Menu Close

Alex Fischer

Honorary Research Fellow, School of Cybernetics, Australian National University

Dr Alex Fischer is an Honorary Research Fellow at the ANU School of Cybernetics. He brings his interdisciplinary training and global cross-sector experiences to pressing questions about how technology is being designed to accelerate progress across the Sustainable Development Goals. His policy and practice interests include how smart-monitoring technologies are shaping rural drinking water services, how Bayesian analytic approaches are enabling adaptive design aimed at improving intergenerational societal health and how new data flows are changing policy and accountability pathways ranging from community to watershed to national scales. His academic research explores how competing media and policy narratives interact to shape public priorities and how to design polycentric institutions by considering the way information systems link to decisions and performance outcomes.

Alex was previously the Head of Research at the Paul Ramsay Foundation. Prior to that, he supported Bangladeshi colleagues to launch SafePani, a community owned rural water service leveraging blended public-private finance and use of smart monitoring technologies to improve safety and reliability of public and private water points. During his time at the Center for Earth Science Information Networks (CIESIN) and the Earth Institute at Columbia University, he established the Fragile States Policy Program and co-led the Environmental Security Research Program. He is a founding member of the United Nations Sustainable Development Solutions Network’s expert group on Thematic Research on Data and Statistic.


  • 2001–present
    Honorary Research Fellow, Australian National University


  • 2020 
    University of Oxford, DPHIL/ Geography and the Environment


  • 2020
    Machine Learning to Evaluate Impacts of Flood Protection in Bangladesh, 1983–2014, Water
  • 2020
    Risky responsibilities for rural drinking water institutions: the case for regulating self-supply in Bangladesh, Global Environmental Change
  • 2019
    Constraining Risk Narratives: A Multidecadal Media Analysis of Drinking Water Insecurity in Bangladesh, Annals of the American Association of Geographers
  • 2011
    Designing Environmental Restoration Programs in Politically Unstable States: Lessons from Haiti.,