Mark Moran

Image of Professor Mark Moran

Professor Mark Moran has a unique background that includes both social science research and applied development projects, in a career spanning academia, non-profits, government and consultancy. His cross-sectoral career is a strength for his current research, which focuses on the science of development effectiveness, toward forging new collaborations between academia and development practice.

His work traverses Indigenous and international development contexts, including Aboriginal Australia, Native America, Bolivia, China, Papua New Guinea, Timor Leste and Lesotho. Additionally, he has comprehensive research and practical experience in complex and politicised development contexts, including project and stakeholder management, governance, public finance management, participation, community planning, social housing, water and sanitation.

Professor Moran actively translates his research and professional experience through innovative teaching at UQ. He is Program Director for the Master of Leadership in Global Development (MLGD), Australia’s only coursework master’s program that combines theory, leadership, management and business acumen. He is also the Academic Lead of Australia’s first MicroMasters® credential. The Leadership in Global Development MicroMasters is an innovative online course series delivered through edX, which forms a core component of the MLGD. He also delivers a professional development short course, Advanced Place-Based Development Approaches, to industry, NGO and government partners.

Among his publications is Serious Whitefella Stuff: When Solutions Became the Problem in Indigenous Affairs, a popular text that applies international development practices to local Indigenous communities in remote Australia, and Too close to ignore: Australia’s borderland with PNG and Indonesia, an exploration of the development context at the borderlands between Papua New Guinea, the Torres Strait, and Indonesia.

He is currently collaborating with WWF on the Coral Reef Rescue Initiative (CRRI), given its strong focus on livelihood development of coastal communities, and their role in local coral reef conservation.

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
  • Livelihoods of coastal communities, including the use of mobile money


  • B Civil Engineering (Honours), Queensland University of Technology
  • PhD in Geography and Planning, The University of Queensland

Selected Publications


Mark Moran and Jodie Curth-Bibb eds. (2020). Too close to ignore: Australia’s borderland with PNG and Indonesia. Melbourne, VIC, Australia: Melbourne University Press.

Moran, Mark (2016). Serious whitefella stuff: when solutions became the problem in Indigenous affairs. Carlton, Victoria, Australia: Melbourne University Press.

Book Chapter

Moran, Mark, Simpson Reeves, Laura and Wright, Alyson (2018). Complicating dynamics: the challenge of adapting the sustainable livelihoods framework to a remote Indigenous context in Australia. Routledge Handbook of Community Development Research. (pp. 146-160) edited by Lynda Shevellar and Peter Westoby. London, United Kingdom: Routledge. doi: 10.4324/9781315612829-10

Moran, Mark (2016). Closing the gap is proving hard, but by working developmentally we can do better. Ideas for Australia: 10 big issues for election 2016 and beyond. (pp. 102-105) edited by The Conversation. Sydney, NSW, Australia: Future Leaders.

Hutchins T and Moran M (2011). Not another service provider: partnering for sustainability. Annual Program Review 2010. (pp. 13-16) Melbourne, VIC, Australia: World Vision Australia.

Journal Article

Hendrix, Burke A., Delaney, Danielle, Witmer, Richard C., Moran, Mark, Sanders, Will and Ganter, Elizabeth (2019). Building capacity in indigenous governance: Comparing the Australian and American experiences. Australian Journal of Public Administration, 79 (1) 1467-8500.12403, 26-40. doi: 10.1111/1467-8500.12403

Staines, Zoe and Moran, Mark (2019). Complexity and hybrid effects in the delivery and evaluation of youth programs in a remote Indigenous community. Australian Journal of Public Administration, 79 (1) 1467-8500.12371, 3-25. doi: 10.1111/1467-8500.12371

Moran, Mark (2018, 11 23). In the post-APEC scramble to lavish funds on PNG, here’s what the country really needs The Conversation

Moran, Mark (2018). The courage to reform: Fixing the Commonwealth’s Indigenous policies. Griffith Review, 60

Nash, Daphne, Memmott, Paul and Moran, Mark (2017). House rules: a study of conditionality and indigenous social housing tenancies in urban, regional and remote Australia. Indigenous Law Bulletin, 8 (30), 15-19.

Moran, Mark, Porter, Doug and Curth-Bibb, Jodie (2016). The Impact of Funding Modalities on the Performance of Indigenous Organisations. Australian Journal of Public Administration, 75 (3), 359-372. doi: 10.1111/1467-8500.12192

Moran, Mark (2016). The wicked problem of alcohol management. Inside Story

Moran, Mark (2016, 03 04). How community-based innovation can help Australia close the Indigenous gap

Moran, Mark and Corpus, Gemina (2014). Adapting development practice to indigenous contexts. Development Bulletin, 76, 79-83.

Moran, Mark and Porter, Doug (2014). Reinventing the governance of public finances in remote Indigenous Australia. Australian Journal of Public Administration, 73 (1), 115-127. doi: 10.1111/1467-8500.12064

Moran, Mark (2013). Mothers know best: managing grog in Kowanyama. Griffith Review, 1 (40), 196-209.

Moran, Mark and Sullivan, Patrick (2012). The answer to Olga’s question?. On Line Opinion

Moran, Mark and Porter, Doug (2012). Breaking through bureaucracy in Indigenous governance. The Drum

Moran, Mark (2012, 07 06). The 30-year cycle: indigenous policy and the tide of public opinion

Moran, Mark (2012). Bridging the gap of Indigenous development. The Drum

Moran, Mark (2012). A different inequality. The Drum

Moran, Mark, Mcqueen, Kirsti and Szava, Anna (2010). Perceptions of home ownership among Indigenous home owners. Urban Policy and Research, 28 (3), 311-325. doi: 10.1080/08111146.2010.510552

Moran, Mark (2010). The intercultural practice of local governance in an Aboriginal settlement in Australia. Human Organization, 69 (1), 65-74. doi: 10.17730/humo.69.1.84r6r24512846574

Memmott, Paul, Moran, Mark, Birdsall-Jones, Christina, Kreutz, Angela, Godwin, Jenine, Burgess, Anne, Thomson, Linda and Lee Sheppard (2009). Indigenous home ownership on communal title lands. AHURI Final Report, 1-142.

Moran, Mark and Elvin, Ruth (2009). Coping with complexity: Adaptive governance in desert Australia. GeoJournal, 74 (5), 415-428. doi: 10.1007/s10708-008-9240-y

Moran, Mark (2009). On questioning the “viability” of remote Aboriginal settlements. Crikey

Moran, Mark (2009). What job, which house?: Simple solutions to complex problems in indigenous affairs. Australian Review of Public Affairs (Digest), 1-13.

Moran, Mark (2009). Contested governance: Cultural power and institutions in indigenous Australia. Australian Journal of Public Administration, 68 (2), 231-232. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-8500.2009.00634_1.x

Memmott, Paul, Birdsall-Jones, Christina, Moran, Mark and Long, Stephen (2009). Indigenous home ownership on communal title lands. AHURI Positioning Paper (112), 1-30.

Conference Publication

Simpson Reeves, Laura and Moran, Mark (2016). Assessing the impact of public finances on the PNG-Australia borderlandAustralasian Aid and International Development Conference, Canberra, ACT, Australia, 10-11 February 2016.

Habibis, Daphne, Memmott, Paul, Phillips, Rhonda and Moran, Mark (2012). Conditionality, recognition and Indigenous housing policy in AustraliaTheorising Indigenous Sociology: Australian Perspectives Workshop, Sydney, Australia, 19-20 July 2012. Sydney, Australia: University of Sydney.

Other Outputs

Moran, Mark (2018, 11 06). Mobile money: An opportunity for development and governance in rural Papua New Guinea Center for Global Development: Commentary and Analysis Blog

Moran, Mark (2016, 07 08). Structures must change to allow Indigenous development SBS

Moran, Mark (2016, 02 06). When solutions become the problems in Indigenous affairs The Sydney Morning Herald

Moran, Mark, Memmott, Paul, Nash, Daphne, Birdsall-Jones, Chris, Fantin, Shaneen, Phillips, Rhonda and Habibis, Daphne (2016). Indigenous lifeworlds, conditionality and housing outcomes. AHRUI Final Report Melbourne, Australia: Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute.

Robb, Kathryn, Moran, Mark, Thom, Victoria and Coburn, Justin (2015). Indigenous governance and mining in Bolivia. Sustainable Minerals Institute, University of Queensland: International Mining for Development Centre.

Moran, Mark, Memmott, Paul, Birsdall-Jones, Christina and Nash, Daphne (2014). Case Study Rationale and Location Scoping Study. St Lucia, QLD Australia: AHURI.

Moran, Mark, Porter, Doug and Curth-Bibb, Jodie (2014). Funding Indigenous organisations: improving governance performance through innovations in public finance management in remote Australia. Issues paper (Closing the Gap Clearinghouse (Australia)) Canberra, Australia: Australian Institute of Health and Welfare AIHW.

Habibis, Daphne, Memmott, Paul, Phillips, Rhonda, Go-Sam, Carroll, Keys, Cathy and Moran, Mark (2013). Housing conditionality, Indigenous lifeworlds and policy outcomes: towards a model for culturally responsive housing provision. Melbourne, Australia: Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute.

Shotton, R., Moran, M. , Rees, E. and Guterres, E. (2013). Timor-Leste review of sub-national development spending: study team report: World Bank, Justice for the Poor Program and Government of Timor-Leste, Ministry of Finance.

Moran, Mark and Porter, Doug (2012, 06 09). Fix the system and the rest follows The Australian

Moran, Mark, Robb, Kathryn, Barragan, Maria Christina Mejia, Beltran, Nelson Machicao, Limon, Hugo Arevalo and Balanza, Nayel Afcha (2011). Evaluation Report: Legal Identity and Citizen Rights for Indigenous Women, Children and Adolescents of Bolivia. Brisbane, Australia: World Vision International.

Moran, M. and Cahill, A. (2011). Proposed Graduate Certificate in Indigenous Development Programming. Scoping study to establish design parameters for a suite of tailored training programs. Canberra, ACT, Australia: Australian Government, Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs.