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I undertook a PhD at RegNet on the private sector’s role in the recovery of post-conflict countries – bringing together insights from the fields of human rights, peace-building and regulatory theory.
I intended to build a career in academia, and spent several years in research positions in the UK, including a post as a Research Associate at the University of Oxford, before returning to the ANU in 2015 as Associate Professor at the College of Law.
Everyone talks about inter-disciplinarity, but not many actually achieve it. For me, RegNet provided an unrivalled inter-disciplinary environment where I could truly draw on insights from fellow researchers to enrich my work. Given my particular interests, I would not have enjoyed that sort of value-addition had I undertaken a PhD in a law school.
It is difficult to imagine a more conducive collegiate environment in which to undertake PhD studies. After my studies I moved to Oxford, where PhD students would have envied the facilities and support we had, and the ready access to leading academics.
I studied under world-leading academics including John Braithwaite and Hilary Charlesworth. Unlike other schools these individuals were accessible to us as doctoral students and heavily involved in supervising research.
I continue to specialise in the subject of my PhD. My research centres on emerging frameworks for regulating responsible business conduct, especially in conflict-affected and fragile settings. This work explores the role and regulation of business actors in promoting respect for human rights, the rule of law, and the building of more peaceful, inclusive and just societies.
On the teaching front, I have pioneered a new fully online Masters course in ‘Business, Human Rights and Corporate Responsibility’; I run the College’s training programme in applied international law for Foreign Affairs (DFAT) graduates; and I am helping the International Bar Association (the global body for the legal profession) to develop training materials for legal practitioners on business and human rights.
Jo is now currently working as an Associate Professor, and Associate Dean (International), ANU College of Law (since 2015).