Steering Committee of the ACIAR SDIP program


Wais Kabir

Agricultural Research Management Professional and Executive Director of the Krishi Gobeshona Foundation (KGF). Dr Kabir has served as the Chairman of the Bangladesh Agricultural Research Council (BARC), and Director of the SAARC Agriculture Centre.


Farah Kabir

Ms Farah Kabir is the Country Director of ActionAid in Bangladesh. She has over 19 years’ experience in the field of development and research. She has taken up new initiatives for communities and women’s leadership through ActionAid. She is a fellow of the Advocacy Institute, USA and a member of the CSEF Funding Committee of the Board. She was invited by DFAT to the SDIP Annual Dialogue to talk about effective engagement of women in the three major river basins of South Asia.


Madhav Belbase

Mr Madhav Belbase is a Joint Secretary and is presently working as a chief of the Water Resources Division at the Water and Energy Commission Secretariat, a government organization and apex body for planning and policy formulation in the Water and Energy sector of Nepal. His present responsibilities include preparation of National Water Resources Policy, Water Resources Legislation, Basin Plans for all the rivers of Nepal and other studies related to water resources management in the country.

Mr Belbase has more than 30 years’ experience in the field of irrigation and water resources planning and development in Nepal. Under his leadership a number of policy and institutional reforms were accomplished in the irrigation sector, including drafting an Irrigation Bill and restructuring the Department of Irrigation. Mr Belbase is also a member of the Nepal-Australia Joint Advisory Committee on Water Resources Management.


Dr Aditi Mukherji

Dr Mukherji is a Principal Researcher at the International Water Management Institute. She was earlier the Theme Leader, Water and Air at the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD) and is based in Kathmandu, Nepal. She has over 18 years’ experience working on policies and institutions of water resources management with a special focus on the water-energy-food nexus. She has worked in South Asia, the Nile Basin and in Central Asia and is currently working in the Hindu Kush Himalayan region.

In 2012, Dr Mukherji was awarded the Inaugural Norman Borlaug Award for Field Research and Application, endowed by the Rockefeller Foundation and given by the World Food Prize Foundation, USA. She is a Member of the Global Forest Expert Panel on Forests and Water set up by the International Union for Forest Research Organization, Vienna and contributed to a comprehensive assessment report of Water and Forests.  She is currently a part of the 6th Assessment Report team of the IPCC and will contribute as a Coordinating Lead Author of the Water Chapter in the Working Group II on Adaptation and Vulnerability and as a Review Editor of the High Mountains Chapter of the Special Report on Cryosphere and Oceans in a Changing Climate.


Dr Hari Krishna Upadhyaya

Dr Upadhyaya is the Chairman/CEO of The Center for Environmental and Agricultural Policy Research, Extension and Development (CEAPRED) which is one of the most well recognized NGOs in Nepal. He has worked with FAO and ADB on pro-poor policy programs. He was a member of the Planning Commission, Nepal where he developed the National Agriculture Policy. He has a doctoral degree in Economics from the University of the Philippines at Los Banos.


Professor Ramesh Chand

Prof Ramesh Chand is currently a Member of NITI Aayog in the rank and status of Union Minister of State. Professor Chand has more than 30 years’ experience in research and teaching in the field of agricultural economics and policy. Prior to joining NITI Aayog, he was Director of the National Institute of Agricultural Economics and Policy Research, New Delhi. 


Dr P K Joshi

Dr P K  Joshi is the Ex-Director for IFPRI South Asia. His areas of research include technology policy, market, and institutional economics.


Dr Bhaskar Mittra

Dr Bhaskar Mittra teaches at the Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS) and is the Associate Director of the Tata-Cornell Institute for Agriculture and Nutrition (TCI). Apart from teaching various courses at TISS, he is responsible for managing India-based operations for TCI. He is the TISS Representative to the Technical Assistance and Research for Indian Nutrition and Agriculture (TARINA) Steering Committee.

Dr Mittra’s work focuses on a range of topics such as poverty and livelihoods, agriculture development, natural resource management, institutions (market-based and community-led), community-based natural resource conservation, and public policy. He has published extensively on institutional, economic, and ecological aspects of communities living in some of the most marginalized and poorest regions in India. He is closely associated with several well-known civil society organizations working at the grassroots level across India.


Professor Saraswati Raju

Professor Saraswati Raju is a former Professor in Social Geography at the Centre for the Study of Regional Development, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi. She has pioneered gender research in India for over three decades. She was a visiting Guest Professor at the Ruprecht Karls University, Heidelberg, Germany. In 2013, she was awarded a fellowship under the ‘Thinker in Residence Program’ at the Alfred Deakin Research Institute (ADRI), Deakin University, Australia. In 2007, she received the Vice Chancellor’s Visiting Award for Distinguished Professors at the Australian National University, Australia. She has published scores of books and papers on the role of women in the economy. 


Dr Vikas Goswami

Dr Goswami is an independent consultant. She provides leadership and direction for the sustainability programmes and initiatives of the corporate sector. At Godrej Agrovet, she held the responsibility for managing remote international teams tasked with the responsibility of developing innovations that reduce carbon footprints. Her focus is on creating programmes and initiatives to improve the health and well-being of rural- and urban-based citizens through waste recycling, smart agriculture, energy conservation, nutritional security and animal husbandry. She has done her doctoral studies from Delhi University, a Masters from University of Wales and a degree in Sustainability study from Harvard University.


Dr Suvarna Chandrappagari

Dr Chandrappagari is the Chief Executive of the National Fisheries Development Board. She has a doctorate in Rural Development and was a Hubert H Humphrey (Fulbright) Fellow (2005-2006) in Cornell University, USA. She has immense experience of working with state governments in Andhra Pradesh and Telengana in the Forest and Rural Development Departments with a focus on community based natural resource management and equity issues. She has published papers on natural resource management-based subjects in national and international journals. She is a serving as  Member of Committee on Water Education (COWE) constituted by Ministry of Drinking water & Sanitation, Government of India, and Member, Project advisory committee for the project “Climate change conflicts and cooperation in Peri-urban South Asia: toward resilience and water secure communities”, Wageningen university, Netherlands & SaciWATERS.


Prof Andrew Campbell, CEO, ACIAR

Andrew Campbell commenced his five-year term as the CEO of ACIAR on 31 July, 2016. Professor Campbell has played influential roles in sustainable agriculture and natural resource management in Australia for 30 years. He has considerable research leadership experience, notably as Executive Director of Land & Water Australia from 2000-2006 and Managing Director of Triple Helix Consulting from 2007-10.  He has also held senior policy roles in land, water and biodiversity management as a senior executive in the Australian Government environment portfolio. Andrew was instrumental in the development of Landcare, working with the National Farmers’ Federation and the Australian Conservation Foundation to develop the proposal that catalysed the Decade of Landcare.  

Professor Campbell trained in forestry at Creswick and the University of Melbourne and rural sociology at Wageningen University in The Netherlands.  He has written more than 100 publications and blogs on landcare, sustainability (food, water, energy and climate) and knowledge management.  


Dr Robyn Johnston, ACIAR

Dr Robyn Johnston is the Research Program Manager for the Water and Climate Research Program at ACIAR. Dr Johnston joined ACIAR in November 2017, coming from IWMI in Myanmar. Before joining ACIAR in 2017, she was a Principal Researcher with the International Water Management Institute, including three years as the IWMI Representative in Myanmar.  

Dr Johnston has previously worked with the Murray-Darling Basin Commission and the Mekong River Commission; as Environment Advisor for AusAID; and with the Bureau of Rural Sciences and Geoscience Australia, working on science and policy of land and water management. She holds a BSc (Honours) from Australian National University; MSc (Geochemistry) from University of Leeds; and a PhD from the University of New England.


Dr Eric Huttner, ACIAR

Dr Huttner is the Research Program Manager for Crops. The program aims to increase productivity, sustainability and utilisation of major crops and cropping systems of mutual importance to Australia and developing countries in our region.
Dr Huttner has worked in a range of private companies throughout his career, including founding a start-up genetic analysis service company in Canberra where he was producing high-density and low-cost genetic data for plant breeders and plant scientists worldwide.

Dr Huttner has been involved in managing public-private research initiatives in both Australia and France. He was responsible for creating a research laboratory at the Australian National University for Groupe Limagrain, a France-based multinational seed company, and was a director of Gene Shears, a biotechnology company established by Limagrain and the CSIRO. During this time he established collaborative research projects with CSIRO and several Australian universities. In France, he was a key member of the team running Genoplante, a plant genomics initiative supported by the French government and most French seed companies.
Dr Huttner was a founding partner and director of Australia’s Cooperative Research Centre for Plant Science and has also been a valuable member of the Australian Biotechnology Advisory Council.