Researcher biography

E-mail: isabelfranco@uq.edu.au ; connect@drisabelfranco.com

Twitter: @DrIsabelFranco

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/drisabelfranco/

Personal Website: DrIsabelFranco.com

Impact Research Website: Exceptional Women in Sustainability Network (eWisely.org)

I am an emerging leader in sustainable development, sustainability science, policy and practice interested in exploring the role of industry in fostering sustainable, inclusive development. I do this through the development, refinement and application of sustainability assessment, methods and techniques. I have a strong academic and senior management advisory foundation, upon which I have applied sustainability principles and solutions across multiple industries, such as extractives (mining, oil and gas), gemstones, higher education, fashion, finance and banking, public sector and international development, in contexts as diverse as Australia, Angola, Bangladesh, Bolivia, Colombia, Chile, Japan, Peru, Thailand and Zambia. With Postdoctoral Studies from the United Nations University – Institute for the Advanced Studies of Sustainability, my work has contributed to evidence-based decision-making at various international organisations, such as, UNDP (Angola, Africa), UN ESCAP (Thailand), United Nations University - Institute for the Advanced Study of Sustainability (UNU-IAS)(Japan) and British Council (Colombia) where I have also held senior advisory positions supporting strategic and operational activities on large multilingual (English, Spanish and Portuguese), cross-regional, cross-sectoral projects on sustainable development and sustainability broadly.

I contribute to academic, quasi-academic knowledge pieces, industry and policy reports, impact research initiatives and investments intended to improve social, economic and environmental conditions and foster inclusive, sustainable development. Recent examples include the co-development of the UN 'Socially responsible Business: A Model for a Sustainable Future and the 'UN Corporate Agenda of Sustainable Development' (ultimately contributing to a corporate sustainability commitment from the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China); and recommendations to improve the corporate sustainability practices of companies adhered to the UN ESCAP Business Advisory Council. My work and global engagement initiatives have been directly presented to and actioned by the UN High Level Political Forum in New York, the United Nations University – Regional Centres of Expertise for Sustainable Development, as well as multinational corporations in the resource, banking and finance sectors. I have generated +60 peer reviewed outcomes in the form of journal articles, books, book chapters, policy briefs, conference papers and video documentaries, +100 public engagements worldwide and 10 supervised/advised postgraduate students.

My ongoing impact research and practice aim to understand the role of the industry achieving transformational, sustainable change at scales (around which I hope to build a global movement on sustainable development and sustainability with a gender focus. I do this through a network, I proactively founded: 'Exceptional Women in Sustainability e-Wisely.org', the fastest-growing, global connector of exceptional women in sustainability science, policy and practice. eWisely hosts the Women Sustainability Forum which aims to connect women in sustainability across the globe to help them build sustainable careers. The Women Sustainability Forum has taken place in Australia, Japan, Colombia, Chile and Zambia. eWisely also advises corporations on gender aspects of corporate sustainability and due diligence processes to foster sustainable gender inclusion across the supply chain and sustainable lifestyles amongst women. eWisely has 20 networks in Latin America, 11 networks in Asia-Pacific and 8 Networks in Africa.

Awardee of the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science Fellowship, I have six relevant qualifications, a PhD in Governance and Sustainability and Postgraduate Studies in Governance and Public Policy from The University of Queensland, Australia. Two Master degrees, in Business Administration and Educational Management. I also hold two Bachelors, in Public Administration and Foreign Languages. I currently have professional affiliations with the Australian Institute for Business and Economics (AIBE), The University of Queensland (Australia); Earth System Governance, Utrecht University (Netherlands); Editor at Sustainability Science Scientific Journal (Japan). I have held academic positions at the United Nations University – Institute for the Advanced Study of Sustainability (UNU-IAS) (Japan), Keio University (Japan), University of Zambia (Zambia) and Universidad Nacional de Colombia (Colombia).

PROFESSIONAL AFFILIATIONS

  • 2021 - ongoing Editor, Sustainability Science Journal
  • 2021 - ongoing Research Fellow, Earth System Governance, Utrecht University, Netherlands
  • 2021 Guest Lecturer in Sustainable Development; University of Colombo, Sri Lanka
  • 2018-2019 -Contributing Author - United Nations International Resource Panel Report: Land Restoration for Achieving the SDGs Report; United Nations International Resource Panel
  • 2014 - 2017 - International Consultant, United Nations (Africa and Asia-Pacific)
  • 2017 – 2018 - Adjunct Research Fellow; Sustainable Minerals Institute, Centre for Water in the Mining Industry, The University of Queensland, Australia
  • 2018 - Guest Lecturer in Education for Sustainable Mining; University of Zambia
  • 2018 - Guest Lecturer in Women in Global Mining and Sustainability; Universidad Catolica de Chile
  • 2015 - Guest Lecturer in Mining and Natural Resource Management; School of Mines, Universidad Nacional de Colombia
  • 2013-2016 - Fellow Member; Global Change Institute, Australia
  • 2013-2016 - Guest Lecturer in Sustainable Resource Governance; The University of Queensland, Australia
  • 2015 - Guest Lecturer Sustainable Resource Governance; Universidad Autonoma de Mexico

AWARDS

  • 2018 Exceptional Woman of the Year (Awarded to Women Leaders in their fields) Women Economic Forum, India
  • 2015 TEDxUQ Talk Speaker: "Beautiful women: The Ugly Reality", Australia
  • 2014 Best Sessional Lecturer Humanities and Social Science School (HASS), The University of Queensland, Australia
  • 2014 Global Leader Award The University of Queensland, Australia
  • 2011-2012 International Student Ambassador for Colombia Brisbane City Council (Appointed by Brisbane's Lord Mayor), Australia

FUNDING AND RESEARCH GRANTS

In her early research career, Isabel has successfully managed sustainability research, policy, capacity-building and consulting projects, as a named investigator.

2017-2019 - Project: Global Stakeholder Networks for Impactful Sustainability Research and Education

​Status: Concluded Dr. Isabel B. Franco, Principal Investigator; Funding Body: Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS), Postdoctoral Fellowship for Foreign Researchers. Funding: JPY 10,850,000. ​ Partners: Japan Society for the Promotion of Science, United Nations University - Institute for the Advanced Study of Sustainability, Keio University, JSPS.

2017 - Project: Photo Documentary Research Grant: It is not just a Women's Issue

Status: Concluded Role: Dr. Isabel B. Franco, Principal Investigator; Funding body: Mineros S.A. Funding: US 3,000. Partners: Mineros S.A, Exceptional Women in Sustainability (eWisely)

2015 - Project: Decentralisation, Corporate Community Development and Resource Governance: A Comparative Analysis of Two Mining Regions in Colombia

Status: Concluded Dr. Isabel B. Franco, Principal Investigator; Funding body: The University of Queensland, Sustainable Minerals Institute, Writing Fellowship. Funding: AUD 5,000. Partners: Sustainable Minerals Institute, The University of Queensland

2012 – 2013- Project: Artisanal Mining and Livelihoods

​Status: Concluded Role: Dr. Isabel B. Franco, Principal Investigator; Funding body: International Mining for Development Centre (IM4DC), Student Action Research Grant. Funding: AUD 20,000 Partners: International Mining for Development Centre, Sustainable Minerals Institute, The University of Queensland

2013 - Project: The Global-local interface: Governance Dynamics for Sustainable Human Capital Capacity-building in Colombian Mining Regions

​Status: Concluded Role: Dr. Isabel B. Franco, Principal Investigator; Funding body: The University of Queensland, Field Research Travel grant – School of Earth and Environmental Sciences​. Funding: AUD 3,000. Partners: The University of Queensland, School of Earth and Environmental Sciences​ (SEES)

2011 - Project: Community Capacity-building and a Social License to Operate in the Mining Industry

Status: Concluded Role: Dr. Isabel B. Franco, Principal Investigator; Funding body: The University of Queensland, International Conference Grant, Sustainable Minerals Institute. Funding: AUD 3,000. Partners: Sustainable Minerals Institute, The University of Queensland

2011- Project: Socially Responsible Business: A Model for a Sustainable Future Status: Concluded

Role: Dr. Isabel B. Franco, Principal Investigator; Funding body: United Nations ESCAP and The University of Queensland, Travel grant – SEES. Funding: AUD 2,000. Partners: United Nations ESCAP, School of Earth and Environmental Sciences​​, The University of Queensland

2011-2014 - Project: Enhancing Human Capital in Resource Regions - The Colombian Case

Status: Concluded Role: Dr. Isabel B. Franco, Principal Investigator; Funding body: The University of Queensland, UQ International Scholarship (UQI). Funding: AUD 92,000. Partners: The University of Queensland

2010-2011- Project: Education for CSR in Mining Regions

Status: Concluded Role: Dr. Isabel B. Franco, Principal Investigator; Funding body: The University of Queensland, Sustainable Minerals Institute - Summer Research Scholarship. Funding: AUD 3,000. Partners: Sustainable Minerals Institute, The University of Queensland

Areas of research