Professor Martin Nakata is an Indigenous Australian researcher now based within the James Cook University node of the 2017 ARC Centre of Excellence of Australian Biodiversity and Heritage (led by the University of Wollongong). Professor Nakata—who has also received support through the ARC Discovery Indigenous scheme—has spent many years examining under-explored aspects of learning that can improve the educational performance of Indigenous students in tertiary studies.

His recent research project has contributed much-needed research evidence of Indigenous persistence in learning and academic performance, to deepen knowledge and understanding of what works for Indigenous students as they engage in formal learning situations. In particular, the research has provided longitudinal data of Indigenous enrolments, continuation and completion of tertiary study, and identified crucial Indigenous learning pathways to success.

Professor Nakata was previously based at The University of New South Wales (UNSW), where he translated his research findings into improved outcomes for Indigenous students. By implementing culturally appropriate programs to recruit and support Indigenous students, the total number of Indigenous applicants to UNSW increased, and crucially, so did the number of Indigenous students continuing and completing their degrees.

Professor Martin 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.

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