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Associate Professor, School of Engineering and Built Environment, and Director, Engagement (Industry), Griffith University

Associate Professor Cheryl Desha is the Engagement Director (Industry) for the School of Engineering and Built Environment, Griffith University (Brisbane, Australia). She is also Theme Leader for the "Digital Earth and Resilient Infrastructure" research agenda, Cities Research Institute (CRI).

Cheryl’s career goal is to help empower society with the language, knowledge and skills needed to thrive in the face of 21st Century challenges and opportunities. She has been focusing her efforts over the last several years to work with industry partner Q1 Design and colleagues in Australia and overseas, creating novel spaces for remote and immersive collaboration that enable high-trust collaboration anywhere, any time. This complements and draws on her research efforts into building capacity for resilient and liveable cities, spanning research and PhD supervision in scenario planning, resilient infrastructure, biomimicry (innovation inspired by nature), biophilic urbanism (nature-loving cities), lean and green thinking, decoupling and sustainable business practice.

Cheryl’s engagement role within the School Executive builds on fifteen years of academic practice and most recently two years of industry-led curriculum development, establishing the Civil Engineering program on Griffith University's Brisbane (Nathan) campus. It has also enabled her University contribution as the User Coordinator - Academic for Griffith’s newest AUD$70 million building ‘N79: Engineering Technology and Aviation’.

Over the last two decades and including with the team from The Natural Edge Project, she has co-authored more than 100 publications including 7 books, 2 of which have been listed in the top 40 publications by the Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership. With Associate Professor Sacha Reid, Cheryl most recently co-led the "Trackless Trams" Townsville Case Study with the Sustainable Built Environment National Research Centre (led by Professor Peter Newman, Curtin University) having previously co-led three core ‘Greening the Built Environment’ projects. In 2013 she led a 6-university $460,000 consortium to develop innovative energy efficiency capacity building resources for engineering.


  • 2018–present
    Director, Engagement (Industry), Griffith University
  • 2016–2018
    Head of Civil Engineering (Nathan Campus), Griffith University
  • 2012–2016
    Discipline Leader (Environmental Systems), Queensland University of Technology
  • 2011–2012
    Lecturer in Sustainable Development, Queensland University of Technology
  • 2005–2010
    Lecturer in Sustainable Development, Griffith University


  • 2014 
    Queensland University of Technology, Graduate Certificate in Academic Practice
  • 2010 
    Griffith University, PhD (Rapid Capacity Building)
  • 1999 
    Griffith University, Bachelor of Engineering (Environmental)

Professional Memberships

  • Surveying & Spatial Sciences Institute (SSSI)
  • Institution of Engineers Australia (Chartered)
  • International Society of Digital Earth

Research Areas

  • History And Theory Of The Built Environment (Excl. Architecture) (120502)
  • Community Planning (120501)
  • Environmental Technologies (090703)
  • Environmental Engineering Design (090701)