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Research Fellow, The University of Queensland

Dr David Jefferson is a Research Fellow with the 'Harnessing Intellectual Property to Build Food Security' ARC Laureate Project and an Associate Postdoctoral Researcher with the ARC Industrial Transformation Training Centre for Uniquely Australian Foods at The University of Queensland. His research centres on the intersection of intellectual property and related legal regimes on agricultural and food systems. David has several current projects. One area of work focuses on issues related to the governance of native genetic resources that are relevant to the development of uniquely Australian foods. Another line of inquiry that David is pursuing relates to re-imagining systems of intellectual property for plants in ways that would be more 'ecological', by integrating with novel legal concepts such as the rights of nature. Finally, David is studying the impact of the institutionalisation of the notion of food sovereignty on domestic laws for the ownership and circulation of seeds. David's primary research sites are in Australia and Latin America.

David holds a PhD from The University of Queensland School of Law, a Juris Doctorate (JD) degree from the University of California, and a Masters of Arts in Community Psychology from Suffolk University. He is licensed to practice law before the State Bar of California, USA. David has engaged in legal research and practice in the areas of intellectual property, agriculture, genetic resources governance, and biotechnology for numerous years, including as a member of the Public Intellectual Property Resource for Agriculture (PIPRA) (USA) and in collaboration with the UC Davis Chile Life Sciences Innovation Center (Chile) and the Northwest Center for Biological Research (Mexico).

In 2016, David received a United States Fulbright Fellowship to study the making of a new intellectual property law in Ecuador.


  • –present
    Research Fellow, The University of Queensland


  • 2019 
    University of Queensland, PhD
  • 2014 
    Universitiy of California, Davis, JD
  • 2010 
    Suffolk University, MA, Psychology

Professional Memberships

  • State Bar of California