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The Australian National University

Dr Michael Smith

BSc (Melbourne), BSc (Hons) (USyd), PhD(ANU)
Visiting Fellow (2016 -) ANU Climate Change Institute. Research Fellow, Climate Change Institute (2014-2016),Fenner School of Environment and Society (2006 -2014). Research Director & Co-Founder, The Natural Edge Project (2002-2010)
ANU College of Medicine, Biology and Environment
T: 0400154449

Areas of expertise

  • Environment And Resource Economics 140205
  • Business And Management 1503
  • Natural Resource Management 050209
  • Engineering Systems Design 120404
  • Engineering Design 1204
  • Environmental Engineering 0907
  • Policy And Administration 1605
  • Historical Studies 2103

Research interests

Climate Change Physical Science, Adaptation and Mitigation 

Climate Resilient Pathways - Sustainable Development, Mitigation, Adaptation Nexus

Sustainable Development Goals

Green Growth (Macro and Microeconomies) - Decoupling Economic Growth from Environmental Pressures 

Investor and Business Firm Level Sustainability Strategy and Competitiveness, Innovation, Energy and Resource Productivity,

Sustainable Engineering Design, Whole System Design, Environmental Engineering, Urban Water Sensitive Design

Institutions and Policy


Michael has been a Research Fellow at the ANU Climate Change Institute (2014-2016) & Fenner School of Environment & Society since 2006. He has served on the ANU Energy Change Institute Executive. He co-founded & was Research Director of the Natural Edge Project (TNEP) (2002-2009) with Dr Karlson Hargroves, Assoc Prof Cheryl Desha and Dr Peter Stasinopoulos. He also helped catalyse the Australian Campuses Towards Sustainability network. He was a co-recipient of a Prime Minister's Banksia Environmental Award with  Natural Edge Project colleagues & an ANU Individual Green Award for these respective complementary initiatives. 

Michael has jointly won >$2 million in competitive research grants & is principle researcher & -co-author of 150+ publications. He has made novel contributions to the fields of climate change, green growth, ecological modernisation, sustainable engineering design.  

Many of these co-authored publications (incl. 4 books(100,000+sales,7 translations),7 online textbooks, 30+ book chapters,journal papers,20+ government reports) were done for & are promoted by the Green Growth Knowledge Platform, UNEP, UNESCO, World Federation of Engineering Organisations, Investor Group on Climate Change, Australian Government, CSIRO, Engineers Australia, and The Natural Edge Project, 

He has contributed to high profile high impact projects (listed below). All his post graduate students have excelled in their theses, and his lectures have always been ranked highly. He has represented ANU in policy outreach initiatives & in helping to deliver ANU intensive training courses. His green growth Ph.D (2009) demonstrated that it was possible to cost effectively achieve significant decoupling of profits & economic growth from a wide range of environmental pressures. This result enables resolution of the sustainability versus growth debates which has been critical to progress the climate change discourses @ 

Researcher's projects


UNEP Reports (Co-author)

UNEP IRP report (2016) Options for decoupling economic growth from freshwater consumption and water pollution led by Kevin Urama and co-authors. Report by the International Resource Panel's Working Group on Sustainable Water Management. 160pp.

Wiezsacker, E., de Larderel, J, Hargroves, K., Hudson, C., Smith, M., Rodrigues, M et al (2014) Decoupling:Technologies, Opportunities and Policy Options. 160 pp UNEP International Resource Panel Report. Paris @

Climate Change Risks, Adaptation and Mitigation Opportunity Assessment Reports and Guides - Novel Guides for Investors, Business Leaders, Engineers, Educators and Students

Rissik, D. Smith, M. Fleming, C. (2015) Investing Through An Adaptation Lens - A Practical Guide For Investors Report. Investor Group on Climate Change, GU (NCCARF) and ANU CCI.  Launced at the Investor Group on Climate Change's 2015 annual conference @

Smith, M (2013-2014) Climate Change Risk and Opportunity Investor Guides (4X) - Manufacturing, Property and Construction, Oil and Gas, Mining Sector Analysis - Official Guides for the Investor Group on Climate Change (IGCC) in partnership with ANU.  Available at

Smith, M (2013) Climate Change Risk, Adaptation and Mitigation Opportunity Assessment Buides for Business Managers, Operations Managers, Engineers and Educators. 6 reports. 300 pps. Funded by the Commonwealth Department of Education and co-published with ANU.

Productivity Enhancing Climate Change Strategies - Analysis, Reports, Business Sector Guides, Multi-Media Educational Toolkit and COAG Web Portal

Smith, M (2015) Productivity Enhancing Climate Change Strategy. (50 pages)  - ANU Climate Change Institute. Launched at the World Resources Forum - Asia Pacific conference. @

Doubling Energy Productivity by 2030 - 7 reports (350pp) funded by Commonwealth and State Governments. Published by the Australian Alliance for Energy Productivity.  Dr Smith has formally represented the ANU Energy Change Institute on this initiative and was a co-author of many of these reports available @

Energy Efficiency/Energy Productivity Resources for Undergraduate Engineering (2015) - Multi-Media Toolkit for Engineering Educators - Educators Guide + 10 Teaching Modules. Funded by the Department of Industry and jointly published with ANU. Authored by Smith,M. Stasinopoulos, P. Compston, P. Browne, C. Lobovstov, M and available at

Smith, M, Pears, A. Andrews, G. Green, D (2012) Business sector and technology energy efficiency opportunity assessment. 20 reports. 400 pps. Funded by the Commonwealth Department of Industry and published through the Commonwealth, State and Territory Governments Energy Efficiency Exchange platform @

Past student projects

Ahuja, E (2015) Energy Change -Insights from the 1st and 2nd Industrial Revolutions and Recent Developments to help achieve the next Low Carbon Industrial Revolution. ANU ECI Masters Thesis (advanced). Supervisor Dr Michael H Smith. Available @

Nwagbara, G (2014) Developing Countries – Climate Resilient Pathways Identifying Integrated Approaches For Development, Climate Change Mitigation and Adaptation . ANU ECI Masters Thesis. Supervised by Dr Michael H Smith


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Updated:  27 June 2017 / Responsible Officer:  Director (Research Services Division) / Page Contact:  Researchers