Vigya has over ten years’ experience in applied research across domestic and international mining and energy sectors. Specifically, her interests are in areas at the intersection of society and the natural environment. Most of her work has had a strong focus on livelihoods and development, through understanding links with climatic changes and disasters as they manifest across energy and resource industries.

She has also had a variety of teaching responsibilities, including most recently her role as a Lecturer with UQ’s Faculty of Engineering, Architecture and Information Technology (EAIT). In this role, she led the development and delivery of EAIT’s inaugural course on Humanitarian Engineering offered to all undergraduate engineering students at UQ.

Initially trained as an engineer, her PhD in social sciences has allowed her a deep appreciation for interdisciplinary thinking and practice. In her current role at CSRM, she continues to build on her strong interdisciplinary skills and undertake wide-ranging research, research management, training, and engagement to contribute to long-term positive change in the resources sector.

Current research and industry engagement:

Vigya’s research has examined globally critical trends spanning a variety of socio-economic contexts. Her current work focuses on:

  • better integrating social performance aspects with tailings management practice in the mining industry.
  • creating knowledge on energy transition challenges in resource communities including coal, and critical transition metals.

Most of her past research has entailed ethnographic qualitative designs. Her recent work has examined: (sub-national) political economy of energy transitions in resource communities; interconnections between energy, climate change (natural disasters), and development; and the impact of climate variability on the extractives sector in both Australian and overseas contexts.


Vigya actively collaborates with domestic and international partners from academia, government, non-government organisations as well as the industry. India has been a significant geographical focus of her ongoing collaborations.

She currently supervises three PhD students with colleagues from across UQ as well as the Indian Institute of Technology Delhi (IIT-D), under the collaborative UQIDAR scheme.

Key Publications:

  • Sharma, Vigya and Franks, Daniel M. (2013). In situ adaptation to climatic change: mineral industry responses to extreme flooding events in Queensland, Australia. Society and Natural Resources, 26 (11), 1252-1267. doi: 10.1080/08941920.2013.797528
  • Sharma, Vigya, van de Graaff, Shashi, Loechel, Barton and Franks, Daniel M. (2013). Extractive resource development in a changing climate: learning the lessons from extreme weather events in Queensland, Australia. South Port, QLD, Australia: National Climate Change Adaptation Research Facility.
  • Sharma, V, Dalaibuyan, B, Erdenebileg, G-O, Natsag, M and Adiya, S (2016). Traditional livelihoods and mining in Mongolia’s changing climate: exploring the potential of cross-sectoral partnerships in achieving sustainability. APN Science Bulletin, 6, 8-12.
  • Rüttinger, Lukas and Sharma, Vigya (2016). Climate change and mining: a foreign policy perspective. Berlin, Germany: adelphi.
  • Sharma, Vigya (2019). Access for adaptation? Reviewing the linkages between energy, disasters, and development in India. Energy Research and Social Science, 52, 10-19. doi: 10.1016/j.erss.2019.01.025
  • Malakar, Yuwan, Herington, Matthew J. and Sharma, Vigya (2019). The temporalities of energy justice: examining India’s energy policy paradox using non-western philosophy. Energy Research & Social Science, 49, 16-25. doi: 10.1016/j.erss.2018.11.002