Brendan is a research fellow with the Global Compact Cities Programme. As a social scientist, his professional experience spans the breadth of research, online education and communication in the areas of urban and sustainability science.
Brendan is undertaking research on (1) local energy transitions in a carbon-constrained world and (2) ethical cities.
His past research interests include local and urban environmental management, decentralization, environmental governance, environmental assessment, climate change, energy security, ecological modernisation, environmental attitudes and values, environmental information networks, environmental education, science communication.
Brendan is editor of the United Nations University‘s online magazine Our World. He has written over 70 articles for the magazine. These articles have been syndicated in the Guardian, Al Jazeera online, the Solutions Journal and Resilience online magazine.
His research related publications can be viewed on Research Gate.
Citations of his works can be viewed via Google Scholar.
Major funded projects
- Cleaning up the radioactive contamination of Fukushima. Funded by the Japanese Ministry of the Environment (US$100,000).
- Traditional knowledge and climate science. Funded by the UNU-IAS Traditional Knowledge Initiative (US$61,000).
- Climate change adaptation in Ghana. Funded by the University of Tokyo (US$47,000).
- Satoumi – Coastal Communities in Japan. Funded by the UNU-IAS Ishikawa Operating Unit (US$53,400).
- Urban biodiversity in Kanazawa. Funded by Kanazawa City Government (US$27,563).
- Forest policy and economics in the Western Balkans: Funded by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Finland (US$40,000).
- The Wisdom Years: Coping with an ageing society in urban Japan. Funded by the World Health Organisation and UNU (US$100,000).
- Voices of the Chichinautzin: Conservation of the biological corridor between Mexico City and Cuernavaca. Funded by the UNU (US$100,000).
- Saving the Ayuquila River: Community and scientist collaboration to overcome the significant environmental challenges facing this important water resource. Funded by the UNU ($50,000).
- Global Virtual University – connecting universities in Norway and Africa in the field of development management. Funded by the Government of Norway (US$3 million).
- Iwate Environment Network – online education on local environmental issues. Funded by Nippon Telegraph and Telephone (US$1 million).
Brendan is a research fellow providing urban expertise to the Global Compact Cities Programme at RMIT University. This involves supporting and coordinating urban research and knowledge across participant cities in promotion and adoption of the ten UN Global Compact principles.
Located in the Global Cities Research Institute, and with a substantive position in the School of Global, Urban and Social Studies, he liaises directly with the cities through the provision of advice, collation of exemplary urban practice and building of networks and partnerships; and through the research and development of support products, services and tools.
Brendan also networks with academic and professional colleagues to draw together urban resources and expertise from across RMIT and the Programme’s international partners.
Prior to joining RMIT University, Brendan worked with the United Nations University in Japan. He as a background in urban and environmental planning in Europe and Japan, and has written extensively on environmental impact assessment, national and local environmental policy-making, as well as on ecological modernisation.
Brendan teaches a semester-based course on Climate, Energy and Food Security (2003 onwards) as part of the Asia Pacific Initiative, an online course module on Environmental Impact Assessment (2009 onwards) as part of the Masters in Development Management at the University of Agder and a course on Science Communication (2014 onwards) as part of the UNU Masters in Sustainability.
In the past he taught courses on environmental politics at Aoyama Gakuin University (2002 to 2004) and on environmental governance at Saitama University (2009).
He holds visiting faculty positions at the United Nations University Institute for the Advanced Study of Sustainability based in Tokyo, at the Integrated Research System for Sustainability Science in the University of Tokyo, and in the Department of Global Development and Planning at University of Agder, Norway.
Honours, fellowships and grants
- 1986: Research Fellowship award to undertake research at Kyoto University from the Japan Ministry of Education, Sports and Science
- 1994: Canon Europe Foundation Visiting Research Fellowship, Kyoto University, Economic Research Institute
- 1996: Ph.D. Fellowship to the United Nations University, Institute of Advanced Studies Tokyo, Japan
- 1997 Doctor of Philosophy
Oxford Brookes University, Department of Planning, Faculty of Technology, Design and Environment
Dissertation title: Local Agenda 21 and Environmental Management in Japan and the United Kingdom – From Fragmentation to Integration
Case studies included Lancashire County Council and Kirklees Metropolitan Council in the UK and Osaka Prefecture and Osaka City in Japan.
- 1983 Bachelor of Science with Honours (Upper Second): Town and Country Planning, Heriot-Watt University, School of the Built Environment
Thesis title: Socio-Economic Impact Assessment of the Closure of the Invergordon Aluminium Smelter in Scotland
- 1997– 2015: United Nations University, Tokyo, Japan
- Head of Communications (Oct 2010 to March 2015)
- Academic Programme Officer and Head of Online Learning (Nov 2002 to Oct 2010)
- Founder of the UNU Media Studio in 2003
- Research Fellow at UNU-IAS (from Jun 2000 to Nov 2002)
- Research Associate (Oct 1997 to Jun 2000)
- 1995 - 1996 United Nations Environment Programme, International Environmental Technology Centre
- Programme Officer
- 1992 - 1994 Ove Arup and Partners, London, England
- Senior Environmental Planner
- April 1991 - Nov 1991 Cobham Resource Consultants, Oxford, England
- Environmental Planner
- June 1989 - Mar 1991 International Lake Environment Committee, Shiga Prefecture, Japan
- Editor and Researcher (part-time) (post held concurrently)
- May 1989 - Mar 1991 Access Research Firm, Osaka, Japan
- Environmental Consultant (part-time) (post held concurrently)
- Jan 1984 - Oct 1986 Power Station Impacts Assessment Unit, Oxford, England
- Research Associate
- 2015- Visiting researcher at UNU-IAS, Tokyo
- 2013- Visiting Associate Professor, University of Tokyo, Integrated Research System for Sustainability Science
- 2011-2012 Peer reviewer of the IPCC 5th Assessment Report
- 2009- Visiting Associate Professor, Centre for Development Studies, University of Adger, Norway
- 2006- Member of the IUCN Commission on Education and Communication (http://www.iucn.org/about/union/commissions/cec/)
- 2001-2007 Member of the Editorial Advisory Board for the Journal of Services Research
- 1999-2005 International Advisory Editor for the Australian Journal of Environmental Education
- 1998-1999 Member of the Advisory Panel for the Preparation of the Iwate Prefectural Government Basic Environment Plan
- 1997 Seconded to the Secretariat of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change for the Third Conference of the Parties held in Kyoto, Japan, December 1997
- 1986-1989 Visiting Researcher, Kyoto University
- 1987-2005 Member of the Royal Town Planning Institute, England
- Barrett, B.,Horne, R. (2017). Local energy plans for transitions to a low carbon future In: Planning After Petroleum: Preparing Cities for the Age Beyond Oil, Routledge, New York, United States
- Barrett, B.,Notaras, M.,Smith, C. (2014). Communicating scientific research through the web and social media: Experience of the United Nations University with the Our World 2.0 web magazine In: Geoscience Research and Outreach: Schools and Public Engagement - Innovations in Science Education and Technology Volume 21, Springer, Netherlands
- Barrett, B.,Higa, C.,Ellis, R. (2012). Emerging university student experiences of learning technologies across the Asia Pacific In: Computers and Education, 58, 1021 - 1027
- Ellis, R.,Barrett, B.,Higa, C.,Bliuc, A. (2011). Student experiences of learning technologies in the Asia Pacific region In: Asia-Pacific Education Researcher, 20, 103 - 117
1 PhD Current Supervisions