Leonie Pearson

Dr. Leonie Pearson is SUMERNET's Coordinator component for research for policy and practice, and the Senior Research Fellow, Water for SEI Asia. Her work is focused on securing vulnerable people’s access and rights to water through high impact research for the SEI's SUMERNET programme.

Leonie has worked for more than two decades at the intersection of sustainability research, public policy and collaborative engagement. As a world-renowned ecological economist, she has delivered innovative knowledge to governments, on-ground policy change and over 150 articles and papers with keynote addresses. Her expertise is in sustainable development, landscape water management, livelihood policy, integrated assessment urban-rural and the knowledge-practice nexus.

Through knowledge generated as a researcher and leader, Leonie ignited the debate on resilient sustainable cities in the Australia landscape a decade ago. The debate synthesized her breadth of work across community sustainable development, water management, industry and farming futures, and resulted in invitations to the UK, Canada, US and China, a book, teaching, podcasts and strong policy influence.

Leonie’s policy impact has been at all scales (local to global) and is based on shaping policy issues with government and piloting innovative solutions such as a soil carbon market and city deal making. With strong analytical skills and robust critical thinking, she has helped governments pioneer solutions to sustainable development challenges across contexts of water, land management and urban.

Leonie has a PhD in Applied Economics from the University of Queensland in Australia and a BSc (Hons) in Economic Geography from the University of New South Wales, Australia. She also a Diploma in Corporate Governance from the Australian Institute of Company Directors and certificates in Tertiary Education from the University of Queensland and Development Economics, Policy and Practice, from the World Bank.


Stockholm Environment Institute (SEI) Asia Centre


Coordinator component for research for policy and practice


water governance



Sustainable Mekong Research Network

Building research for policy towards sustainable development in the Mekong Region

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