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Asia Pacific College of Business and Law

Available postgraduate projects

We're looking for prospective students

We are seeking students to undertake exciting projects in our college.

CDU has developed significant relationships with academic institutions across the Asian and ASEAN regions which affords our students excellent international research opportunities.

Research in business is led by professors in Marketing, Management and Economics. 

CDU Law Students

In addition, our researchers specialise in the areas of:

  • criminal and corporate law
  • human rights
  •  cyber law
  • customary law. 

Corporate law research focuses on corporate responsibility, international trade, intellectual property and governance issues. Our researchers are leading the field on Aboriginal customary law and legal systems. 

We welcome prospective research students to undertake their research journey in those fields with Charles Darwin University. 

Essential information

If you’re interested in a project, please contact the supervisor(s) listed.

If you've been unable to find a project that you are interested in, you can use the researchers portal  to find researchers from related fields.

  • Use one or two keywords to narrow down the list of researchers.
  • Each research profile will indicate if the researcher has the capacity to supervise.

Once you've found a suitable project, you can contact relevant researchers using the CDU directory.

Please see the CDU Research Scholarship page for further information regarding how to apply for scholarships and key dates for application submissions.

Developing value co-creation models of transport choices for rural, regional and remote areas

Supervisor: Dr Muhammad Saleem (E: muhammad.saleem@cdu.edu.au

Suitable for: PhD

Project location: Darwin

Project summary

The paradigm shift in redefining marketing as a function of collaborative product and service innovation started with the seminal work of Vargo and Lusch (2004) who stressed the need to reconsider value exchange from Goods-Dominant logic (G-D logic) perspective to S-D logic perspective.

In traditional economics-driven explanations of value exchange, tangible products in exchange of money were considered of paramount importance (G-D logic). The S-D logic perspective advocates that value is embedded in a joint process of defining and creation of value offerings, involving the input from stakeholders who have benefits associated with value exchange.

While a growing number of industries have benefited from S-D logic framework, transportation-related products, especially in rural, regional, and remote communities, are still being designed and implemented bureaucratically. This project intends to utilise S-D logic frameworks and design transportation models for less densely populated communities where traditional transport frameworks usually don't work.

Economic policy uncertainty and reporting quality of financial institutions

Supervisor: Dr Shawgat Kutubi (E: shawgat.kutubi@cdu.edu.au

Suitable for: PhD

Project location: Northern Territory, Australia

Project summary

During the economic policy uncertainty, it is easier for bank managers to distort financial information. The unpredictable economic policy changes make assessing the existence and impact of hidden ‘‘adverse news” more difficult for investors and creditors. Economic policy uncertainty also increases the fluctuation in banks’ earnings and cash flows, thus providing additional incentives and opportunities for bank managers to engage in earnings management.

Using a sample of banks in OECD countries this project will investigate whether economic policy uncertainty is systematically related to bank earnings quality. Our results will show whether uncertainty in economic policy is related to earnings quality. Collectively, our results will inform the academic and policy makers whether economic policy uncertainty leads to greater fluctuations in financial reporting quality.

Financial impact of COVID 19 on business enterprises in Australia - what do we know and what we can learn?

Supervisor: Dr Shawgat Kutubi (E: shawgat.kutubi@cdu.edu.au

Suitable for: Masters by Research

Project location: Northern Territory, Australia

Project summary

COVID-19 has placed unprecedented pressure on small and medium-sized businesses that collectively contribute to Australia's economic growth. A recent report by Supply Nation shows that the pandemic severely affected many indigenous enterprises, including tourism, accommodation and food services industry, air transport, recreation, trade, and education.

The COVID-19 induced economic uncertainty may have a long-term impact on the sustainability of these businesses and thus, may have a long-term economic impact on the empowerment of locals and first nation Australians. However, the effect may have been different for the businesses located in different states and territories of Australia, considering the short and long periods of lockdown in the Northern Territory, Western Australia, and several months of lockdowns in Victoria, New South Wales, Queensland, Adelaide and Tasmania, highlighting the importance of a comparative study.

This research will inform us about the financial impact of COVID19 induced recession on businesses located in different states and territories of Australia. This project will also allow us to examine the effects of COVID 19 on indigenous and non-indigenous businesses separately and how indigenous business owners may have used their traditional knowledge and strategies to survive the recession.

Legislation and Rules as Code: Barriers, enablers and risks

Supervisor: Guzyal Hill (E: guzyal.hill@cdu.edu.au

Suitable for: Masters by Research

Project location: Darwin or online

Project summary

“Rules as Code” is an idea for legislation to be encoded as a computer code with the purpose of the resulting legislation to be “read” (and checked) by a computer application. The idea is currently attracting the attention of the industry, particularly on the question of whether it will lead to automation replacing human interpretation of the law.

This research project argues that given the state of current development, the replacement is unlikely, but augmentation of the human and machine capacity in interpreting law is the desirable avenue of development. This augmentation would allow humans to focus on what they know best: principles, judgement, discretion and quality, while allowing machines to process big data and discern patterns. Rules as Code idea does not trespass into removing key interpretative functions of lawyers and legislative drafters. There are strong barriers to this idea, however. Therefore, this research will focus on identifying barriers, enablers and risks to the implementation of Rules as Code.

This research focuses on examining the barriers, enablers and risks for the use of advanced technology in legislative development and drafting of legislation in computer code form. Most studies on the intersection of technology and law have addressed the impact of technology on substantive areas of law – examples include privacy, defamation, consumer protection, and data protection. What remains unclear is how advanced technology methods can impact the law-making process. This research is aiming to fill this gap with implications for a wider impact in aiding the practices of law reformers, policy officers and legislative drafters.

Modern constitutionalism in pandemic times COVID-19, mandatory vaccination and fundamental rights: A comparative perspective

Supervisor: Guzyal Hill (E: guzyal.hill@cdu.edu.au

Suitable for: Masters by Research

Project location: Darwin or online

Project summary

Attempts to manage the health emergency caused by COVID-19 have included the elaboration of mandatory vaccination policy and legislation. The adoption of mandatory vaccination regimes hinders the enjoyment of a few fundamental rights and freedom as spelled out in national constitutions, regional, and international human rights conventions.

Mandatory vaccination has sparked a twofold debate: firstly, whether the COVID-19 pandemic is changing the constitutional-power structures of our democracies and irreversibly constraining our liberties; and secondly, whether proportionality, as a protocol for policy elaboration and as a principle for judicial determinations of government response, is the proper tool for striking a right balance between the affirmation of the collective right to public health on the one hand, and limitation of fundamental rights and freedoms on the other hand.

Grounded in the theoretical framework of modern constitutionalism, this research provides a comparative analysis of how proportionality analysis is being deployed in democratic regimes both as a protocol for public health policy elaboration and as a principle for judicial determinations in the assessment of rights claims. In so doing, it discusses the tensions between the securitisation of public health and the challenges of adopting and enforcing a legislative response that minimally hinders the enjoyment of fundamental rights and freedoms.

Consideration will also be given to supranational proportionality analysis jurisprudence of the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR), the Inter-American Court of Human Rights (IACtHR), and the African Court on Human and Peoples' Rights (ACtHPR).

Social capital and children from refugee backgrounds

Supervisor: Bhanu Bhatia (E: bhanu.bhatia@cdu.edu.au

Suitable for: PhD

Project location: Australia

Project summary

Social capital holds overwhelming importance in building social and economic resource in refugee communities and is proposed as a way of supporting diversity and social acceptance. Over the last decade, Australia has hosted thousands of refugees from different countries and cultural backgrounds.

Access to social capital gives refugees much needed support in settling in a new country. While social capital research has successfully identified interlinkages between social capital and refugee settlements, research on refugee children remain scant. This is especially concerning as social capital is found to be central in child development literature but is an aspect that is altogether ignored in refugee children.

To this end, the objective of this study is manifold. Firstly, this study undertakes a comprehensive study on determinants of social capital of refugee migrant children in Australia. Secondly, we model the impact of social capital on child development. Lastly, the research will identify policy framework to address barriers to social capital formation.

Solving the mystery of legal harmonisation. Pick your own adventure – United States, Canada or European Union

Supervisor: Guzyal Hill (E: guzyal.hill@cdu.edu.au

Suitable for: PhD

Project location: TBA

Project summary

Harmonisation in federations usually involves searching consensus in the area of debated policies, strong viewpoints and pressing socio-economic issues. The society of today is getting more and more polarised with the exercise of finding consensus becoming more difficult.

The model of harmonisation in Australia has been developed. There are three paths to harmonisation that last: long road of iterative harmonisation, shortcut to harmonisation through the merger of multiple streams and pragmatic solutions (Hill, 2020). In cases of strong advocacy coalitions, harmonisation is very difficult to achieve. The question is now whether the same model can apply in other federations to explain harmonisation.

This research examines harmonisation of legislation in the USA, Canada and European Union. Using law as data methods, this research identifies the main patterns of legal harmonisation and achieving uniform legislation. The original contribution of this research is in finding patterns and general theory for usually discrete legal process of developing and drafting uniform legislation in federations. The findings of this research will assist governments, industry and citizens to seek and find policy solutions to long standing problems of federal systems of government.

The role of entrepreneurial ecosystems in regional development

Supervisor: Dr Ulrike Kachel (E: ulrike.kachel@cdu.edu.au

Suitable for: PhD

Project location: Darwin

Project summary

Entrepreneurial activities are the driver of growth, and governments provide investments, incentives, policies, and programs to increase such activities. While the focus is often on larger economic projects, most entrepreneurs can be found in small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) that play an important role in regional development.

As a regional development area, the Northern Territory has a relatively small population with around 30% indigenous. Its vast natural resources offer unique opportunities in tourism and other industries, but besides its rich natural and cultural assets, the NT also faces challenges linked to, for example, accessibility, climate, and social issues.

The research provides an opportunity to investigate the NT’s entrepreneurial ecosystem by considering aspects of the sustainability triple bottom line and UN Sustainable Development Goals. Of particular interest is a focus on ecosystem drivers and challenges for SMEs in tourism and/or for indigenous enterprises, and the role of the ecosystem in supporting developments for existing and new enterprises.

Tourism recovery after COVID-19 pandemic: Opportunities and challenges to promoting eco-tourism

Supervisor: Dr Muhammad Saleem (E: muhammad.saleem@cdu.edu.au

Suitable for: PhD

Project location: Darwin

Project summary

The COVID-19 pandemic has remained disastrous to the tourism industry worldwide for several reasons, including travel bans, tourists’ self-evaluated effects of the pandemic, and governmental policies. An estimate shows that overall global tourism activity has dropped by 30.8% - 76.3% until June 2021.

Although the impact of the pandemic is gradually declining and travel restrictions have started to ease out, at least for domestic tourists, there still is a considerable challenge ahead, that is tourists’ travel anxiety, pandemic induced changes in tourists' beliefs and travel behaviour, and businesses’ readiness to support a resumption of tourism activity.

Travel anxiety, in particular, has impeded the competitive advantage of regions that were successful in suppressing the pandemic instances at the very early stages. Some studies report that tourists’ travel behaviour is expected to be driven by psychological resilience and caution as a result of travel fear which leads to protection motivation. On the other hand, the pandemic's havoc has created an enhanced sense of responsibility in tourists towards issues relevant to the environment, social sustainability, and biodiversity.

As tourism activity resumes to normal, the tourists' preferences are expected to shift towards concerns for health and hygiene, better handling of tourism destinations, eco-innovations, and contactless service. This project aims at understanding the tourists' choices of tourism destinations and cultural tourism experiences. In so doing, this project will conduct several studies to understand tourists’ choices related to eco-travel options, ecological destinations, cultural tourism experiences, and traditional food choices on tourism destinations to inform future tourism policy.

Towards developing a new approach to legal education in the faculty of Law at Charles Darwin University: Integrating experiential learning into the School of Law curriculum

Supervisor: Professor Elizabeth Spencer (E: elizabeth.spencer@cdu.edu.au

Suitable for: Masters by Research

Project location: Darwin or online

Project summary

The unifying missions of law schools is delivering an excellent legal education to students. In the quest to identifying how best to accomplish that, there is no doubt that ‘experiential learning’ is becoming a foundational component of law schools’ curriculum.

The term ‘experiential learning’ refers to methods of instruction that regularly or primarily place students in the role of attorneys, whether through simulations, clinics, or externships. Such forms of instruction integrate theory and practice by providing numerous opportunities for students to learn and apply lawyering skills as they are used in legal practice. These learning opportunities are also designed to encourage students to begin to form their professional identities as lawyers, through experience or role-playing with guided self-reflection, so that they can become skilled, ethical, and professional life-long learners of the law.

This research project, grounded in the work of the early twentieth century philosopher John Dewey, who extolled the benefits of experience-based learning, explores some of the techniques for incorporating various forms of experiential education into traditional law school curriculum, including integration of modules of experiential instruction. It does so by defining and expounding the scope of experiential education, starting with experiential modules and classroom exercises that can be included in first-year and upper-level courses and then expounding immersive learning experiences such as course-long simulations and semester-in-practice programs. The research will also identify the online resources for experiential education and will provide some guidance on how to deliver experiential education in an online format.

Value creation from circularity – An empirical analysis of environmental differentiation and economic performance

Supervisor: Dr Michael Erdiaw-Kwasie (E: michael.erdiaw-kwasie@cdu.edu.au

Suitable for: PhD

Project location: Darwin

Project summary

Today, society lives by the philosophy 'take-make-use-dispose.' This is not sustainable in the long run since we have limited natural resources and limited capacity for the earth to carry waste.

Therefore, a circular economy based on the philosophy of take-make-use-reuse is being pushed. Even though there is an increasing amount of theory about economic and environmentally beneficial circular systems, there are very few case studies to validate this claim. Two factors contribute to this; first, there is a lack of a systemic and systematic framework of firm-level strategies geared toward environmental differentiation caused by circular processes; second, there is a lack of tools and methods for assessing environmental differentiation and economic performance.

This PhD research aims to develop and test a model that examines how firms in emerging economies can differentiate their products using efficient resource use to create environmental and economic value. The project contributes to the strategy literature in empirical, methodological, and theoretical ways.