Dr Van Kien Nguyen

PhD in Sociology (ANU)/Master in Environmental Management & Development (ANU)/BSc in Land Management (CTU)
Postdoctoral Research Fellow in Indigenous Entrepreneurship
ANU College of Science
T: +61 466 999 042

Areas of expertise

  • Environmental Science And Management 0502
  • Agriculture, Land And Farm Management 0701
  • Sociology 1608
  • Aboriginal And Torres Strait Islander Peoples, Society And Community 4505

Research interests

Indigenous Entrepreneurship, Sociology, Agroecology, Organic Agriculture, Sustainable Food System


Dr Kien Van Nguyen is an honorary senior lecturer at Fenner School of Environment and Society, the Australian National University (ANU), and a current adjunct associate professor at School of medicine and Dentistry, Griffith University, and a current senior research fellow at School of Rural Science, University of New England, Australia.

Kien has developed research and actionable projects in sustainable agriculture and food systems, and one health research using the multi and intradisciplinary approaches, in the Mekong region and Australia. 

Kien graduated PhD in Sociology at the ANU in 2012 under the Australian Leadership Award (ALA), Master Degree in Environmental Management & Development at the ANU, and BSC in land management from Can Tho University. His thesis was on ‘Social Capital, Livelihood Diversification, and Households’ Resilience to Floods in the Vietnamese Mekong River Delta. He completed his Postdoctoral research in sustainable agriculture at ANU FSES and indigenous entrepreneurship at ANU RSM.

Kien developed effective partnerships with external partners such as international researchers, donors, government agencies, NGOs, local governments, private sector, farmers and associations in Mekong Countries and Australia.

Kien has led 17 and co-led 18 international research and actionable projects in sustainable, organic agriculture and food security, rural development, water government, indigenous entrepreneurship, indigenous water governance in the Mekong Region and Australia.

He is currently a project director for the ACIAR/IDRC funded project entitled Food Loss in the Pangasius Catfish Value Chain of the Mekong River Basin (2023-2026).

Through the DFAT-funded project, Kien promotes organic food production, certification and trade between Australia and Vietnam under the Australia-Vietnam Enhanced Economic Engagement Program round 1 and 2. 

He developed Mekong Organics PTY LTD, a social enterprise to translate science into policy and practices to promote sustainable agriculture-nutrition-health in the Mekong Region and Australia.

Kien has successfully supervised PhD and Master students and marked several PhD thesis.

Researcher's projects

  1. Deepening organic agriculture trade and investment between Australian & Vietnam, funded by DFAT-AVEG Round 2, AUD$250,000. The project is managed by Mekong Organics PTY LTD from July 2023 to May 2024. Deepening organic agriculture trade and investment between Australia & Vietnam (mekongorganics.com) On-going. 
  2. A postdoctoral research fellow in indigenous entrepreneurship in the Australian Social Cohesion: Exploring New Directions. On-going https://www.anu.edu.au/research/research-initiatives/australian-social-cohesion-exploring-new-directions. Completed in DEC 2023.
  3. The Impacts of Climate Change on Food and Nutrition Security among Ethnic Minority Children in Vietnam: Evidence for Public Health Nutrition Policy Development, a research advisor, funded by SEARCA, led by Mr LE Ngoc Hiep, Griffith University, USD15,000. On-going.
  4. Food loss in the Pangasius Catfish Value Chain of the Mekong River Basin (Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos PRD), funded by ACIAR/IDRC food loss program, 2023-2026 AUD$ 1.4 million (project Director, principal investigator). Food Loss in the Pangasius Catfish Value Chain of the Mekong River Basin | ACIAR. On going.
  5. Promoting organic food certification & trade between Australia and Vietnam – Mekong Organics, funded by DFAT under Australia-Vietnam Economic Engaged Program for Mekong Organics, $AUD 99,000.00, 2021-2022. Principal Investigator, completed. 
  6. Scale up small scale organic farming and trade for female Khmer farmers to improve livelihood, nutrition, health and recover impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic in Tri Ton District, An Giang, Vietnam, funded by Australian Alumni Grants Fund (round 3) AUD$15,000. Completed, 2021-2022. Principal Investigator, completed. 
  7. Scaling up a traditional rice-shrimp based agroecological farming system in the Mekong Delta, Vietnam, funded by Rufford Foundation, GBP 6000, 2020-21. Principal Investigator, completed. 
  8. Exploring gendered knowledge and inclusiveness in community resilience for flooding disaster. Case studies in Can Tho City (Vietnam) and Cebu City (Philippines), USD45,000, 2019-2021, co-investigator.
  9. Mekong Youth and Sustainable Farming in Mekong Sub-Region, funded by SEARCA, USD15,000, 2020-2021, co-investigator. Advisor
  10. Social perceptions of the organics industry in Vietnam, funded by SEARCA (Southeast Asian Centre for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture), USD 15,000. Principal Investigator. Completed.
  11. Development project entitles “Developing partnerships between Australia and Vietnam for organic agriculture movement: training and workshop in two countries”, funded by Australian Embassy in Hanoi (Aus4Skills Small Grants Fund Round 2 – 2018), Principal Investigator, completed.
  12. A co-investigator for a five-year (2019-2024) research project entitled “Living Deltas”, led by University of Newcastle, the UK, funded by Global Research Challenge Fund (GCRF), the UK. A project values at GBP£15 million. I am the co-lead for WP1, and co-PI for two of six Working Packages (WP) including (1) WP1: Heritage, Livelihoods and Delta Living: pasts, presents and alternative futures, (2) WP2: Delta SES characterization and risk assessment, and (3) WP6: Creating sustainable development capacity and delivering impact.
  13. Promoting floating rice-based agro-ecological farming systems for a healthy society and adaptation to climate changes in the Lower Mekong Region and Myanmar”, funded by Mitsui’s Environmental Fund (2017-2019). PI is a/Prof Jamie Pittock at Fenner School of Environment and Society, the Australian National University, AUD320,000, Complted. Secondary Investigator.
  14. Toward non-toxic environment in Southeast Asia from 2008 to 2018”, funded by Pesticide Action Network Asia Pacific (PAN AP), USD$13,000 annually, completed.
  15. A principal investigator for a project entitled “Conservation of the floating rice –based agro-ecological farming systems in the Mekong Delta, Vietnam”, funded by AliSEA (2017), USD$ 10,000, completed in 2018.
  16. REMTACH: Building REsilience to Multi-source Flooding in Southeast/South Asia through a Technology-informed Community-based approacH, funded by the UK Natural Environment Research Council  (NERC)  under the  Global Challenge Research Fund-Building Resilience Research Programme” (Grant Ref: NE/P015476/1), from Nov 2016 to September 2017, GBP£167,389. Co-Investigator, Completed in 2017.
  17. Scoping floating rice-based agro-ecological farming systems for a healthy society and adaptation to climate changes in the Lower Mekong Region and Myanmar”, funded by Mitsui’s Environmental Fund in 2015. PI is a/Prof Jamie Pittock from Fenner School of Environment and Society, the Australian National University, AUD33,000. Kien is Secondary Investigator.
  18. A project coordinator for the EU-Project entitled “strEngthening National researcH And iNnovation Capacities in viEtnam” http://www.project-enhance.eu/. This project is led by Universidad de Alicante partnered with six universities in Vietnam. In this project, I participated in several stages including (1) design research project for An Giang University, (2) managing research grants at AGU, and (3) coordinating research and training activities. Completed in 2018.
  19. A post-doctoral rsearch fellow of the Navigating the Mekong: water, food and energy. I led the sub-project on impacts of rice intensification on food supplies, water and energy use in the Mekong Delta. Supervised the Irrigation project in Cambodia funded by LHI, chaired by Jamie Pittock.  Completed in December 2016
  20. Long-term biophysical and socio-economic monitoring of the floating rice based and intensive rice farming in the Mekong Delta, funded by Rufford Foundation, valued at GBP£5,000, from September 2015 to August 2016. Completed in 2016. Principal Investigator, http://www.rufford.org/projects/van_kien_nguyen
  21. Risk perception, attitudes and behaviours of rice farmers in the Mekong Delta, Vietnam, funded by RCRD’s annual budget (USD$1,500). Completed in 2016. Principal Investigator.
  22. Floodplain governance for future livelihoods in the Mekong Delta, funded by LMPPI (Lower Mekong Public Policy Initiatives under USAID and Fulbright Program), co-investigator with Mekong Development Research Institute of Can Tho University, from March 2015 to September 2016, valued at USD$130,000. In this project we test the several farming practices and fishery recovery based on the floating rice farming systems in An Giang and Don Thap provinces, Mekong Delta. Completed in 2017. Co-investigator.
  23. Recovering and valuing wetland agro-ecological systems and local knowledge for water security and community resilience in the Mekong region” funded by SUMERNET (Sustainable Mekong Research Network, under the support of SIDA, Sweden); co-investigators with Dr. Carl Middleton, Lecturer, Master of Arts in International Development Studies (MAIDS) and Deputy Director for International Research, Center for Social Development Studies. Under this research project, we are developing linking market for floating rice farmers and facilitating inland fishery recovery in An Giang and Dong Thap province using participatory action research, USD$80,000. Completed in 2017. Co-investigator.
  24. A member of Steering Committee for a three-year project entitles “solid waste management in Long Xuyen City, funded by Swedish International Center for Local Democracy (ICLD), project reference number: 2014-0067, completed.
  25. Water governance of minority communities in the Mekong Delta, from Sep 2014 to Sep 2017, funded by PEER Science Cycle 3, valued at USD 130,000; Principal Investigator. Completed in 2018. Principal Investigator. http://sites.nationalacademies.org/PGA/PEER/PEERscience/PGA_152053
  26. Enhancing resilience of the community through climate change adaptation: Research and training activities for preservation and development of floating rice-vegetables farming system in Vinh Phuoc commune, Tri Ton district, An Giang province, Mekong Delta, Vietnam, funded by SFRT from SEARCA (Southeast Asian Centre for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture), from 01 January 2014 to 30 December 2014; USD$13,000. Completed in 2015. Principal Investigator.
  27. Job law evaluation: a case study of the Mekong Delta, Vietnam”, from January 2014 to August 2014; USD$20,000, funded by Paraff (Public Participation and Accountability Facilitation Fund). Completed in 2014. Principal Investigator.
  28. Preservation and development of the floating rice-vegetables farming systems in Vinh Phuoc commune, Tri Ton district, An Giang province, Mekong River Delta, Vietnam from 2013 to 2016; USD$45,000, funded by An Giang Department of Finance. Completed in 2016. Project leader.
  29. Climate change adaptation: engaging local community into decision making processes”, funded by AusAID (Australian Agency for International Development), a value of AUD 125,000, (from June to December 2010), co-principal investigator, completed. Co-investigator. 
  30. Water governance, farming systems and adaptation to related climate change in “dike compartments”: a case study in An Giang province, Mekong Delta, Vietnam , funded by M-POWER from 2011 to 2012; USD$10,000. Completed. Principal Investigator.
  31. A recipient of an Australian Leadership Award (ALA) for doing PhD research project at the Australian Demographic and Social Research Institute, the Australian National University, from July 2008 to December 2012. Completed in 2012.
  32. Social capital, livelihood diversification and households’ resilience to floods in Vietnamese Mekong Delta”, from September 2010 to September 2011; CAD$10,000, funded by EEPSEA/IDRC. Completed. Principal Investigator.
  33. A recipient of an Australian Development Scholarship (ADS) for undertaking a Master degree and Graduate Diploma Degree in Environmental Management and Development at Crawford School of Public Policy, the Australian National University, from January 2005 to December 2006. Completed.
  34. Testing physic and chemical quality of sediments in North Vam Nao Island, at Phu Tan district, An Giang province funded by AusAID. Focusing on soil sample collection, soil physic and chemical analysis and estimating nutrient value in soil sediment (From May to December 2002). Completed. Research member.
  35. Farmers’ making decision in transferring crop and livestock systems in the An Giang province”, funded by the Vietnamese – Netherlands Research Program, USD$14,000, from May, 2002 to October, 2004. Completed. Co-investigator.
  36. Updating the changes of soil map of the An Giang province at scale 1/100.000 supported by An Giang Technology-Science Department, An Giang province, Vietnam (From February, 2002 to May, 2003). Completed. Resarch assistant. 
  37. Baseline Study cum Needs Assessment on Post Harvest (rice crop) Handling Situation in the Soc Trang Province” supported by DANIDA organization, Danish Government (From March, 2003 to May, 2003). Completed. Research assitant.
  38. Participatory fishery management in the Mekong delta’, An Giang and Can Tho universities, supported by ICLAM, World Fish Center, (June 2002). Completed. Research assistant.
  39. Land Use Evaluation for Shrimp Culture in the Bac Lieu Province, Mekong Delta, Vietnam”, supported by ACIAR, Australia. (October- November 2000). Data collector. 
  40. Land Use Evaluation in U Minh Thuong National Park of Kien Giang province, Vietnam”, supported by CARE organization. (December, 2000). Competed. Data collector.

Current student projects

  1. Co-supervising Mr Tran Van Hieu, a PhD candidate at Andalas University, Indonesia
  2. Mentored Mrs Wendy Conwey Lamb, a PhD candidate at University of Canberra to undertake field research in the Mekong Delta, on-going. The PhD research project entitles ‘Climate change adaptation in Vietnam: Decision-making across governance levels’, ong-going.
  3. Mentored Mrs Reinosa Marion, a PhD candidate from Institute of Research for Sustainable Development (IRD-University of Paris Diderot VII, to undertake field research in the Mekong Delta. The PhD research project title is living the uncertain inhabitants’ processes of resilience: facing crisis in deltaic areas, on-going.
  4. Mentored Ms Sarah Huang, PhD Candidate at Global Food Security Center, Purdue University, USA. The PhD research project entitles ‘Remaking agroecological livelihoods in Vietnam’s Mekong River Delta’, on-going.
  5. Supervised Mr Thong Lam, Master of Agronomy at Andalas University of Indonesia, from June 2016 to December 2016, under support from PEER Science project, completed.
  6. Supervised Mr Tran Xuan Long, Master of Climate Change at Hanoi National University, from May 2016 to December 2016, under support from PEER Science project, completed.
  7. Supervised Mr Thach Tri Giac, Master of Rural Development at Can Tho University, from September 2016 to September 2017, under support from PEER Science project, completed.
  8. Supervised Mr Tran Van Den, Master of Environmental Sciences at Can Tho University, from September 2016 to September 2017, under PEER Science project, completed.
  9. A PhD supervisory panel member for Mr Myint Zaw, PhD candidate at Crawford School of Public Policy, the Australian National University. The PhD research thesis entitled “vulnerability to floods in Ayeyarwady Region, Myanmar, completed.
  10. Co-supervised with Professor Philippe Lebailly, a master student from University de Liege, Belgium, Mr. Xavier SNYDERS from February to May 2014, completed
  11. Mentored a PhD candidate, Ms Grady Caitlin A, from Purdue University (USA) to carry out her PhD research on “Vulnerability assessment of drinking water, sanitation, and water resources in the Mekong Delta, Vietnam" from February to May 2014, completed.
  12. Mentored a PhD candidate from the US under Fulbright Exchange Program, Ms Jennifer Loy Wallace from Jan 2013 to Sep 2013. The PhD research project entitled “Mekong Water Governance”, competed.

Past student projects

2018-19: Understanding relationships between ecosystem services of forest and rural livelihood in An Giang province, funded by SEARCA, USD13,095. Principal investigator is Mrs Dang Thi Thanh Quynh, completed.

2018-19: Value chain study of the palm sugar and livelihoods of Khmer communities in Tri Ton District, An Giang province, funded by SEARCA, USD 14,077. Mrs Trang Thi My Duyen is principal investigator, on-going.

2017-18: Explore vulnerability, livelihoods and adaptation to saline intrusion of two coastal communities: a case study in Lich Hoi Thuong Commune, Tran De District, Soc Trang province, funded by SEARCA, USD14,373. Principal investigator, Mr Dang Minh Man, Completed.

2016-18: Evaluation of traditional rice-based farming system and adaptation to climate change in the Mekong Delta, funded by SEARCA, USD 12,941. Principal investigator, Mr Le Thanh Phong, completed.

2016-18: Role of gender and relationships: The participation of female women in water management in O Lam commune, Tri Ton District, An Giang province, funded by SEARCA, USD 12,000. Mr Nguyen Van Thai, a principal investigator, completed.



Projects and Grants

Grants information is drawn from ARIES. To add or update Projects or Grants information please contact your College Research Office.

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Updated:  15 July 2024 / Responsible Officer:  Director (Research Services Division) / Page Contact:  Researchers