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Dr Sophie Chao Awarded DECRA 2022 Funding

Congratulations to SEI researcher Sophie Chao, who has been awarded a Discovery Early Career Researcher Award (DECRA) for her Human-Kangaroo research.

Image by Meg Jerrard, via Unsplash.

Despite our collective sense of time being warped by the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, we can confirm that another year has passed and another round of DECRA funding announcements! This year we are absolutely delighted to congratulate Dr Sophie Chao for securing DECRA funding to support her important and evocative research on human-kangaroo research over the next three years.

Sophie’s research aims to reveal the diverse perceptions, knowledges and practices shaping human-kangaroo relations in Australia. Using inter-disciplinary and multi-sited methods, the project expects to generate innovative empirical and conceptual insights into the contested status of the kangaroo as native species and pest, food resource and political symbol.

Planned outcomes of the project include the development of participatory and applied approaches to reconciling environmental conservation with ethical food production and multispecies justice. Anticipated benefits include fast-tracking a multi-stakeholder dialogue to ensure an ecologically viable, ethically just and economically sustainable future for Australian wildlife.

Again, we warmly congratulate Sophie on her award and look forward to seeing this project develop over the coming years.

Find out more about Sophie’s applied and academic work.


Sophie Chao is a Postdoctoral Research Associate at the School of Philosophical and Historical Inquiry and the Charles Perkins Centre. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Oriental Studies (First Class) and a Master of Science in Social Anthropology from The University of Oxford and a PhD (Cum Laude) from Macquarie University. Sophie’s research thus far has focused on exploring the intersections of capitalism, ecology, and indigeneity in Indonesia, with a specific focus on changing interspecies relations in the context of deforestation and agribusiness development. Her current research deploys inter-disciplinary methods to explore the nutritional and cultural impacts of agribusiness on indigenous food-based socialities, identities, and ecologies.