The UniSA Business School invites applicants to develop research questions in line with the expertise of its world-class academics. For research degree candidates, this means a team of expert supervisors committed to your development and the chance to be part of a visionary research culture.

The UniSA Business School offers a wide range of research topics from each of its disciplines (Commerce, Law, Management, and Marketing). These topics have been developed by teams of academics who will jointly supervise successful candidates. 

Each research topic is a broad area of investigation. It is the responsibility of the candidate to produce an original research question. More than one candidate can submit a scholarship application on the same research topic.

All prospective Research Degree candidates are encouraged to review the full list of research topics and contact the relevant Primary Supervisor/s for further information. This will inform and enhance any subsequent application to study a research degree in the Business School. 

Research degree applications are made through Apply Online, in your application you will need to reference the topic you are applying for, either by topic number or topic title from the list below.

Please browse our list of research topics below, grouped by School. Click on the topics for more information, including Primary Supervisor.

School of Commerce

School of Law

School of Management

School of Marketing

 

School of Commerce

01. Behavioural choice modelling

02. Carbon accounting, reporting and performance management

03. China – India: Global economic growth perspective

04. Cross-country analysis of successful ageing and health utilisation

05. Environmental sustainability and growth prospects of firms: Cross-country analysis

06. Integrated technological solutions for sustainable and safe water use and storage 

07. Investing in the contemporary art market in a time of rupture: A behavioural finance perspective

08. NGO accountability and governance: Exploring new organisational forms and performance measurement systems

09. Shadow banking in the contemporary world

10. Sustainability reporting in developing countries in Asia-Pacific and Africa

11. Tax and culture: The impact of dimensions of national culture on corporate income tax aggressiveness

12. The adoption and diffusion of new transport technologies and services, and their implications for the economy, environment and society

13. The aftermath of war: Assessing the economic and health impact of  WW1 on Canadian and Australian soldiers

14. The transformation of management and reporting  systems in response to sustainable development goals : A study into Australian organisations 

15. Transforming performance measurement, accountability and governance in the Australian public sector: Integrating the six capitals into public sector practices

 

School of Law

16. Is the future of court online? The digital disruption of judicial practices

 

School of Management

17. A novel model to improve the current Australian Kidney Exchange Program: A genetic algorithm approach 

18. Breaking free from the herd: How organisations become front runners in gender diversity

19. Designing transformational experiences: Do art and technology make a difference?

20. Entrepreneurial ecosystems and Industry 4.0: Digital innovation transitions toward competitive industries

21. International comparison of millennial entrepreneurship

22. Non-profit governance dynamics

23. Role of interdisciplinary dynamic capabilities in strategic ambidexterity and business performance

24. Socioemotional wealth and risk aversion in Chinese and Australian family business

25. The effect of extra-organisational social support on employee organisational attitudes, behaviour and performance

26. The management of the psychosocial dimensions of personal care work in the aged care and disability services sector

27. The refugee and migrant experience of entering the Australian labour market

28. The role of leadership, organisational climate and engagement in driving school improvement

29. Waste minimisation in supply chain for sustainability

 

School of Marketing

30. Developing a scale for aged-care quality standards

31. Enhancing the wellbeing of aged-care home residents through external food-extrinsic cues

32. Give me wine and innovative ideas, and I will develop a region

33. Identifying effective marketing interventions for improved household food discard management through the household three-bin kerbside system

34. Measuring physical availability of brands: What is physical availability worth? 

  

Further information on topics

01Behavioural choice modelling

Combining insights from economic theory – especially behavioural economics – to develop innovative behavioural choice modelling and experimental methods, with potential to apply to a range of domains, depending on the student’s specific interests, e.g. energy, housing, transport, job search (e.g. for vulnerable groups including refugees/migrants, carers), infrastructure investment etc.

Masters or PhD (or both):  PhD

Primary Supervisor: Professor Michelle Baddeley

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02. Carbon accounting, reporting and performance management

Business and non-business organisations are increasingly managing and reporting carbon emissions. Climate change is one of the most discussed political, societal and business issues globally, and the issue is particularly sensitive in Australia, which has experienced incredible carbon policy changes within a short time frame, after introducing the National Greenhouse and Energy Reporting Act in 2007. Businesses increasingly understand that there is a price for carbon, irrespective of policy changes, and that any advancement or drop in carbon reporting and management will have significant implications for performance and valuation in a carbon-constrained future.

Masters or PhD (or both):  Both

Primary Supervisor:  Dr Wei Qian

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03. China – India: Global economic growth perspective

Since 1980, while Europe and America have experienced slower growth rates, China and India have grown at an unprecedented rate and become the centre stage for policymakers from all over the world. However, rising corruption and income inequality, as well as political and economic instabilities, cast doubts on the long-term sustainability of these growth rates. This research compares the factors driving the long-run economic growth of these two countries and suggests policy implications for developing countries around the world.

Masters or PhD (or both):  Both

Primary Supervisor:  Dr Rajabrata Banerjee

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04. Cross-country analysis of successful ageing and health utilisation

Ageing is an important issue in both developing and developed countries. For example, the number of people in Asia who are 65 or older will reach close to 1 billion by 2050 (more than double today’s number). Thus, it is crucial to identify ways to age successfully, which in return will ease the burden on the public health system in many countries around the world.

Masters or PhD (or both):  Both

Primary Supervisor:  Dr Ilke Onur

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05. Environmental sustainability and growth prospects of firms: Cross-country analysis

 Climate change poses a risk worldwide and if not controlled, may lead to irreversible damage. It has direct and indirect influence on financial markets through damaged asset values, lower investment, decreased economic growth, and stranded assets due to policy changes. If a firm is environmentally proactive there is positive and significant cost advantage. On the other hand, environmental activities are costly and may divert valuable resources that could have been otherwise invested by firms to gain higher market share. This research examines the costs, benefits and regulatory environment of environmentally sustainability of firms in a global setting.

 Masters or PhD (or both):  Both

 Primary Supervisor:  Associate Professor Kartick Gupta

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06. Integrated technological solutions for sustainable and safe water use and storage 

Water stress is increasing around the world. Nearly all countries worldwide project increasing water risks due to climate change, with extreme events (floods/droughts) cited as a primary concern for regional catchments. Healthy catchments provide water for people and food production, mitigate floods and droughts, recharge groundwater and provide for aquatic ecosystems, but poorly managed water use and storage contribute to unhealthy catchments and, in turn, the detriment of regional communities. Behavioural, financial and technical responses of farmers and agricultural industries require more in-depth focus to better understand how regionally sensitive technology, programs and policy can advance secure and safe water storage and use.

Masters or PhD (or both):  PhD

Primary Supervisor:  Dr Joanne Tingey-Holyoak

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07. Investing in the contemporary art market in a time of rupture: A behavioural finance perspective

Due to its unique properties, it is difficult to compare the returns on art to the returns on traditional financial assets. The price of art is not dependent on a future stream of dividend or coupon payments. Fluctuations in the price of art works, therefore, are a result of seemingly random changes in trends and tastes amongst collectors and investors. While this is universally acknowledged, the question of whether these trends can be predicted or not has sparked significant debate amongst scholars. This project employs behavioural approaches to investigate the psychological influences on investment in the contemporary arts market.

Masters or PhD (or both):  Both

Primary Supervisor:  Professor Michelle Baddeley

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08. NGO accountability and governance: Exploring new organisational forms and performance measurement systems

This research explores the evolving nature and forms of NGO accountability and governance in a neo-liberal era. NGOs in developing country contexts are facing significant funding pressure as international policy continues to shift. Many NGOs are transforming the ways they operate, leaving well-established programs of work to enter ‘new markets’ in a bid to stay relevant and engage with beneficiaries. These has given rise to new ‘hybrid’ organisational forms and related performance measurement systems. This project will research: how NGO governance is evolving in developing countries; what impacts these changes have on performance measurement systems; and how these factors impact NGO accountability.

Masters or PhD (or both):  Both

Primary Supervisor:  Professor Sumit Lodhia

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09. Shadow banking in the contemporary world

Fast-evolving financial innovations, including Fin-tech, have pushed the noticeable expansion of shadow banking practices around the world. Meanwhile, a lack of effective regulation and transparency arouses concerns about the risk and safety of financial systems. Such rapid changes impose historical challenges for regulators, industry practitioners and investors. There is growing demand for researchers to explore these contemporary but unconventional financing practices.

Masters or PhD (or both):  Both

Primary Supervisor:  Dr Lei Xu

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10. Sustainability reporting in developing countries in Asia-Pacific and Africa

Corporate sustainability reporting has been studied extensively in developed countries but there is still only limited, albeit growing, research undertaken in developing countries. Given that the majority of the world's population lives in developing countries, especially in the Asian and African regions, it is surprising that only a small number of papers have so far examined sustainability reporting in these regions. There is a clear gap in the research of sustainability reporting practices, motivations and impacts on the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in Asia and Africa.

Masters or PhD (or both):  Both

Primary Supervisor:  Professor Carol Tilt

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11. Tax and culture: The impact of dimensions of national culture on corporate income tax aggressiveness

Aggressive tax planning behaviour by corporations, which deprives government of the resources to redress social problems, may be seen as both unethical and socially irresponsible. This has led to calls for more transparent and simpler tax structures, and stricter enforcement of these tax structures, to reduce the incentives and potential for such avoidance. However, while the calls for reform have been many, the importance of social and cultural dimensions as forces influencing the potential success of policy initiatives to reduce tax aggressive behaviour by corporations has received less attention than that devoted to the illegal act of tax evasion.

Masters or PhD (or both):  PhD

Primary Supervisor:  Professor Chandra Krishnamurti

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12. The adoption and diffusion of new transport technologies and services, and their implications for the economy, environment and society

Recent advances in transport systems and services, such as the development of autonomous vehicles (AVs), the invention of unmanned aerial vehicles, the growth of shared mobility services, and the commercialisation of alternative fuel vehicle technologies, promise to revolutionise how we travel. The implications are profound: some have predicted the end of car-dependent Western societies, others have portended greater suburbanisation than ever before. This research will seek to understand how different agents will engage with these new systems and services, and what will be the consequent economic, social and environmental impacts of their decisions.

Masters or PhD (or both):  Both

Primary Supervisor:  Dr Akshay Vij

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13. The aftermath of war: Assessing the economic and health impact of  WW1 on Canadian and Australian soldiers

Recent advances in linking data bases has made it possible to examine aspects of the life histories of individuals. Such data allows researchers to examine the impact of shocks on individual resilience, life trajectories and the consequences of trauma on long-term economic outcomes. This project takes advantage of a recently created database of Canadian and Australian WW1 soldiers to examine the long-term financial, economic and health impact of war on returning soldiers.

Masters or PhD (or both):  Both

Primary Supervisor:  Dr John Wilson

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14. The transformation of management and reporting  systems in response to sustainable development goals : A study into Australian organisations 

Global bodies such as United Nations (UN) suggest that progress towards sustainability requires cooperation from all sectors in society: governments, companies, international organisations and civil society. It is in this context that the United Nations developed its 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, which incorporates seventeen goals and 169 associated targets. This research will explore how Australian organisations are responding to the sustainable development goals through changes to their management and reporting systems.

Masters or PhD (or both):  PhD

Primary Supervisor:  Professor Sumit Lodhia

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15. Transforming performance measurement, accountability and governance in the Australian public sector: Integrating the six capitals into public sector practices

This research will explore whether the use of the six capitals (Financial, Manufactured, Human, Intellectual, Natural, and Social and Relationship) approach advocated by the International Integrated Reporting Council (IIRC) can be used to transform current approaches to performance measurement, accountability and governance in the Australian public sector.

Masters or PhD (or both):  PhD

Primary Supervisor:  Professor Sumit Lodhia

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16. Is the future of court online? The digital disruption of judicial practices

The online delivery of services – whether public or private – offers the promise of increased accesses to those services for lower costs. Increasingly, there is a public expectation for this seamless digital delivery of services, and frustration in the absence of such options. Unfortunately, our judicial systems have been slow to adopt technological innovations, compounding concerns over delay and access to justice.

While Online Dispute Resolution (ODR) is rapidly emerging as the very cutting edge of civil procedure reform, delivering faster and more affordable justice, the whole area is critically under-researched and under-theorised.

Masters or PhD (or both):  PhD

Primary Supervisor:  Dr Joe McIntyre

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17. A novel model to improve the current Australian Kidney Exchange Program: A genetic algorithm approach 

Around 10-15% of the population worldwide is affected with Chronic Kidney Diseases (CKD).

CKD results in reduced life expectancy for patients and impaired quality of life. It also has significant cost implications, costing the Australian health system 4.1 billion dollars in 2014 alone. The most severe form of CKD is end-stage renal disease (ESRD), which, if left untreated, can be fatal. The treatment for ESRD is either by dialysis or kidney transplantation. Around 30% of patients with ESRD have a willing living donor in time for transplant; however, their donor is incompatible due to either blood group incompatibility or human leucocyte antigen (HLA) sensitisation of the recipient against the donor.

Masters or PhD (or both):  PhD

Primary Supervisor: Dr Yousef Amer

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18. Breaking free from the herd: How organisations become front runners in gender diversity

Despite decades of equal opportunity legislation, gender inequality persists in organisations around the world. This project investigates why a few exceptional organisations (front runners) make substantive progress toward gender equality when so many of their competitors fail.

Masters or PhD (or both):  Both

Primary Supervisor: Dr Sukhbir Sandhu

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19. Designing transformational experiences: Do art and technology make a difference?

Consumers need to achieve well-being, self-development and redefinition of their values and perceptions through service consumption, and transformational experiences are recognised as the next step for service companies to innovate, compete and satisfy this need. However, little is known about how to design transformational experiences. Art can broaden exposure and prompt people to see things differently, while technology enriches service experiences by enhancing people’s (cognitive, emotional and physical) engagement. It is thus important to understand how art and technology can be used within a service context to increase customer engagement and enable them to co-create transformational value.

Masters or PhD (or both):  Both

Primary Supervisor:  Professor Marianna Sigala

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20. Entrepreneurial ecosystems and Industry 4.0: Digital innovation transitions toward competitive industries

Across the globe, nations face the challenge of transitioning economies to new and evolving industry 4.0 landscapes in manufacturing, defence, cyber security, space and a host of other sectors. Digital innovation will continue to pressure Australia’s comparative and competitive advantages as the world becomes increasingly connected. These transitions increase the need for better coordination of R&D and more solid linkages between students, researchers, entrepreneurs, start-up companies, government agencies and markets. The development of strong, future-oriented industries in Australia will largely depend on the strength and capacity of entrepreneurial ecosystems.

Masters or PhD (or both):  Both

Primary Supervisor:  Associate Professor Allan O’Connor

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21. International comparison of millennial entrepreneurship

This project aims to compare the phenomenon of millennial entrepreneurship among leading economies and draw lessons that could help close the gap between Australia and these more advanced entrepreneurial markets. This project expects to generate new knowledge on how best to provide the right entrepreneurial milieu, policy initiatives and infrastructure to help stimulate new start-ups. Expected outcomes of the project include an actionable agenda for private and public sector organisations engaged in stimulating entrepreneurial activity.

Masters or PhD (or both):  PhD

Primary Supervisor:  Professor Ying Zhu

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22. Non-profit governance dynamics

This project aims to examine the phenomenon of non-profit governance dynamics by comparing leading board directors and organisations, drawing lessons that could help close the gap between South Australia and more advanced governance systems. This project expects to generate new knowledge on how best to provide the right governance dynamics in non-profit organisations, policy initiatives and infrastructure to help stimulate sustainability. Expected outcomes of the project include an agenda for change in independent non-profits, the public sector and for-profit entertainment businesses engaged in seeking governance effectiveness.

Masters or PhD (or both):  Both

Primary Supervisor:  Professor Ruth Rentschler

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23. Role of interdisciplinary dynamic capabilities in strategic ambidexterity and business performance

Businesses have various strategic business units (SBUs) (i.e. Marketing, Supply Chain, International, Finance & HRM). SBUs possess different dynamic capabilities, allowing each to learn/adapt responsively to changing environment/institutional/market conditions. Meanwhile, research into market ambidexterity shows successful firms enact strategic ambidexterity (exploration and/or exploitation) identifying opportunities, to avoid failure and optimise performance. Integrating these disciplines, this research examines how capabilities across different business SBUs combine/interact to enhance market ambidexterity (locally/internationally) and consequently business performance. This is an important area of investigation because traditional resource-based view and static/routine capabilities are no longer effective navigating today’s markets, which are highly competitive and increasingly volatile due to changing customers’ requirements, competition, advancing technology and globalisation.

Masters or PhD (or both):  PhD

Primary Supervisor:  Professor Susan Freeman

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24. Socioemotional wealth and risk aversion in Chinese and Australian family business

The concept of socioeconomic wealth is continuing to develop in the Western family business literature, including different ideas as to whether it should be a mediating variable or a dependent or independent variable in family business research. In the context of risk taking behaviours, including some forms of innovation, the impact of the components of SEW is even less clear, even though we know family firms tend to be risk averse. Even just developing a reliable instrument has produced difficulties, and little progress has been made in the Chinese context. There is significant room to advance this area of knowledge.

Masters or PhD (or both):  PhD

Primary Supervisor:  Dr Bruce Gurd

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25. The effect of extra-organisational social support on employee organisational attitudes, behaviour and performance

Organisational behaviour research has highlighted the role of social support within the organisation, primarily through supervisors and co-workers (see, for example French et al., 2018; Kossek et al. 2011). Treuren (2017) and Treuren and Fein (2018) have demonstrated that family and community-based social support can buffer the negative consequences of work and life conflict on employee turnover intentions. This research proposes to integrate the extensive sociology and social psychology literature of the 1970s and 1980s on community social support into a theory of employee workplace coping and performance (See, for example, House et al.1988).

Masters or PhD (or both):  Both

Primary Supervisor:  Dr Gerry Treuren

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26. The management of the psychosocial dimensions of personal care work in the aged care and disability services sector

Personal care work requires substantial emotional and cognitive engagement by employees. The literature on compassion fatigue has demonstrated the substantial negative consequences to clients, employees and employing organisations. This research seeks to explore the origins and experience of the adverse psychosocial consequences of personal care work and identifies self-care and employer management responses to compassion fatigue.

Masters or PhD (or both):  Both

Primary Supervisor:  Dr Gerry Treuren

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27. The refugee and migrant experience of entering the Australian labour market

Australia is proportionally one of the largest destinations of migrants and refugees. The limited literature indicates that refugees struggle to find employment, and few find employment equivalent to that held in their home country. Little is known about the process of finding employment, the success factors and the barriers, the role of government and community-organisation support. This broadly-defined topic seeks to explore issues of migrant and refugee settlement.

Masters or PhD (or both):  Both

Primary Supervisor:  Dr Gerry Treuren

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28. The role of leadership, organisational climate and engagement in driving school improvement

Teachers play an essential role in a student’s academic and socio-emotional development. The extent to which teachers themselves feel supported and encouraged at work gives them the efficacy and resources to engage in their critical role. School climate (defined as staff member’s perceptions of what the school is like in terms of practices, policies, procedures, leadership, routines, and rewards) is critical in creating the enabling conditions for teachers to achieve their goals. This project investigates several questions related to how school leadership and school climate influences teacher and student performance and well-being. It is part of a larger collaborative research engagement with the SA Department of Education.

Masters or PhD (or both):  Masters

Primary Supervisor:  Dr Ruchi Sinha

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29. Waste minimisation in supply chain for sustainability

Sustainable supply chains need to incorporate 6R attributes to achieve the potential of sustainability within the triple bottom line. This supply chain will be incorporating 3R process improvement (reuse, recycle and remanufacturing) and 3R product design (reduce, recover and redesign) across all organisational activities of all members. Upon reaching end-of-life of the product use stage, a strategy of further improving product utilisation needs to be considered to extend product lifecycle, in order to reduce product disposal significantly.

Masters or PhD (or both):  PhD 

Primary Supervisor:  Dr Sev Nagalingam

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30. Developing a scale for aged-care quality standards

Australia’s aging population has led to more people moving to aged-care homes. To ensure that providers offer quality services to their residents, the Australian Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission has recently consolidated various standards policies and developed a single quality framework that will come into effect in July 2019. This framework defines the standards expected of aged-care service providers, in order to protect and enhance the safety, health, well-being and quality of life of people receiving aged care. This project aims to develop a scale that can consistently and continually measure the quality performance of aged-care homes. 

Masters or PhD (or both):  PhD 

Primary Supervisor:  Associate Professor Richard Lee

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31. Enhancing the wellbeing of aged-care home residents through external food-extrinsic cues

Most aged-care home residents are dependent on in-house food for their nutritional requirements. However, food served in aged-care homes is often perceived poorly by the residents and is a key source of complaints, dissatisfaction, and a persistent problem (Dickinson et al., 2008; Porter & Ottrey, 2016). Furthermore, studies have established a clear link between food dissatisfaction and malnutrition (Carrier et al., 2007; Porter & Ottrey, 2016). The primary objective of this project is to determine how manipulating the extrinsic characteristics of nutritionally appropriate food can help improve elderly residents' satisfaction, encourage them to eat more and reduce malnutrition. 

Masters or PhD (or both):  PhD 

Primary Supervisor:  Associate Professor Richard Lee

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32. Give me wine and innovative ideas, and I will develop a region

Wine is often regarded as one of the key economic levers for the sustainable development of rural areas. Wine production, in fact, not only creates successful winery businesses, but contributes to the economic growth and development of all businesses and communities in the entire wine region. It is therefore important to understand how wine functions as both glue and creative power, enabling and supporting various sectors to develop sustainable, value co-creation ecosystems that can help wine regions to grow and be resilient over time.

Masters or PhD (or both):  Both 

Primary Supervisor:  Associate Professor Armando Corsi

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33. Identifying effective marketing interventions for improved household food discard management through the household three-bin kerbside system

Reducing food waste and diverting waste from landfill is a local, national and state government priority, but waste disposal is a private, complex, under-researched consumer behaviour occurring in every household. Currently, 47% of a household’s landfill bin is kitchen organic discards, which is a significant collection cost to councils and detrimental to the environment. Councils are charged with improving diversion rates from landfill into the organic kerbside bin; however, scalable, effective behaviour-change interventions cannot be developed without more social science research into effective ways to engage householders on this issue. 

Masters or PhD (or both):  Masters 

Primary Supervisor:  Associate Professor Anne Sharp

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34. Measuring physical availability of brands: What is physical availability worth? 

Surprisingly, there appear to be few measures of physical availability for brands other than counting the number of stores in which they are stocked. As well as reviewing existing measures, there is a need to ascertain the quality of types of physical availability (e.g. shelf height), and to investigate the effect on sales of shelf facings, end of aisle locations, close to check-out display, proximity to other categories and brands, vending machines, convenience and e-commerce. Studies might also replicate and extend existing research to discover the conditions that affect shelf space elasticity. 

Masters or PhD (or both):  Both 

Primary Supervisor:  Professor Larry Lockshin

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