PhD Development Studies (2006) University of Sussex (UK)
MA Rural Development (2002) University of Sussex (UK)
BA Political Science/International Relations (2000) University of Massachusetts, Boston (USA)
Dr Alec Thornton is a Research Analyst at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (Germany). He has a PhD in Development Studies from the University of Sussex, UK. Since 2021, Alec is an Honorary Senior Lecturer in Geography in the School of Science at UNSW Canberra.
Alec is a Research to Practice Associate, with the Institute for Global Development (IGD) at UNSW Sydney. Previously, he was Academic Co-Lead for Africa with the IGD. He is also a Senior Research Associate held jointly between the School of Anthropology and Development Studies, as well as the School of Tourism at the University of Johannesburg, South Africa.
Alec specialises in Participatory and Sustainable Livelihoods approaches to monitoring and evaluations of food security, rural and urban agriculture and has widely published these topics in empirical case studies located in Uganda, Ethiopia, Sierra Leone, South Africa and Zambia, as well as in Australia, Germany and the USA. He is Honorary Senior Lecturer in Geography at UNSW Canberra and Research and Practice Associate at the Institute for Global Development (IGD) at UNSW Sydney. He is also Senior Research Associate at the University of Johannesburg, in the School of Humanities and the School of Tourism & Hospitality.
Alec is located in Berlin, Germany.
Specialties: participatory research, rural-urban migration, sustainable livelihoods, food security, food systems governance, urban and rural agriculture.
Editorial boards: Sustainability (2019-present); Australasian Review of African Studies (2015-2017); Urban Forum (2010-2016); Journal of Applied Geography (2010-2015).
Australia Africa Universities Network (AAUN) 2019 Partnership and Research Development Fund Award
Project: Integrating Urban Green Infrastructure and Food Security for Economic Development in African Cities
University of Western Australia FABLE Research Collaboration Awards (2019-2020)
Project: Creating Smarter Cities in East Africa
Australian Government DFAT New Colombo Mobility Grant (2016-2019)
Project: Samoa Field School for Geography Research Methods
Dr Alec Thornton is a Research Analyst in the B-EPICC Project at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research. He conducts research and networking efforts in Brazil and Ethiopia, with a focus on land and forest change and their impact upon migration movements, as well as potential conflict.
Institute for Global Development (UNSW Sydney) Academic Co-Lead for Africa
Member: African Studies Association of Australasia and the Pacific (Vice President 2011-2017)
Member: Agri-Food Research Network
Member: Urban Agriculture Europe / European Cooperation in Science and Technology (COST)
Editorial board: Applied Geography (past)
Editorial board: Urban Forum (past)
Editorial board: Australasian Review of African Studies (past)
Editorial board: Sustainability (current)
My Research Supervision
Supervisor (2018-present): Toiaba Binta Taher,PhD Candidate, School of Physical, Environmental and Mathematical Sciences, UNSW Canberra. Thesis topic: Ecosystem-based Adaptation for Valuing Forest Ecosystem Services in the World’s Largest Mangrove Forest
Supervisor (2017-present): Israel Dela Cruz,PhD Candidate, School of Physical, Environmental and Mathematical Sciences, UNSW Canberra. Thesis topic: A Critical Analysis of Urban Agriculture and Urban Food Policy in Australia
Supervisor (2016-present): Sothun Nop, PhD Candidate, School of Physical, Environmental and Mathematical Sciences, UNSW Canberra. Thesis topic: Planning for Urban Resilience: A Case of Phnom Penh City, Cambodia
Co-Supervisor (2016-present): Nishat Falgunee, PhD Candidate, School of Physical, Environmental and Mathematical Sciences, UNSW Canberra. Thesis topic: Urban agriculture as a strategy for women empowerment
ZPEM3208 Geographic Research Methods
ZPEM2209/ZPEM8209 Development Geography
ZPEM1202 Contemporary Global Change