Dr Megan Evans

Research Fellow

School of Earth and Environmental Sciences
Faculty of Science


My research seeks to understand and inform the design, implementation and governance of environmental policy instruments. I have a particular interest in the use of market-based instruments for biodiversity conservation and climate change mitigation and adaptation. I have a diverse background, including undergraduate degrees in mathematics and ecology, a PhD in public policy, and direct experience with policymaking. I sit on the editorial boards of Conservation Letters and Conservation Biology.

I am Research Fellow in the Centre for Biodiversity and Conservation Science at the University of Queensland. I am also affiliated with the UQ Centre for Policy Futures, and I am Principal Scientist in the Land Restoration Fund Unit, Department of Environment and Science, Queensland Government.

From 2016 to 2018 I was a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at School of Earth and Environmental Sciences, the University of Queensland, working with the National Environmental Science Program – Threatened Species Recovery Hub (NESP TSR). In 2017 I completed my PhD at the Fenner School of Environment and Society at the Australian National University, where I investigated the challenges and complexities associated with conservation policy in Australia using an interdisciplinary, mixed methods approach. Previously, I was the inaugural Science Policy Intern at the Australian Academy of Science, and also worked with the Australian Government's Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities on the EPBC Act Environmental Offsets Policy (2012).

In 2018 I was awarded the UQ Faculty of Science 2018 Rising Star – Academic award (selected from 29 nominations). The award recognises individuals who demonstrate excellence and future potential in research, teaching, academic or professional service, or driving positive workplace culture.

Research Interests

  • Public policy
  • Environmental markets, regulation and governance
  • Science-policy interface
  • Interdisciplinary research

Research Impacts

  • My research on biodiversity offset policy has directly informed Australian and international policy. Together with colleagues Professor Martine Maron, Professor Hugh Possingham and others, our collaborative work translated into the Australian Government’s Offset Assessment Guide in 2012. This work subsequently informed the IUCN Biodiversity Offsets Policy (2016), the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) Land Degradation Neutrality Conceptual Framework (2017), and the New Zealand Biodiversity Offsets Accounting System (2015).
  • My paper on how early-career researchers (ECRs) can achieve policy impact (Evans and Cvitanovic, 2018) was featured in several blogs and online news outlets, including a Nature News career feature. This paper is the top-rated contribution in Palgrave Communications on Altmetric (score of 568).
  • My work on the economics of land-based carbon offsets (aka carbon farming, Evans et al. 2015) informed the establishment of the Queensland Government’s AUD 500 million Land Restoration Fund.
  • My research on deforestation was featured in the 2016 Australian State of the Environment Report. You can download the data here and here.
  • My work with colleagues from CSIRO has directly informed the Australian Department of the Environment's risk-based approach for prioritising monitoring and compliance efforts
  • My Honours research on threats to Australian species was featured in the 2011 Australian State of the Environment Report.


  • Doctor of Philosophy, Australian National University
  • Bachelor of Science with Honours Class 1, The University of Queensland
  • Bachelor of Arts, The University of Queensland
  • Bachelor of Science, The University of Queensland


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Journal Article

Conference Publication

  • Watson, James E. M., Evans, Megan C., Carwardine, Josie, Fuller, Richard A., Joseph, Liana N., Segan, Dan B., Taylor, Martin F. J., Fensham, R. J. and Possingham, Hugh P. (2011) The capacity of Australia's protected-area system to represent threatened species. Conservation Biology, 25 2: 324-332. doi:10.1111/j.1523-1739.2010.01587.x

Other Outputs

  • Ritchie, Euan, Nimmo, Dale, Driscoll, Don, Heard, Geoffrey, Watson, James, Evans, Megan C. and Doherty, Tim (2017, October 12). Australia’s species need an independent champion. The Conversation, .

Grants (Administered at UQ)