Prof Sarah Wheeler

Associate Director Research at Centre for Global Food and Resources at the University of Adelaide and is an ARC Future Fellow
Adelaide South Australia

Prof Sarah Wheeler is an Australian Research Council Future Fellow and the Associate Director of Research with the Centre for Global Food and Resources, University of Adelaide. 

She has research interests in water economics, climate change, Murray-Darling Basin and farmer adaptation behaviour.

Sarah was born on a farm in NSW, and farming and resource issues have always been her passion, driving her choices of jobs and research. After completing her undergraduate degree with honours in Economics, Sarah went overseas and has worked in positions such as United Nations ESCAP, Environment Agency (UK) and also in consulting positions within South Australia.

She decided to do her PhD in 2002, and then became pregnant during the final year. Although she was offered a number of full-time permanent jobs after her PhD, Sarah decided to focus on her children and chose a part-time flexible post-doc position at the University of South Australia. She became pregnant with her next child and continued to work part-time up to the point where both children went to school, and then returned to full-time work. In this time-period she slowly accumulated and helped lead a small team of water economists working on water market issues.

In 2014 Sarah won an ARC Future Fellow position and was promoted to Associate Professor and a tenured position. In 2015 she was recruited (and consequently negotiated for two other academics and three PhD students) to join Global Food Studies, University of Adelaide.  Sarah helped this unit turn into an official University centre (Centre for Global Food and Resources) in 2016, and also become its’ Associate Director of Research. In 2017-18 Sarah was promoted to Professor, after the full-time equivalent of just under eight years work.

Sarah works across many different disciplines, and has a real strength in building inter-disciplinary research teams. She mentors many students and females in her area, and is an Associate Editor/editor of three water and economic journals and five editorial boards. She is also strongly driven to try and engage and influence national policies, and has considerable experience with the media, government and industry.