Short CV/Education and training

South Africa

  • 1996 – 2000
    Senior Researcher, Institute for Water Research (IWR), Rhodes University, Grahamstown

  • 2000 – 2004
    Director, Unilever Centre for Environmental Water Quality (UCEWQ) within the Institute for Water Research

  • 2001 – 2004
    Associate Professor, Institute for Water Research (IWR), Rhodes University, Grahamstown

  • 2009 – 2010
    Executive Director: Applied Research and Innovation; National Research Foundation, South Africa (Progammes: THRIP, SANHARP, Akili Complexity and Integration)

  • Since 2011
    Professor and Director, Unilever Centre for Environmental Water Quality, Institute for Water Research, Rhodes University


  • 2005 – 2008
    Professor of Water Resources; Director, Institute for Water and Environmental Resource Management (IWERM); and Director, Centre for Ecotoxicology, University of Technology Sydney (UTS)

Selected publications

  • *PALMER CG, BIGGS R AND CUMMING G (2015) Applied research for enhancing human well-being and environmental stewardship: Using complexity thinking in southern Africa. Ecology and Society 20 (1) Special feature – guest editorial

  • *GORDON AK, GRIFFIN NJ AND PALMER CG (2015) The relationship between concurrently measured SASS (South African Scoring System) and turbidity data archived in the South African River Health Programme’s Rivers Database. Water S.A. 41(1):21.

  • *ODUME ON, PALMER CG, ARIMORO FO AND MENSAH PK (2014) Patterns of chironomid body-size distribution in an effluent-impacted river in the Eastern Cape, South Africa. African Journal of Aquatic Science 39 (4)

  • *ROGERS K, LUTON R, BIGGS H, BIGGS R, BLIGNAUT S, CHOLES A, PALMER C AND TANGWE P (2013) Fostering complexity thinking in action research for change in complex social-ecological systems. Ecology and Society 18(2)

  • *PHYU YL, PALMER CG, WARNE M ST.J, DOWSE R, MUELLER S, CHAPMAN J, HOSE GC AND LIM RP (2013) Assessing the Chronic Toxicity of Atrazine, Permethrin, and Chlorothalonil to the Cladoceran Ceriodaphnia cf. Dubia in Laboratory and Natural River Water Archives of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology 64(3): 419-426

  • *DOWSE R, TANG D, PALMER CG AND KEFFORD BJ (2013) Risk assessment using the species sensitivity distribution method: data quality vs. data quantity. Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry 32 (6): 1360-1369

  • *ODUME ON, MULLER WJ, PALMER CG AND ARIMORO FO (2012) Mentum deformities in Chironomidae communities as indicators of anthropogenic impacts in Swartkops River. Physics and Chemistry of the Earth 50-52: 140-148.

Selected projects

Projects undertaken in Australia included:

  • Lead Chief investigator of a UTS internally funded project on applying transdisciplinary methods to resolving challenges arising in integrated catchment management (AUD$50K).

  • Lead Chief investigator of a UTS internally funded project: A social-ecological resilience project to reduce the risk of pesticide toxicity in NSW rivers, using the Hawkesbury Nepean (H-N) River as a case-study (AUD$50K).

  • Chief investigator on a UTS internally funded project on bio-physical modelling within Sydney harbour (AUD$50K).

  • Lead Chief Investigator on an Australian Research Council competitive Linkage grant (AUD$400K) to investigate the ecologically realistic effects of the use of pesticides on aquatic organisms from the Hawkesbury–Nepean River. The industry partner is the Department of Environmental and Conservation (Ecotoxicology and Chemicals Policy Units)

  • Lead Chief Investigator on a NSW Environmental Trust grant (AUD$200KI). Salinity & river biodiversity: varying salinity and other stressors. With RMIT University in Melbourne.

  • This research focus continues, with postgraduate students working on field and laboratory–based environmental water quality projects funded by the WRC, ESKOM, Richards Bay Minerals, with leveraged funding from the dti-NRF through THRIP.

Since starting again at UCEWQ I have secured the following funding:

  • (SANPAD June 2011‐April 2013: R2M, GCSSRP (NRF) October 2011‐April 2014: R2.74M (Rhodes U R1636K; NMMU R938K; UFH R210K); WRC 2011 R400K; WRC April 2012‐March 2013 R300K, THRIP 2012 R810K; Unilever R620K).

Membership in scientific bodies/juries

  • Water Institute of South Africa (WISA)

  • Australian Water Association (AWA)

  • Southern African Society of Aquatic Scientists (SASAQS)

Soft Skills/Other activities and achievements

Soft Skills

  • I am a passionate and enthusiastic teacher and public speaker. I have taught, lectured, delivered short courses and spoken at academic and industry conferences extensively.

  • I am an author on 5 papers, and supervise, or co-supervise a total of 12 post-graduate students.


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