Dr Ehsan Nabavi

Headshot of man with round glasses.
Senior Lecturer
PhD (Sociology), MEng (Civil Engineering), BEng (Civil Engineering)

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Dr Ehsan Nabavi is a Senior Lecturer in Technology and Society. His journey from civil engineer to sociologist and AI researcher (read his profile in Nature), has enabled him to teach and conduct research in various areas using quantitative and qualitative methods. In addition to dozens of book chapters, reports, and essays, Ehsan has published his research in several journals, including Futures, Sustainability Science, Nature Humanities and Social Sciences Communications, IEEE Transactions on Technology and Society, Journal of Cleaner Production, Water Alternatives, Environmental Management, Frontiers in Communication, and Water Research.

He has established and lead ANU’s Responsible Innovation Lab—a Lab focusing on research and experimentation in responsible innovation. His current research focuses on responsible computing and modeling, Responsible AI, and developing responsible thinking and engagement about innovations proposed for wicked problems.

Prior to his current position at CPAS, he was a Research Fellow at ANU School of Cybernetics (2018-2020), and Science, Technology, and Society group at Harvard Kennedy School (2016-2017).

Ehsan also has taken visiting positions at a number of world-leading schools and institutions including the School of African and Oriental Studies (SOAS) at The University of London and Center for Development Research (ZEF) at University of Bonn.


Research interests

  • Responsible Innovation
  • Systems thinking and System Dynamics
  • Actor-Network Theory
  • Science and technology policy


Nabavi, E., Browne, C. (2023)  Leverage zones in Responsible AI: Towards a systems thinking conceptualization. Nature Humanities and Social Sciences Communications (in press). 

Nabavi, E. (2022). Computing and Modelling After COVID-19: More Responsible, Less Technical. IEEE Transactions on Technology and Society, 3(4), 252-261.

Nabavi, E. (2022). Pathways Theater: Using Speculative and Collaborative Improvisation for Transformative Engagement. Journal Futures. 143, 103022.

Nabavi, E. (2022). Who Speaks for Water in Times of Crisis? A Case for Co-Production of Engineering and Governance. Frontiers in Communication 7, 1-14.

Meinard, Y., Barreteau, O., Boschet, C., Daniell, K. A., Nabavi, E. Ferrand, N., Girard, S., ... & Zarate, P. (2021). What is Policy Analytics? An Exploration of 5 Years of Environmental Management Applications. Environmental Management, 1-15. 

E. Nabavi (2019). Why the Huge Growth in AI Spells A Big Opportunity for Transdisciplinary Researchers. Nature. DOI: 10.1038/d41586-019-01251-1

Nabavi, E. Katherine A. Daniell, Elizabeth T. Williams, and Caitlin M. Bentley (2019). AI For Sustainability: The Changing Landscape. In Artificial Intelligence for better or worse, Wouters, N., Blashki, G (eds.) Future Leaders Press. Melbourne, VIC, Australia: 157-176. 

Williams, E., Nabavi, E., Genevieve Bell, Caitlin M. Bentley, Katherine A. Daniell, Noel Derwort, Zac Hatfield-Dodds, Kobi Leins, Amy McLennan. (2020) Begin with The Human: Designing for Safety and Trustworthiness in Cyber-Physical Systems., In William Lawless, Ranjeev Mittu, and Donald Sofge (Eds.) Human-machine Shared Contexts. Elsevier. Chapter 17.

Nabavi, E. (2018) Failed Policies, Falling Aquifers: Unpacking Groundwater Overabstraction In Iran. Water Alternatives 11(3). 

Nabavi,E. (2017) Boundary Matters: The Potential of System Dynamics to Support Sustainability?., Daniell, K., Najafi, H. Journal of Cleaner Production, 140, 312-323.  

Nabavi, E., Daniell, K. (2017) Rediscovering Social–Ecological Systems: Taking Inspiration from Actor-Networks., Journal of Sustainability Science,1-9.

Daniell, K., Nabavi,E. Benham, C. (2017) Politics of Innovation and the Spirit of Justice. In: Lukasiewicz et al, (eds.) Natural resources and environmental justice: Australian perspectives. CSIRO Publishing, Melbourne, VIC, Australia, pp. 185-203. 

Nabavi, E. (2017) (Ground)Water Governance and Legal Development in Iran, 1906-2016. Middle East Law and Governance, 9(1), 43-70.