Personal profile


Dr Caroline Spencer, based with the Monash University Disaster Resilience Initiative (MUDRI), has a social science background with a PhD in anthropology, a Graduate Certificate in Emergency Health and Disaster Preparedness, Bachelor of Arts (Honours) and completed the Rivers & Ranges Community Leadership program. Prior to academia, she worked for many years as a community educator in Victoria schools. Currently, Caroline works with Victorian communities to strengthen their resilience to unexpected emergencies and disasters. The Compendium of Victorian Community-based Resilience Building Case Studies showcases these initiatives as does the Upper Beaconsfield StoryMap developed in partnership with her local community and emergency service organisations. Caroline has a deep-seated ambition to promote shared responsibility and strong partnerships that nurture bottom-up approaches to establishing cohesive and connected communities that are prepared for the next ‘event’.

Currently, she is a Chief Investigator on two research projects. One, a five-year program, that sits within the Fire to Flourish program. A partnership between Monash University, the Paul Ramsay Foundation, and Electrical Merchandising and The Australian Centre for Social Innovation, this program is developing a deep partnership with communities affected by the 2019/20 Summer bushfires. Caroline’s specific interest lies in Learning Networks that connect communities and contribute to scaling a model of community-led recovery that supports communities to co-create foundations for their long-term resilience and wellbeing.

The second research project is a National Resilience and Recovery Agency funded project that investigates the critical gap identified in supporting Internally Displaced People (IDPs) following the 2019/20 bushfires. This applied and community-embedded project explores evidence for, and feedback from IDPs and those in the recovery system, with the expectation of creating connected and cohesive recovery networks that strengthen the resilience of communities. In keeping with the principles of the Fire to Flourish program, the project examines new approaches to community-led contributions, the needs of the disadvantaged and facilitating ‘transformative resilience’.

Dr Spencer’s research underpins her leadership with the Monash Disaster Resilience Initiative (MUDRI), her teaching in the Master of International Development Practice and her supervision of Masters and PhD students. She has supervised 7 graduate students to the successful completion of their theses. Caroline enjoys a rich professional, national and international network in this sector.

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 1 - No Poverty
  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being
  • SDG 13 - Climate Action
  • SDG 16 - Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions

Research area keywords

  • 72 hour self-reliance programs
  • Community-based Resilience
  • Cultural Diversity
  • Culture and society
  • Disaster Preparedness
  • cultural competency
  • paramedic education
  • survey

Collaborations and top research areas from the last five years

Recent external collaboration on country/territory level. Dive into details by clicking on the dots or