Image: Professor Martin Nakata.
Original Published Date: 
Monday, May 29, 2017

Professor Martin Nakata is Pro Vice-Chancellor and head of the Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Centre based at James Cook University (JCU) in Townsville, Queensland. He is a Torres Strait Islander, and notably, the first Torres Strait Islander to receive a PhD in Australia. His research career, spanning almost forty years, has focussed on the area of Australian Indigenous education, and on the higher education sector specifically for the last twenty years.

Professor Nakata is a current Discovery Indigenous scheme grant recipient, undertaking a novel and innovative project to scientifically examine under-explored aspects of learning that can improve the educational performance of Indigenous students in tertiary studies. The aim of his project is to contribute much-needed research evidence of Indigenous persistence in learning and academic performance, and to deepen knowledge and understandings of what works for Indigenous students as they engage in formal learning situations.

In addition to this, Professor Nakata is also an investigator with the new ARC Centre of Excellence of Australian Biodiversity and Heritage, in the JCU node of this centre (which is led by the University of Wollongong). He has delivered many keynote and plenary addresses around the world, and has published widely on Indigenous education issues in academic journals and books both in Australia, and internationally. Professor Nakata is considered one of the leading Indigenous scholars in Australia through his extensive work to improve the educational outcomes of Indigenous students in the higher education setting.

“Research has been a significant tool for documenting the important position of the first Australians, our histories, cultures and languages. I am delighted to see, each year, more and more Indigenous Australian students taking on research degrees,” said Professor Nakata.

Photo credit: 

Image credit: James Cook University.