Mark has a PhD in social science and a degree in civil engineering. He has worked in a range of international development contexts, includingPapua New Guinea, China Timor Leste, Bolivia, Lesotho, and Fiji, and in remote Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities in Queensland and the Norther Territory. His research interests include the PNG Australia borderland, aid effectiveness, appropriate technology, political economy of governance, public finance management and community-driven development. His teaching is focused on online learning modes to build the capabilities of frontline development workers, through Massive Online Open Courses (MOOCs) and Australia’s first MicroMasters of Leadership in Global Development.
His research interests are focused on the science of development effectiveness, toward forging new collaborations between academia and development practice. He was awarded a Winston Churchill Fellowship in 1997 and a Dean's Commendation for Outstanding Research Higher Degree Thesis in 2006.
His two books 'Serious Whitefella Stuff: When Solutions Became the Problem in Indigenous Affairs', and 'Too Close to Ignore: Australia's Borderland with PNG and Indonesia' were publised by Melbourne University Press. His writing has also appeared in the Griffith Review, The Conversation and The Australian.