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Latest thinking

Recent publications

Our researchers publish widely in academic journals, conference proceedings and more widely. The following are some of our most recent and popular publications.

To find other publications, browse by author or year & type of publication.

ISF publications, including reports, that can be made openly available are accessible from OPUS, the UTS institutional repository.


Demand Management Incentives Review

This review assesses and quantifies the financial barriers to DM created by existing economic regulatory incentives for distribution network businesses. The Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) commissioned ISF to conduct the review to support the Australian Energy Regulator (AER) in developing the new DM Incentive Scheme required by a change to the National Electricity Rules in 2015.

Systemic Impacts of Mini-Publics


A mini-public is a democratic innovation that brings together a small, representative group of citizens to deliberate and advise on a decision, or sometimes make a decision.  Mini-publics include such innovations as citizen juries, deliberative polls, consensus conferences, and citizen assemblies. This research project asks what mini-publics contribute to democracy from a systemic perspective, and how that contribution might be strengthened. 

cover of Networks Renewed

Networks Renewed: Technical Analysis


The Networks Renewed Project aims to demonstrate how solar PV, battery storage and inverters can support distribution networks in managing power quality. The project focuses on investigating the potential for smart inverters to regulate network voltage. This Technical Analysis has been undertaken to understand the current ‘state of play’ in technology and market development in order to design an innovative and informative market-scale demonstration.

Cover of packaging sustainability report

Packaging Sustainability: an assessment of global consumer goods companies.


This research project was commissioned by Stewart Investors to investigate and evaluate progress being made towards packaging sustainability in emerging market consumer companies. The focus is on actions being taken to address environmental issues such as materials efficiency, the source of raw materials, and reuse or recycling of packaging at end of life.

photo of Transdisciplinary Research book

Transdisciplinary Research and Practice for Sustainability Outcomes
Eds: Fam, D.M., Palmer, J., Riedy, C. & Mitchell, C.A. 2016, Routledge, UK. 


There is now global interest and a significant body of work on transdisciplinarity and its potential to address the apparently intractable problems of society. This book examines the role of transdisciplinarity in the transformations needed for a sustainable world.

cover of Urban Water Futures report

Urban Water Futures: Trends and Potential Disruptions
Turner, A., and White, S. (2017)
Report prepared for the Water Services Association of Australia (WSAA).


Now is an ideal time to reflect, to take stock of where the Australian water industry is at, to scan the trends, disruptions and innovation opportunities that lie ahead, to imagine what the water industry could look like in the next 20 to 30 years, and to work out what it would take to realise that vision.

cover for Water Supply journal

Advancing household water-use feedback to inform customer behaviour for sustainable urban water
Ariane Liu, Damien Giurco and Pierre Mukheibir Water Science & Technology: Water Supply, 17.1, 2017


Smart water metering and the provision of detailed water-use feedback to consumers present exciting new opportunities for improved urban water management. This paper explores two smart water metering trials in New South Wales.

schematic representation of gdp

Is Decoupling GDP Growth from Environmental Impact Possible?
PLoS ONE, October 2016


The argument that human society can decouple economic growth-defined as growth in Gross Domestic Product-from growth in environmental impacts is appealing. However, this paper co-authored by Steve Mohr argues society can sustainably improve wellbeing, including the wellbeing of its natural assets, but only by discarding GDP growth as the goal in favour of more comprehensive measures of societal wellbeing.

diagram of phosphorus flows in Africa

The story of phosphorus: Global food security and food for thought
Dana Cordell, Jan-Olof Drangert, Stuart White
Global Environmental Change Part A: Human & Policy Dimensions, May 2009


This widely cited paper puts forward the case for including long-term phosphorus scarcity on the priority agenda for global food security. Opportunities for recovering phosphorus and reducing demand are being explored through Phosphorus Futures research.