Katie Ross joined the Institute for Sustainable Futures in 2010, bringing with her almost a decade of experience in the sustainability sector. Katie works predominantly across ISF’s Social Change, International Development and Energy research areas as a project director and manager on projects promoting social and technical system transformation.
Katie’s current research seeks to strengthen the long-term performance of decentralised systems and improve equity consideration in technical processes, such as water efficiency and safety, in order to improve the long-term impact of these types of programs. One of Katie’s areas of expertise is in education for sustainability, which provides principles, frameworks and tools for creating positive change. Katie incorporates these into innovative methods of capacity building and stakeholder engagement. She is also expert in innovative community engagement, capacity building and workshop design.
Can supervise: YES
Tilbury, D & Ross, KE 2005, Living change: documenting good practice in education for sustainability in NSW, Macquarie University, Sydney and the Nature Conservation Council, NSW, Sydney, Australia.
Many current texts explain the 'what' and the 'why' of Education for Sustainability but few texts capture the intricacies of 'how' to bring it into practice. Living Change attempts to fill this gap by capturing the experiences of educators who are making changes to their programs orienting them towards Education for Sustainability. This much needed resource has been jointly developed by Macquarie University and the Nature Conservation Council, NSW. It has been designed to assist those seeking to educate for sustainability and consists of three different sections: The Framework section provides an introduction to the resource and the concepts underpinning Education for Sustainability. Based on these concepts this section presents a framework which can be used by practitioners to document their experiences in order to inspire and educate others. Using this framework two case studies have been provided as examples: Case Study: Cool Communities is a nationwide partnership program focused on making changes in households towards greenhouse gas abatement. Case Study: Sustainable Schools is a program which invites all schools both government and non-government to participate in incorporating the sustainability agenda in two main target areas, the school itself, and then, into the broader community.
Riedy, C, Fam, DM, Ross, K & Mitchell, C 2018, 'Transdisciplinarity at the Crossroads: Nurturing Individual and Collective Learning', Technology Innovation Management Review, vol. 8, no. 8, pp. 41-49.View/Download from: UTS OPUS
Practitioners of transdisciplinary inquiry, which we define to include research, learning, collaboration, and action, encounter innumerable tensions. Some tensions are universal, while others are unique to that particular inquiry at that point in time. Resolving these tensions requires
innovative practices, which emerge through experience with transdisciplinary inquiry. In this article, we reflect on two decades of transdisciplinary inquiry at the Institute for Sustainable Futures. Drawing on that experience, we argue that one crucial innovative practice is to create space for collective, reflective learning. Such learning frequently takes place in spaces we call “crossroads”. These are formal and informal spaces where practitioners who have been on their own transdisciplinary learning journeys (experiencing diverse
tensions and applying diverse approaches) come together in dialogue to share, reflect, critically and constructively question, imagine, challenge, and synthesize their experiences into collective organizational learning. Crossroads can emerge spontaneously but can also be consciously nurtured. In our experience, they help us to sustain the innovation needed for transdisciplinary inquiry and to avoid stagnation or routinization. At these reflective, and often times transformative, crossroads, we make sense of our messy, non-linear transdisciplinary journeys and develop innovations to take our transdisciplinary practices forward.
Mitchell, C, Abeysuriya, K & Ross, K 2016, 'Making pathogen hazards visible: a new heuristic to improve sanitation investment efficacy', Waterlines, vol. 35, no. 2, pp. 163-181.View/Download from: UTS OPUS or Publisher's site
The water demand and water use practices of each community are different. Designing cost-effective demand management programs requires investigating and responding directly to the unique water issues and opportunities of each community (Turner et al., 2010). As presented in this paper, a `mixed method baseline analysis' has proven to be valuable in developing a demand management program tailored to the distinctive community context. A mixed method baseline analysis is comprised of two interlinked components: (i) quantitative smart meter data analysis to create a detailed understanding of the water demand pro¬file; and (ii) qualitative social research to understand the social, cultural and institutional influences that drive existing water patterns. This paper shares the mixed method baseline analysis and resulting implications for a demand management program implemented in the remote Indigenous community of Gunbalanya, Northern Territory, in 2013.
Ross, KE 2013, 'Wind power works: Doing small wind right', Renew: Technology for a sustainable future, vol. 122, pp. 63-65.
Ross, KE & Herriman, J 2013, 'Active and participatory learning for sustainability in an online space: The case study of CrowdTV', International Journal of Sustainability Education, vol. 8, no. 2, pp. 105-124.View/Download from: UTS OPUS
CrowdTV is a website designed to empower communities to create social change by collaboratively developing a documentary about issues that matter to them in an online community. For the first project completed on CrowdTV, the aim was to bring community members from Western Sydney together to create a documentary about water in their landscape. This reflective case study makes explicit the processes embedded within the CrowdTV project. The authors also question if the processes in this case study could exemplify the processes espoused by Education for Sustainability. Education for Sustainability is an approach to education that seeks to transition communities towards sustainability. Case studies of best practice EfS sites continue to be developed in order to help explain how to implement the processes and capture key components for doing so. Many case studies for EfS in the formal, non-formal and informal sectors exist, but very few explore the role of online processes as means to achieving EfS learning processes. This reflective case study attempts to add to this specific area and to support the refinement of CrowdTV to enhance educational outcomes.
Ross, KE & Mitchell, C 2018, 'Transforming Transdisciplinarity: an expansion of strong transdisciplinarity and its centrality in enabling effective collaboration' in Fam, D, Nuehauser, L & Gibbs, P (eds), Transdisciplinary Theory, Practice and Education: The Art of Collaborative Research and Collective Learning, Springer, Switzerland, pp. 39-56.View/Download from: UTS OPUS or Publisher's site
This chapter expands and enriches existing characterisations and premises of strong transdisciplinarity to develop the concept of “Transforming Transdisciplinarity”. Erich Jantsch’s, Basarab Nicolescu’s, and Manfred Max-Neef’s notions of strong transdisciplinarity all aim to stretch, transcend or reconstruct the Cartesian-Newtonian paradigm. Other theoretical orientations linked by Jantsch, Nicolescu, and Max-Neef to strong transdisciplinarity, such as systems theory and complexity theory, also share similar intentions. However, whereas Max-Neef critiqued only the onto-epistemological premise of the Cartesian-Newtonian paradigm in defining strong transdisciplinarity, these other theoretical orientations offer an extended, more holistic critique across six integrated meaning systems of which a societal paradigm or individual worldview could be comprised: cosmologies, ontologies, epistemologies, axiologies, anthropologies, and social visions. Each of these six meaning systems is quite distinct, but together they form an integrated, holistic framework, or mythic structure of a paradigm (Kauffman S, Humanity in a creative universe. Oxford University Press, New York, 2016). We argue that in order to be truly transformative, collaborative transdisciplinary researchers should make space to reflect on the power and influence of these six meaning systems in their research.
After exploring the lineage of strong transdisciplinarity, we offer a (very) short synthesis of the dominant Cartesian-Newtonian paradigm’s intellectual roots, and then synthesise the alternative paradigms put forward by transdisciplinary theorists and the theoretical orientations linked to transdisciplinarity. What binds these thinkers together is their repeating call for shifting our efforts towards a process-focused, relational, complexivist paradigm, across all meaning systems or mythic structures. Their collective voice is the raison d’être for Transforming Transdisciplinarity. We intend for this ...
Mitchell, CA & Ross, K 2017, 'Trandisciplinarity in action: four guidelines, a reflexive framework and their application to improving community sanitation governance in Indonesia' in Fam, D, Palmer, J, Riedy, C & Mitchell, C (eds), Transdisciplinary Research and Practice for Sustainability Outcomes, Routledge, Britain, pp. 172-189.View/Download from: UTS OPUS
Fam, DM, Lopes Mellick, A, Ross, K & Crosby, A 2018, 'The Transdisciplinary Living Lab Model (TDLL): Creating ‘citizen scholars’ for life-long learning', World Symposium on Sustainable Development at Universities, Universities as Living Labs for Sustainable Development: Supporting the Implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals, University Sains Malaysia (USM), Penang, Malaysia.
Ross, K & Mitchell, C 2018, 'Leveraging transformation with a polyarchy of learning edges', Building Transformative Community: Exacting Possibility in Today’s Times, International Transformative Learning Conference. Transformation in Action: The Power of Community, Teachers College, Columbia University in the City of New York, pp. 533-536.View/Download from: UTS OPUS
Fam, DM, Mitchell, C, Ross, K, De La Sierna, E & Ukowitz, M 2017, 'Challenging my and your worldview - recognizing ontological (beliefs), epistemological (knowledge) and axiological (values) assumptions to enrich TD research and practice', International Transdisciplinary Conference, Transdisciplinary Research and Education — Intercultural Endeavours, Leuphana University Lüneburg, Germany.
Mitchell, C, Abeysuriya, K, Ross, KE, Eales, K, Willetts, J & Mills, F 2017, 'Achieving safe management: A case for strengthening the attention to liquid streams in on-site and local sanitation', Fecal Sludge Management 4 Conference, Chennai.View/Download from: UTS OPUS
Chong, J, Abeysuriya, K, Hidayat, L, Sulistio, H, Suartana, N, Ross, K & Willetts, J 2015, 'Strengthening institutional and governance arrangements for small city sanitation, Indonesia', Stockholm World Water Week 2016, Stockholm, Sweden.
Ross, K, Abeysuriya, K & Mitchell, C 2015, 'Developing principle-based indicators for the SDGs: A sanitation case study', 3rd Annual International Conference on Sustainable Development, Annual International Conference on Sustainable Development, New York City.
Fam, DM, Ross, K & Mitchell, CA 2015, 'Translating storytelling into principles for designing dry sanitation in rural native Alaskan communities', International Dry Toilet Conference, Tampere, Finland.
Usher, J, Higgens, A, Ross, K, Dunstan, C & Paevere, P 2015, 'Impacts of Policy on Electric Vehicle Diffusion', Proceedings of the 37th ATRF, Australasian Transport Research Forum, ATRF, Sydney, Australia.View/Download from: UTS OPUS
Selection and design of appropriate government policies to support electric vehicle (EV) adoption can be aided by modelling the future impact of policy instruments relative to a given baseline estimate. This paper highlights the innovative application of a diffusion model to analyse complex impacts of EV policy instruments on future incremental EV uptake. Several versions of four key policy instruments are tested in the model: linking electric vehicle sales to Renewable Electricity Purchases (RE-EV), financial subsidies, smart charging incentives and a common cost metric to educate consumers about the lifetime costs of EVs. Market share between battery electric vehicles (BEVs), plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs), hybrid electric vehicles (HEVs) and internal combustion engine vehicles (ICEVs) were forecasted out to the year 2034 across all 1.5 million households in the state of Victoria, Australia. The RE-EV scenario had the strongest performance in terms of economic and societal indicators. Non-subsidy policy instruments can also support uptake of EVs, especially in the case of encouraging BEV adoption. We found feebate scenarios were more effective policies than rebates. Rebate and feebate scenarios applied within the 2014-2019 timeframe compared better than those with longer timeframes. Our analyses showed how combined policy scenarios not only further improved EV uptake but also allowed government to fund rebates through feebate income.
Mitchell, C, Abeysuriya, K, Ross, K & Mikhailovich, N 2018, 'Effective governance for the operation of decentralised sanitation systems', Water Sanitation and Hygiene Futures Conference 2014, Brisbane.
Riedy, C, Herriman, J, Ross, K, Lederwasch, AJ & Boronyak, LJ 2013, 'Innovative techniques for local community engagement on climate change adaptation', People and the Planet 2013 Conference Proceedings, People and the Planet: Transforming the Future, Global Cities Research Institute, RMIT University, Melbourne, Australia, pp. 1-27.View/Download from: UTS OPUS
Abstract: Climate change adaptation requires communities to prepare for both extreme weather events and the more gradual shifts that a changing climate may bring. Our project designed and evaluated several face-to-face activities to engage communities in North East Victoria on climate change adaptation. The objective was ultimately to help vulnerable people in the community become more resilient by connecting them with resources and supportive networks. The workshops tested several innovative community engagement activities, including storytelling, visioning and creative practice. These activities responded to a body of research on best-practice approaches for engaging community elders and leaders as spokespeople and peer educators, as well as research on deliberation and the use of story to locate sustainability experiences in an emotional landscape. The workshops used existing community networks to multiply their potential impact, and took place in communities that had experienced extreme climate events (drought, fire and flood) firsthand. We present a toolkit of ten community engagement activities drawing on the experience of these workshops. We contend that these activities are potentially replicable by local governments and other stakeholders in climate change adaptation. Further, they can bring to life the many and varied materials created by various agencies about preparation for climate change.
Riedy, C & Ross, K 2012, 'The emerging social practices of collaborative consumption: A new digital infrastructure for social change?', Proceedings of Beyond Behaviour Change Symposium, Beyond Behaviour Change Symposium, RMIT, RMIT, Melbourne.
Ross, K, Herriman, J & Ingram, K 2012, 'Water Stories and CrowdTV: A world first process of community engagement and education', Eighth International Conference on Sustainability, International Conference on Sustainability, Vancouver.
Ross, K 2006, 'Change towards sustainability: everyday sustainability education creating exceptional change', Annual meeting of the North American Association For Environmental Education, NSW Chapter of the Australian Association for Environmental Education, St Paul, USA.
Case studies discussing what environmental educators have learnt on the job and in practice.
Although the many benefits of recycled water are well documented,
experience has highlighted substantial and complex challenges in planning, implementing and operating successful schemes. Hunter Water Corporation (HWC) took a systems thinking approach to explore decentralised and centralised recycled water and IWM options with the aim of highlighting constraints to decentralised and IWM options and gaps in either knowledge, analysis or decision making processes.
The research seeks to address three question:
• How can we demonstrate and capture the value of recycled water, and in
particular the options value it gives Hunter Water in avoiding large (water supply and wastewater) investments?
• Why are our intuitions (i.e. the value of recycled water) not borne out in our
• How could we change that?
Although these questions might seem simple, the complex recycled water investment environment means there are no easy answers. To make progress, we must explore and grapple with complexity. The deeply collaborative systems approach adopted for this project employed different tools that open up new ways of thinking and acting that can help us work out what to do next, despite complexity.
Kestin, T, van den Belt, M, Denby, L, Ross, KE, Thwaites, J & Hawkes, M Sustainable Development Solutions Network – Australia/Pacific 2017, Getting started with the SDGs in universities: A guide for universities, higher education institutions, and the academic sector, Melbourne, Australia.View/Download from: UTS OPUS
During 2012-2014, SNV did four country reviews of legal arrangements for urban sanitation and hygiene (Nepal, Bhutan, Bangladesh and Indonesia).
Based on this experience, this document was developed to provide guidance on how to undertake a legal scan for urban sanitation.
Over time, the ultimate objective of this work and related activities is that WASH professionals will be able to undertake a high-level assessment of legal arrangements for urban sanitation in order to both:
1. use the frameworks and tools offered by legal and policy arrangements to improve urban sanitation and hygiene outcomes; and
2. advocate for improvements in legal, policy and institutional arrangements to facilitate sustainable sanitation and hygiene outcomes for all.
Kome, A, Ross, KE, Carrard, N, Willetts, J, Mills, F, Abeysuriya, K & Murta, J 2016, Learning Brief: Exploring legal and policy aspects of urban sanitation and hygiene, Sydney, Australia.View/Download from: UTS OPUS
Mitchell, C, Ross, K, Puspowardoyo, P, Rosenqvist, T & Wedahuditama, F 2016, How to design governance for lasting service? Visual resource for workshop, guided stakeholder discussion and group/individual reflection.View/Download from: UTS OPUS
Chong, J, Abeysuriya, K, Hidayat, L, Sulistio, H, Ross, K & WIlletts, J Report prepared by the Institute for Sustainable Futures, University of Technology Sydney, Kemitraan Partnership for Governance Reform and SNV Indonesia for the Australian Aid Indonesia Infrastructure Initiative (IndII). 2015, Strengthening governance arrangements for small city and town sanitation..View/Download from: UTS OPUS
Chong, J, Ross, K, Abeysuriya, K, Hidayat, L, Sulisto, H, Suartana, N, Carreiro, M & Willetts, J 2015, Strengthening governance arrangements for small city and town sanitation in Sumatra, Indonesia – a selection of key themes for local governments and policy makers. A Briefing Paper..View/Download from: UTS OPUS
This project brief summarises key themes from research that investigated local government governance and institutional arrangements for sanitation (wastewater) planning, budgeting and implementation in small cities and towns in Sumatra, Indonesia.
Mitchell, C, Ross, K, Abeysuriya, K, Puspowardoyo, P & Wedahuditama, F ISF, UTS 2015, Effective governance for the successful long-term operation of community scale air limbah systems: Mid-term Observations Report, Sydney, Australia.
Prepared by the ISF, UTS as part of the Australian Development Research Award Scheme.
Ross, K, Abeysuriya, K, Mitchell, C & Mikhailovich, N Institute for Sustainable Futures, UTS 2014, Governance for decentralized sanitation: Global Practice Scan. A working document., pp. 1-44, Sydney, Australia.View/Download from: UTS OPUS
This research intends to make a significant contribution to a critical gap in sectoral knowledge on how to enable effective governance for decentralised sanitation service delivery
This report presents an analysis of water use in Gunbalanya and an independent evaluation of the `Gunbalanya Water Initiative (the Initiative), a water demand management program led by Power and Water Corporation (PWC) in 2013. The Initiative was implemented in the Gunbalanya community (Oenpelli) in western Arnhemland, Northern Territory, in response to increasing water scarcity and rising demand from the water system. The community experiences water shortages at the end of most dry seasons (October to December) as the aquifer is dependent on seasonal recharge and unique aquifer characteristics prohibit higher extraction rates. Increasing water demand incurs higher production costs. Where that water continues to the sewer, it can also overload sewage treatment systems. These drivers triggered an analysis of the sources of demand (water use, leaks, etc) to identify and test the local efficacy of targeted demand reduction measures. Implementation of the Initiative was from October 2012 to November 2013 through a partnership between local and Territory governments and the Gunbalanya community. The partners included Power and Water Corporation, the NT Department of Housing, the West Arnhem Regional Council (WARC), and the NT Department of Community Services. In - kind contributions from all partners supplemented grant funding of $298,000 from the Australian Government to deliver the program. The focus of the Initiative was to engage Indigenous public housing tenants and community stakeholders in a water efficiency program. Smart meter data interpretation played a significant role in the Initiatives design, monitoring and evaluation. A mixture of qualitative and quantitative evaluation techniques were used.
Winterford, K, Ross, K & Willetts, J Institute for Sustainable Futures, UTS 2014, Water Safety Planning Equity Study: Synthesis Report of Four Case Studies in Asia, Sydney.View/Download from: UTS OPUS
Prepared by the Institute for Sustainable Futures, UTS for the World Health Organisation
Herriman, E, Razian, H, Moore, DD, Ross, K, Downes, J & Paddon, M Institute for Sustainable Futures, UTS 2013, Research into the Economic, Social and Environmental Implications of Population Growth in Australian Cities: Case Study - Logan, QLD, pp. 1-75, Sydney, Australia.View/Download from: UTS OPUS
Ison, N, Ross, K, Cooper, C, Brennan, T, Langham, E, Wynne, L, Riedy, C & Downes, J Institute for Sustainable Futures, UTS 2013, Our energy future: Renewable energy master plan, pp. 1-133, Sydney.View/Download from: UTS OPUS
Paddon, M, Partridge, E, Sharpe, S, Moore, D, Herriman, E & Ross, K Institute for Sustainable Futures, UTS 2013, The economic, social and environmental implications of population growth in Australian cities, Sydney, Australia.View/Download from: UTS OPUS
Paddon, M, Partridge, EY, Sharpe, SA, Moore, DD & Ross, K Institute for Sustainable Futures, UTS 2013, The economic, social and environmental implications of population growth in Australian cities, pp. 1-88, Sydney, Australia.
Partridge, EY, Moore, DD, Ross, K & Paddon, M Institute for Sustainable Futures, UTS 2013, Research into the Economic, Social and Environmental Implications of Population Growth in Australian Cities: Case Study - Palmerston, NT, pp. 1-72, Sydney, Australia.View/Download from: UTS OPUS
Ross, K, Delaney, C & Mitchell, C 2013, Gunbalanya Household Water and Energy Initiative. Paper 1: Baseline Evaluation. Paper 2: Design Recommendations. Paper 3: Interview Tools. Paper 4: Learning Paper.
Paper 1: Baseline Evaluation. Paper 2: Design Recommendations. Paper 3: Interview Tools. Paper 4: Learning Paper. Prepared by the Institute for Sustainable Futures, University of Technology, Sydney, for the Power and Water Corporation.
Ross, K, Mikhailovich, N, Moore, DD & Paddon, M Institute for Sustainable Futures, UTS 2013, Research into the Economic, Social and Environmental Implications of Population Growth in Australian Cities: Case Study - Lower Hunter, NSW, pp. 1-70, Sydney, Australia.View/Download from: UTS OPUS
Sharpe, SA, Ross, K, Moore, DD, Partridge, EY & Paddon, M Institute for Sustainable Futures, UTS 2013, Research into the Economic, Social and Environmental Implications of Population Growth in Australian Cities: Case Study - Melton, VIC, pp. 1-64, Sydney, Australia.View/Download from: UTS OPUS
Herriman, E, Sharpe, SA, Moore, DD, Ross, K, Partridge, EY & Paddon, M Institute for Sustainable Futures, UTS 2012, Research into the Economic, Social and Environmental Implications of Population Growth in Australian Cities: Case Study - Playford, SA, pp. 1-56, Sydney, Australia.View/Download from: UTS OPUS
Ison, N, Hicks, J, Gilding, J & Ross, K Backroad Connections, Community Power Agency and the Institute for Sustainable Futures, UTS 2012, The Australian community renewable energy sector - Challenges and opportunities, pp. 1-67, Sydney.View/Download from: UTS OPUS
Riedy, C, Herriman, J, Daly, JG, Ross, K, Jackson, ML, Lederwasch, AJ, Boronyak, LJ & Murta, J Institute for Sustainable Futures, UTS 2012, Water in North East Victoria: Regional Community Development Climate Adaptation Plan - Final Report, Sydney, Australia.
Usher, J, Dunstan, C, Ross, K, Christie, L & Paevere, PJ Institute for Sustainable Futures, UTS 2012, Building the electric vehicle market in Victoria: Policy and techology scenarios, pp. 1-104, Sydney, Australia.
Dunstan, C, Ghiotto, N & Ross, K Institute for Sustainable Futures, UTS 2011, Report of the 2010 survey of Electricity Network Demand Management in Australia, pp. 1-44, Sydney, Australia.View/Download from: UTS OPUS
Dunstan, C, Ross, K & Ghiotto, N Institute for Sustainable Futures, UTS 2011, Barriers to demand management: A survey of stakeholder perceptions, pp. 1-51, Sydney, Australia.View/Download from: UTS OPUS
Dunstan, C, Usher, J, Ross, K, Christie, L & Paevere, PJ Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) 2011, Supporting electric vehicle adoption in Australia: Barriers and policy solutions, pp. 1-156, Victoria, Australia.
This report discusses twelve reform options that would drive or support a step-change improvement in energy efficiency in Australia by 2020. The reform options are a mix of policy, structural and regulatory reform.
Mitchell, CA & Ross, KE Institute for Sustainable Futures, UTS 2010, Development of the SIG RAMSI People's Survey. Results from Objective 1: idenitification of survey questions, pp. 1-94, Sydney, Australia.
Ross, K & Herriman, J Institute for Sustainable Futures, UTS 2010, Aligning our Actions: developing Delivery Program Actions in line with the Community Strategic Plan and Sustainability Principles, Sydney.
Ross, KE Institute for Sustainable Futures, UTS 2010, Feasibility of distributed wind energy: Hugh Bamford Reserve, Marks Park, Bronte Park, pp. 1-64, Sydney, Australia.
Kestin, T, Thwaites, J, Ross, KE, Denby, L & van den Belt, M 2017, 'Universities must act now on sustainability goals', The Conversation.