My research focus is the science of adaptive development practice – understanding its capabilities, conditions, frameworks and accountabilities.

My policy focus is systems that enable effective practice and sustainable development outcomes. I work to facilitate learning exchanges between international development overseas and Indigenous development in Australia, with a focus on intractably disadvantaged and politically complex contexts.

Professor in Development Effectiveness


Mark Moran took up the position of Professor in Development Effectiveness at the Institute for Social Science Research in April 2013. He is closely affiliated with the Aboriginal Environment Research Centre. His career spans across academia, nonprofits, government and consultancy.

He is the Academic Lead of Australia’s first MicroMasters in Leadership in Global Development, consisting of an innovative entry pathway via fours MOOCs and a Capstone Assessment into an on-campus Masters program. He also teaches a professional development short course, in Advanced Indigenous Development Approaches. 

Mark has a unique background of technical and social science research with a degree in civil engineering and a PhD in geography and planning.

Professor Moran has worked in Indigenous and international development contexts, including Aboriginal Australia, Native America, Bolivia, China, Papua New Guinea, Timor Leste and Lesotho. He has broad range of research and practical experience in development, including governance, public finance management, participation, community planning, social housing, water and sanitation. He is an experienced project manager, including institutional analysis and stakeholder management in complex and politicised contexts.

His research interests are focused on the science of development effectiveness, toward forging new collaborations between academia and development practice.

He was awarded a Winston Churchill Fellowship in 1997 and a Dean’s Commendation for Outstanding Research Higher Degree Thesis in 2006. His writing has appeared in the Griffith ReviewThe Conversation and The Australian. Melbourne University Press has recently released his book titled Serious Whitefella Stuff: When Solutions Became the Problem in Indigenous Affairs.  

Full profile: Professor Mark Moran on uq researchers

  • Research Interests
    • The science of development practice
    • Decentralised governance and public finance reform
    • Complex adaptive systems
    • Measuring the effectiveness of development assistance
    • Home ownership and social housing on communal title land
    • Village water, sanitation, roads and appropriate technology
  • Publications

    Moran, M. 2016. Serious Whitefella Stuff: When Solutions Became the Problem in Indigenous Affairs. Melbourne University Press, Melbourne.


    Moran, M., D. Porter and J. Curth-Bibb. 2016. The Impact of Funding Modalities on the Performance of Indigenous Organisations. Australian Journal of Public Administration (accepted).


    Robb, K., M. Moran, V. Thom and J. Coburn. 2015. Indigenous Governance and Mining in Bolivia. Brisbane: International Mining for Development Centre, Institute for Social Science Research and World Vision Australia.


    Moran, M. and D. Porter. 2014. Reinventing the Governance of Public Finances in Remote Indigenous Australia. Australian Journal of Public Administration 73 (1):115-127.


    Moran, M., D. Porter and J. Curth. 2014. Funding Indigenous Organisations: Improving Governance Performance through Innovations in Public Finance Management in Remote Australia. Issues paper no 11. Canberra: Closing the Gap Clearinghouse, Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, Australian Government.


    Moran, M. and G. Corpus. 2014. Adapting Development Practice to Indigenous Contexts. Development Bulletin 76 (79-83).


    Moran, M. 2010. The Intercultural Practice of Local Governance in an Aboriginal Settlement in Australia. Human Organization 69 (1):65-74.


    Moran, M. 2010. The Viability of ‘Hub’ Settlements. Dialogue 29 (1):38-51.


    Moran, M., K. McQueen and A. Szava. 2010. Perceptions of Home Ownership among Indigenous Home Owners. Urban Policy and Research 28 (3):1-15.


    Moran, M. and R. Elvin. 2009. Coping with Complexity: Adaptive Governance in Desert Australia. GeoJournal 74 (5):415-428.



Staff Details

+61 7 3365 2594
+61 7 3346 7646

Professor in Development Effectiveness

  • B. Civil Engineering (Hons), QUT
  • PhD in Geography and Planning, UQ