Professor Ali's primary research interests have been in the causes and consequences of environmental conflicts in the research sector, and the process of using ecological factors to promote peace. 

As an environmental planner, Professor Ali has focused his research on how technical scientific information can be used to more effectively deliver development outcomes. He uses a wide range of qualitative and quantitative methods in his research. Ultimately his research aims to understand the causes of conflict and the role such conflicts can play in mitigating or exacerbating development disparities. In addition he studies governance systems that can delivery peace dividends at both the local and international level. As a professional mediator, his research is geared towards highly applied problem-solving outcomes. However, outcome variables in his research are considered from a systems perspective and his research also intersects with industrial ecology and circular economy paradigms.

Saleem H. Ali holds the Blue and Gold Distinguished Professorship in Energy and the Environment at the University of Delaware (USA) and is a Professorial Research Fellow at SMI, UQ.

Professor Ali previously served as Chair in Sustainable Re-source Development and professor of sustainability science and policy at UQ and was also the Director of the Centre for Social Responsibility in Mining from 2012 to 2016. Previously he has been a professor of environmental studies at the Uni-versity of Vermont's Rubenstein School of Natural Resources, and founding director of the Institute for Environmental Diplomacy and Professor Ali is also a senior fellow at the Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment and at Georgetown University’s Center for Australia, New Zealand and Pacific Studies. 

He is a member of the IUCN World Commission on Protected Areas and serves on the board of governors of the non-profit environmental organization LEAD-Pakistan. He is also a se-ries coeditor for the University of Chicago Press on Environ-mental Science, Law and Policy. He received his doctorate in Environmental Planning from MIT, a Master’s degree in Environmental Studies from Yale University and Bachelor’s degree in Chemistry from Tufts University (summa cum laude).


Corporate and government experience includes employment in General Electric’s Technical Leadership Program; a Baker Foundation Fellowship at Harvard Business School. He was chosen as a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum in 2011 and received an Emerging Explorer award from the National Geographic Society in 2010. 

He has conducted training on community relations and international development for Anglo American Corporation in South Africa and Chile; on Community Research Methods for Shell Oil in Nigeria and offered a wide range of international courses online and in person for international development agencies.


Professor Ali serves on the governance working group of the United Nations International Resource Panel and is a member of the Global future Council on Advanced Materials convened by the World Economic Forum. He is also a series co-editor for the University of Chicago Press on Environmental Science, Law and Policy.

Key Publications

Ali, Saleem H. et al. 2017. Mineral supply for sustainable development requires resource governance.” Nature 543:367-372.

Ali, Saleem H. 2017. “The ecology of diamond sourcing: from mined to synthetic gems as a sustainable transition.” Journal of Bioeconomics 19:115-126.

Ali, Saleem H.  2016.“The Ethics of Space and Time in Mining Projects: Matching Technical Tools with Social performance.” Journal of Business Ethics, 135:645–651, 2016.

Ali, Saleem H. Treasures of the Earth: Need, Greed and a Sustaina-ble Future. New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 2009 (paperback edition, Fall, 2010)

Ali, Saleem H. 2003. Mining the Environment and Indigenous Development Conflicts. Tucson AZ: University of Arizona Press.

Full list of publications available on espace


Professor Ali’s research has been supported by a wide range of organizations in the public and private sectors including The U.S. Department of Defence, Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (through the Australian Develop-ment Research Award Scheme); German Development Agency (GIZ); Tiffany & Co. Foundation; Ford Foundation; Rockefel-ler Brothers Fund; Henry Luce Foundation; and a wide range of  industry consultancies