Dr Fiona McKenzie is a Co-Founder and the Director of Strategy for the Australian Futures Project, where she has led the design and implementation of a range of unique programs including ‘social innovation labs’ on early childhood development and agriculture. The objective of the Australian Futures Project is to build Australia’s capacity to make decisions for a flourishing shared future in the 2020s and 2030s. This Project is hosted by La Trobe University, where Fiona is an Honorary Associate in the School of Humanities and Social Sciences.
Fiona is also an independent advisor with a background in agricultural and environmental policy. Her main focus is innovation – and working with the decision processes of individuals and groups across diverse networks and systems to unleash solutions for sustainability. She has worked with government, non-government, academic and intergovernmental organisations. This includes the New South Wales Government, the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research, EcoAgriculture Partners, the United Nations Environment Programme (on enabling cross-sectoral collaboration in the global food system) and the University of Sydney. Fiona was also part of the teams that established the Wentworth Group of Concerned Scientists (in Australia) and the Terrestrial Carbon Group (internationally).
Fiona’s academic background is in human geography and she is on the Council of The Geographical Society of New South Wales. In 2011, Fiona completed a PhD on farmer-driven innovation in Australian agriculture. From 2012-2013, as a Research Associate at the University of Sydney, she helped to establish and pilot a participatory model of farmer engagement – designed to encourage on-farm innovation and stronger knowledge networks – in a cocoa growing community in West Sulawesi, Indonesia. This project was funded by the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research and was conducted in collaboration with a range of Indonesian organisations. During this time, Fiona was also a lecturer on Sustainable Development at the University of Sydney.
For book chapters, reports and papers produced as a result of Fiona’s work, please refer to the publications page.