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Director, Northern Institute, Charles Darwin University

Professor Ruth Wallace is the Director of the Northern Institute. Ruth leads the Workforce Development, Migration and Pathways to Learning theme which focuses on collaborative approaches to workforce development and engagement with community, governments and industry that are sustainable and scalable. Ruth is the former ‘Secure Futures’ Program Leader for the Plant Biosecurity Cooperative Research Centre, with a focus on building resilience through community engagement and collaborative knowledge and management systems for biosecurity surveillance. In February 2016, Ruth became the first female Australian researcher to be awarded a Fulbright Distinguished Chair in Agriculture and Life Sciences (sponsored by Kansas State University).

Research Interests

Ruth has a strong relationship and working history with Vocational Education and Training – across regional and remote WA, QLD and NT in VET. Her PhD focuses on the needs of learners in regional areas in relation to education and education systems. Her research interests relate to the links between identity, marginalised learners and the development of effective learning and workforce pathways. This work is situated in regional and remote areas of Northern Australia, and undertaken with Aboriginal people in remote and regional areas. Ruth’s research connects to mobile learning pedagogies, literacy and numeracy learning and approaches to workforce development in remote enterprises.

Her areas of expertise include:

Workforce development in regional and marginalised areas
Policy implementation in regional areas
Regional development and growth in remote areas
Mobile end technology based learning
Learning identity
Aboriginal enterprise development in remote areas
Regional development and governance in Northern Australia and neighbouring regions
Marginalised learners and access to knowledge systems
Community engagement


  • –present
    Director, Northern Institute, Charles Darwin University