GFS Researcher in Focus – August 2015: Dr Adam Loch

AL_blogEach month we will be asking one of our researchers to provide an insight into their research.

This month Dr Adam Loch, a Discovery Early Career Research Fellow, is our Researcher In Focus.

Adam, what is the main aim of your research?
I’m interested in a range of topics that span economic mechanisms for and drivers of water trade, farmer adaptation to climate change and water scarcity pressures, environmental water trade-offs and comparative studies with other countries (e.g. Spain at present). My major focus at present is my DECRA work on the transaction costs of water reform in the Murray-Darling Basin. These are things like searching for appropriate ideas or programs, negotiating across stakeholders, monitoring outcomes and possibly changing the whole set of arrangements in future. We usually don’t account for these things or keep track of them, so it’s very interesting to see what emerges from the data as we go along.

What type of research do you do (e.g., field work)?
Mostly my work relies on primary data which we often collect in the field. I’ve done interviews, focus groups and experiments in the past, and face-to-face, online and telephone surveys as well. Actually we are just about to do another survey with irrigators to build on our previous data collections.

Tell us about your PhD topic
I looked at the drivers of water allocation (temporary) trades in the southern Murray-Darling Basin both within and across seasons; which had never been done before obviously. There were some interesting and novel drivers at play during the Millennium Drought (1998-2010) which was the context for my thesis, so the findings were interesting (well, to my examiners at least, thank God!)

What is your favourite part of being a researcher?
I love the interaction with colleagues, industry and government to develop something that (hopefully) has an impact of sorts. Even if it just gets people talking or disagreeing with me. I also really like publishing.

What is the hardest part of being a researcher?
Rejection! I really hate it when a paper gets turned down (like everyone else), but in my experience that has also usually come with very useful suggestions about how to make it better and try again. Doing the same for others through my own reviews of work can be challenging too, but I always try to do that if possible.

What advice would you give to other aspiring researchers?
Persevere. And always ask for help if needed.

I am lucky to work with a brilliant group of researchers, who in turn have now joined a bigger group of brilliant researchers.

They help me enormously but I still have to keep working toward outputs, which is not always easy.

Thanks Adam for being August’s GFS Researcher In Focus!

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