Jennifer Gidley

Jennifer Gidley


Director of Research

Member, Research Committee

Jennifer co-founded the ORI driven by her growing concern about climate crisis, the plight of the oceans, and threats to small island nations and coastal cities from sea level rise. As Director of Research she is responsible for ORI’s long and short term research programs, and contributes significantly from her academic and leadership experience as a researcher in ‘sustainable futures’. 

Jennifer is an Australian author, educator, psychologist and futures researcher. She is an Adjunct Professor at the Institute for Sustainable Futures (UTS) Sydney, and Southern Cross University, NSW. She has held academic posts within four Australian universities, with academic affiliations in France and Spain.

As President (2009-17) of the World Futures Studies Federation, a UNESCO and UN-ECOSOC partner founded in Paris in 1973, she led the global peak body for the world’s leading futurists from 60 countries. She presided over WFSF-UNESCO Participation Projects with youth in DR Congo, Egypt, Malaysia, Philippines, Mexico and Haiti. In her five decades as a professional psychologist/educator and academic researcher, Jennifer has always been a strong scholar-activist rather than just a theoretician.

As an adventurous young woman, Jennifer travelled extensively through much of the South Pacific (including sailing between Fiji and Tonga) and South America (Chile, Bolivia, Peru and Ecuador), and later in South East Asia, India and Nepal. By the 1980s Jennifer expressed her adventurous spirit in cultural and intellectual adventures. As a young mother she founded a highly innovative Rudolf Steiner School campus in sub-tropical northern NSW. Jennifer’s PhD on the evolution of consciousness (2008) was awarded the Chancellor’s Gold Medal for Academic Excellence. A leading researcher on “futures of thinking” she is widely recognised as a global thought leader.

A sought-after international speaker, advisor and consultant, Jennifer has been involved in projects across Europe (Austria, Czech Republic, Finland, France, Germany, Luxembourg, Norway, Romania, Spain, Sweden), the Middle East (Egypt, Iran, UAE), UK, USA, and Asia (Malaysia, Philippines, Shanghai and Taiwan).

 Jennifer serves on several academic editorial boards, and has published dozens of academic papers and several books. Her recent books include: Postformal Education: A Philosophy for Complex Futures (Springer, 2016); The Future: A Very Short Introduction (Oxford University Press, 2017), and The Secret to Growing Brilliant Children (Bear Books, 2020). 

Jennifer’s Website