Dr Rini Astuti

Research Fellow, Australian National Centre for the Public Awareness of Science
College of Science

In 2023, Rini joined CPAS as a Research Fellow for the ANU – UNESCO Chair on Science Communications for the Public Good. Her research focuses on operationalizing social science theory in studies of climate and environmental change, drawing upon human geography, political ecology, STS, and development studies, and is grounded empirically in Southeast Asia, particularly Indonesia. Her previous research delved into how place-based discourses, politics, and actor agencies substantively reshape how neoliberal climate and environmental projects unfold in Southeast Asia, such as carbon offset through REDD+ and peatland restoration projects.

Before joining CPAS, Rini worked as an academic in the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies in Nanyang Technological University, National University of Singapore, and ANU - Crawford School of Public Policy. She received the 2019 APEC Women Scientist Fellowship, recognizing her contributions as a high-achieving female researcher in Asia Pacific Economic Countries. 

From 2021 – 2022, Rini led a work package as one of the chief investigators for a British Academy-funded project on the just transition in the Asia Pacific, investigating the barriers and opportunities associated with rural communities’ roles and aspirations in realizing just and inclusive decarbonization in the context of Indonesia’s rapidly changing agricultural sector. 

Rini’s transdisciplinary work successfully collaborates with civil society sectors, government bodies, and authors from different disciplinary backgrounds. She is a member of the Indonesia - KAVLI Frontiers of Science fellowship, organized by the Indonesian Academy of Sciences and the United States National Academy of Sciences, which acknowledges Indonesia’s young scholars’ contributions to interdisciplinary knowledge and collaboration.



Research interests

  • As a Research Fellow for the ANU - UNESCO Chair on Science for the Public Good, my primary focus is on conceptualizing and investigating transformative development in the context of a changing climate. Through case studies in Indonesia and Australia, I aim to explore how we can place social equity issues at the heart of climate change and development discussions. Some of the topics I plan to investigate include: 

  • Inclusive knowledge systems in transformative change. Under this theme, my research will examine the diverse knowledge systems that can help drive transformative change. 
  • Energy transition and climate anticipatory governance. My work in this area will focus on the social-ecological implications of clean energy transitions, using a case study of critical minerals such as nickel and the emerging electric vehicle battery sector in Indonesia. I will particularly explore the impact of these transitions on communities living in mineral-rich landscapes. 
  • Social equity in emerging carbon governance. Research under this theme will analyse how emerging forms of carbon governance incorporate social equity issues into their design and implementation.