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Dr Katherine Owens Awarded Brown Equity Prize

Congratulations to SEI researcher Katherine Owens for being awarded a Brown Equity Prize for her research on the role of law and governance in enabling ecologically sustainable transformation.

Senior Lecturer, Associate Dean Professional Law Programs and SEI researcher Dr Katherine Owens has been awarded a Brown Equity Prize in recognition of her stellar research on the development and reform of institutions and regulatory frameworks in environmental law, climate law and natural resources law.

The Brown Equity Prize is an internal funding scheme offered by the University of Sydney. The competitive award is designed to give promising academics additional research support. For Katherine, this prize “has provided me with a wonderful opportunity to build and maximise my research program on new governance solutions for combating climate change.  I will have the benefit of an individual development program and valuable time to focus on researching how processes of publicly-funded experimentation can be governed to decarbonise the economy.  The Prize will enable me to produce a number of journal articles and build government and industry partnerships to increase my research impact.”

Katherine is a key contributor on SEI’s Unsettling Resources research project that investigates the sustainability of renewable and traditional energy and natural resource projects through assessing their social and environmental impacts. Her colleagues on the project, Dr Madeline Taylor and Professor Susan Park, are delighted to hear of Katherine’s success.

Kate’s award of the Brown Equity Prize evidences her research excellence, strong career trajectory and dedication to her carer responsibilities. The Equity Prizes are a highly competitive and prestigious award, and Kate is one of just ten successful applicants who have received Equity Prizes for 2020. Kate is a highly-deserving scholar and colleague and it is with great pride we celebrate and promote her achievement in winning the Brown Equity Prize – congratulations Kate! – Dr Madeline Taylor.

Kate Owens winning the Brown prize is a testament to her research capacity and potential. With the additional support, Kate will now be able to concentrate her efforts at looking at new governance solutions for combating climate change. Being awarded the Brown equity prize is a great achievement and a significant investment by the University of Sydney into a truly deserving researcher. Well done, Kate! – Professor Susan Park.

The Brown Equity Prize is an important recognition of Katherine Owens’ contribution to the field of environmental law and governance and dedication to high-quality research, but also of her generosity as a person.

Learn more about Katherine Owens’ research in this recent article on Governance and Green Transformation.


Katherine Owens is a Senior Lecturer at the University of Sydney Law School. Her research combines both social and legal methods to address significant issues of environmental law and governance, including how law and governance should manage climate change, energy transitions, environmental water, environmental finance and the risks of coal seam gas mining.  A key focus of her research is how governance frameworks can link effective public institutions, such as independent agencies, with innovative private sector actors and enable these entities to work collaboratively to accomplish environmental objectives.

Katherine’s monograph Environmental Water Markets and Regulation: A Comparative Legal Approach  (Routledge/Earthcan 2017) was the first comprehensive examination of the role of law in supporting voluntary water transactions for environmental recovery.  Before joining the University of Sydney in 2015, Katherine practised for a number of years in State Government and leading commercial firms in Australia and New Zealand, specialising in environmental and planning law.