Associate Professor Rebecca Nelson

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Rebecca Nelson is an Associate Professor of Melbourne Law School. Her research focuses on environmental and natural resources law and policy, with an emphasis on empirical research and practical solutions. Dr Nelson holds an ARC Discovery Early Career Researcher Award (2018-2020), which aims to analyse and evaluate laws regulating cumulative environmental effects in the United States of America, European Union, Canada and Australia. From 2010-2014, she led the Comparative Groundwater Law and Policy Program, a collaborative initiative between Water in the West at Stanford University and the United States Studies Centre at the University of Sydney. The Program focused on undertaking empirical research and convening stakeholder workshops to improve groundwater sustainability in the western US and Australia.

In 2014 she was named the Law Council of Australia's Young Environmental Lawyer of the Year for her contribution to water law and environmental law.

Dr Nelson holds a Doctor of the Science of Law from Stanford University, where her dissertation focused on empirically assessing regulatory arrangements for protecting surface water and ecosystems from the impacts of pumping groundwater. She also holds a Masters in law (Stanford) and Bachelor of Engineering (Environmental) and Bachelor of Laws (University of Melbourne). Dr Nelson formerly worked as a lawyer at the Murray-Darling Basin Authority and in private practice in Australia.

Memberships and Affiliations

  • Fellow (Non-Resident), Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment
  • Member, Centre for Resources, Energy and Environmental Law, Melbourne Law School
  • Convenor, Future Cities Research Cluster, Melbourne Sustainable Society Institute, University of Melbourne
  • Director of the Board, Bush Heritage Australia
  • Editorial Panel, Australasian Journal of Water Resources
  • Independent water lawyer and policy consultant

Research Centres