Dr Mike Bourke

Adjunct Senior Fellow
School of Culture, History & Language

Dr R.M. (‘Mike’) Bourke is an agricultural scientist and geographer and is a specialist in Papua New Guinea agriculture. He has been continuously involved in research, consulting, training, and development in PNG and other Pacific Island nations since 1970 and lived in PNG for 13 years. He is a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Agriculture and was appointed in 2015 as an Officer of the Order of Logohu by Papua New Guinea for services to PNG agriculture. 

He has conducted fieldwork in all rural districts of PNG. He has expertise in many aspects of rural livelihoods, agricultural production, land use and food security in PNG. Mike has published extensively on PNG agriculture and related topics. He edited and wrote much of the definitive book Food and Agriculture in Papua New Guinea. He remains engaged on PNG projects and working with colleagues there as well as in Australia and elsewhere on PNG matters.

Career highlights

Agronomist (later Senior Agronomist), PNG Department of Primary Industry (1970-77); Principal Research Horticulturalist, PNG Department of Primary Industry (1978-83); Postgraduate Student, ANU (1983-88); Visiting Fellow (and later Adjunct Senior Fellow), Department of Human Geography, ANU (1989-2009); Adjunct Senior Fellow, State, Society and Governance Program, ANU (2010-2013); Honorary Associate Professor, College of Asia and the Pacific, ANU (2014-present); Self-employed consultant (1988-2008).

Research interests

Village agriculture in Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands and Vanuatu; relationship between environment, crops and people; intensification of land use; sustainability of agriculture; responses to food shortages; rural poverty; rural development, root crop agronomy.