshops in Romania and Germany) to strengthen their work and partnerships to enable collaboration, coproduction and transformational change through scenario planning and foresighting.


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Updated:  30 May 2024 / Responsible Officer:  Director (Research Services Division) / Page Contact:  Researchers