Caroline joined MSSI in February 2018 to take up a post-doctoral research position working with Lars Coenen in the Resilient Regions program. She is working with the Latrobe Valley Authority to develop a platform for collaborative innovation system development. Her work is based upon an approach known as Smart Specialisation which has been applied in regions throughout Europe, working with communities to explore and support new spheres of economic activity. Her involvement in the project will provide new insights into revitalisation of regional centers throughout Australia, and internationally, and contribute to scholarship in this area.
The commitment to involving all sectors of business and society is a hallmark of her work both in this project and previous experience in the Hunter and Central Coast of New south Wales.
Caroline’s background is originally in law, graduating with a BA/LLB from the University of New South Wales. After practicing as a solicitor, she joined the Hunter Valley Research Foundation where she worked for 10 years as a Senior Research Fellow. The community funded Foundation undertook a broad range of both qualitative and quantitative research concerning issues such as regional economic development, community wellbeing and innovation. In 2016 she was awarded her PhD, which considered innovation in regions and how it could be translated into long-term benefits for communities in an era of globalisation and political and technological transition.
Caroline’s diverse career portfolio also includes working as a consultant, developing the evaluation framework for the Federal Governments’ Innovative Regions project in 2014, and lecturing at both Newcastle and Macquarie Universities in law, knowledge management and human resource management. She is a Conjoint Senior Lecturer at the University of Newcastle’s Tom Farrell Institute for the Environment.
This diverse experience has combined to create a distinct multi-disciplinary focus in her ongoing work, drawing from economic geography, social sciences and systems research. This allows her to address questions about processes of community learning and engagement, and the development of government policy, with a specific focus on shaping and improving the long-term consequences of rapid, and often destabilising change.