Azhar is a behavioural, experimental and applied economist with a keen interest in addressing issues of societal disadvantage and inequality. He especially seeks opportunities to explore real-world problems in the field of education and matters relating to Australia's Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population. Azhar has a strong understanding of, and experience in using, empirical research methods to evaluate programs and administrative data. He has developed an extensive aptitude for designing and implementing experimental studies in field and lab settings alike, as well as using sound econometric analysis techniques to evaluate the outcomes of such experiments. Azhar completed his Ph.D. from the Queensland University of Technology in 2019, and his research was aimed at assessing the framing effects of different incentive structures and student commitments on educational outcomes of Indigenous Australian high school students.
Prior to his Ph.D. work, Azhar spent an extended period living and working in remote Indigenous communities on Queensland's Cape York where he designed and implemented financial literacy programs for the benefit of socially-disadvantaged residents. This experience was a key driving factor in his decision to study and address real-world issues. Azhar is particularly passionate about bridging the gap between academic research and industry. For a social organisation working on matters affecting disadvantaged people in the real world, incorporating a strategic research component into their work is crucial in his eyes and he strives to develop such collaborative links and networks.