Cynthia Coyne

Cynthia Coyne

Industry PhD Student

Industry PhD project title:

Off-grid Indigenous community microgrids

RACE University and Industry partners:

Griffith University, Horizon Power and Western Power

Previous education:

  • Master of Environmental Management (Cultural and Natural Resource Management)
  • Bachelor of Environmental Science (Cultural and Natural Resource Management)
  • Bachelor of Fine Arts (Honours)
  • Batchelor of Arts (Anthropology)


Work background:

Over the previous five years I have had the opportunity to work on a part time basis as a Communications, Extension and Adoption Leader on FRDC Tropical Rock Oyster Research Project; Candidate Liaison Officer supporting Indigenous postgraduate students at Batchelor Institute of Tertiary Education; Research Associate on a Wild Rice and Livelihoods Project at Charles Darwin University.  I have also worked as and graduate and undergraduate Environmental Scientist with GHD Engineering Consultants in Darwin on a variety of environmental and stakeholder engagement projects.  Prior to this, I also had the opportunity to work in the land and sea management units for the Kimberley and Northern Land Councils as a Women’s Ranger Project Coordinator and Land Management Coordinator on remote Indigenous estates in the Northern Territory and West Kimberley regions.

What attracted you to the RACE Industry PhD?

There are a number of reasons that attracted me to the RACE Industry PhD.  I considered that the project topic is contemporary and relevant to contributing toward environmental sustainability in Australia, the empowerment of place-based Indigenous communities in terms of decision-making and access to benefit sharing.  I also considered that the connection of this research to Industry to be attractive in terms of future access to industry resources to complete the research, and that my contribution will also be of benefit to Industry.  Last but not least, I also found the RACE Industry PhD attractive due to the new networks and connections formed with Industry, Griffith University and Curtin University for current and future pathways.


When you were young, what did you want to be when you were older?

Growing up in Darwin with a high Indigenous population I always had a desire to gain employment relating to supporting and or working in an Indigenous based industry.

What do you hope to achieve?

I hope to be able to contribute significantly to current applied research that supports environmental sustainability in Australia, Indigenous empowerment and benefit sharing and Industry engagement with their stakeholders.

What are you most looking forward to?

This is a hard question and looking forward to all the opportunities available through this PhD program.  To break it down I am looking forward to learning, making new networks, being at Griffith University and undertaking fieldwork activities with Indigenous community’s northwest of Western Australia.

What innovation/change would you like to see in 5-10 years’ time?

I would like to see that an appropriate and workable stakeholder engagement model is in place that supports Indigenous people, government and industry to engage and benefit share that reaches a united goal of environmental sustainability.

Fun fact about you

One thing I cannot live without in the smouldering heat of monsoon Darwin is an air conditioner.

Favourite quote:

“We must respect each other’s right to choose a collective destiny, and the opportunity to develop the legal and political rights for Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples so that we may enjoy the right to maintain our culture, our heritage and our land, as a united Australia.” Jackie Huggins,