Profile image for Gavin Melles

Dr Gavin Melles

Senior Lecturer
MSc Sustainable Development, SOAS London Universty, United Kingdom; Ed.D, Deakin University, Australia; M. Linguistics (Research), University of Costa Rica, Costa Rica; B.Arts, Auckland University, New Zealand


Dr Gavin Melles is a senior lecturer in design at Swinburne. His primary research interests are in design and education, design thinking, and social innovation and enterprise,

  • Dr Melles has design researcher and PhD supervisor roles in several Collaborative Research Centre (Interdisciplinary Industry-Government-Academia) projects - including the CRC for Low Carbon Living, CRC for Bushfire and Natural Hazards, and the AutoCRC EV Bus Malaysia. The HERDC assigned grants total over AU $1 Million
  • He has received and beeen nominated for teacing and research fellowship grants from the German Government (Deutsche Akademische Austausch Dienst, 2010), the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNF, 2011), the Exploratory Research Space at RWTH Aachen, HCI Research Center (2012) and most recently held a nominated fellowship at the Edinburgh University Institute for Advanced Studies in Humanities (2016) in the UK. He also held a one year (2012-2013) Swedish Higher Education Research Collaboration Grant (STINT) with Associate Professor Stefan Holmild, Linköping University.
  • Dr Melles was also one of several project leaders of the three-year EU-ICP (2009-2012) grant on design knowledge exchange ($0.935 million), funding staff and student exchange between seven European and Australian institutions. The exchange was focused on design thinking in the curriculum.
  • He has had Government NCP ($27,500, 2018) and Asian Bound funding ($21,500, 2015) for Study Tour Mobility to India.
  • He is an ARC and SNF (Switzerland), Leverhulme Trust (UK) Grant Assessor, and international examiner of PhDs in Germany, Australia, Colombia and New Zealand
  • He is affiliated with the Australia India Institute,the Social Accounting Network & Centre for Social Inititaive and Management (India), Centre for Urban Transitions and the Centre for Design Innovation at Swinburne University.
  • He is an Associate Editor of Arts & Humanities in Higher Education (Sage) as well as the HETL Review. He serves on the editorial boards of several journals, including the International Journal of Design Creativity and Journal of Applied Research in Higher Education.
  • His current PhD students and research projects address the process of designing social innovations in various contexts
  • He also consults to industry and community in various capacities and has worked with and for UN CBD on Gender & Diversity Review, Mentor for School of Social Entrepreneurs (Australia), and reviewer for the IDEO Report on Thinking and Acting Like A Designer: How Design Thinking Supports Innovation In K-12 Education

Research interests

Sociological Methodology and Research Methods; Strategic & Transformative Design: Design Thinking and Complexity; Strategic & Transformative Design: Design Research Education; Public Good Design

PhD candidate and honours supervision

Higher degrees by research

Accredited to supervise Masters & Doctoral students as Principal Supervisor.

PhD topics and outlines

Designing Social Innovation: Design methods and approaches are playing an increasing role in social innovation. What are the challenges for design in addressing such complex issues?

Sustainable Urban Regeneration: Globally there is increasing need for cities to regenerate neighbourhoods for sustainable development. How can human-centred design play a role in informing architecture and urban planning initiatives?


Available to supervise honours students.

Honours topics and outlines

Postgraduate Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) in Australia: The need for quality postgraduate ESD courses in Australia and globally is clear. To what extent do such courses address strong and weak approaches to sustainability?

Social Accounting and Audit: Social Accounting and Auditing aims to embed social impact assessment and organisational improvement into NGOs, social enterprises and other organisations. What theories of action (TOC) do such accounts reveal?

Fields of Research

  • Design Innovation - 120302
  • Curriculum And Pedagogy Theory And Development - 130202

Teaching areas

Social impact;Strategic & Transformative Design: Design Research Education;Strategic & Transformative Design: Design Thinking and Complexity;Strategic & Transformative Design: Sustainability


  • 2017, National, NCP Mobility Grant - Designing Social Innovation ($27,500) collaboration with IIT Madras, Swinburne University
  • 2016, International, Institue for Advanced Studies in Humanities (IASH) Nominated Fellowship, Edinburgh University, Edinburgh University
  • 2016, International, Chingari Small Grant Scheme ($2500) - Accounting for social impact in Indian social enterprise – a comparative case study of social accounting and audit in India, Australia-India Institue
  • 2014, Swinburne, Researcher Development Grant Scheme ($3000) , Swinburne University
  • 2014, National, Asia Bound Mobility Grant ($21,500), Australian Government
  • 2012, International, Swedish Foundation for International Cooperation in Higher Education (STINT) Research Collaboration Initiation Grant ($22,000), Swedish Government
  • 2012, International, HCI Center, RWTH Aachen. Exploratory Research Space (ERS) Seed Fund Grant. Visiting Researcher (3955 Euros), RTWH Aachen
  • 2011, International, Schweizer National Fonds Project # 136303. Forschung als Design. Eine kritische Analyse eines Ansatzes der Designforschung (Research as Design. Critical analysis of a design research approach Visiting Professor. FHNW Fachhochschule Nordwestschweiz ($10,04, Swiss National Research Fund
  • 2010, International, DAAD) Research Stays for University Academics and Scientists Program. A/09/11786 Referat 424. Amount EUR 4,428 ($AU 6,640) . Examining Design Research and Education in Germany, DAAD (German Government)

Further information



Also published as: Melles, Gavin; Melles, G.
This publication listing is provided by Swinburne Research Bank. If you are the owner of this profile, contact us to update.

Recent research grants awarded

  • 2016: A sociological analysis of low carbon food waste practices *; CRC Low Carbon Living
  • 2014: Increasing knowledge and motiviating collaborative action on Low Carbon Living through team-based and game-based mobile learning *; CRC Low Carbon Living
  • 2014: Integrated Human-Centred Design approachin developing the modular EV Bus driveline system for Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia 2020(Student Agreement Postgrad for Jung-Ok (Jo) Kuys) *; AutoCRC
  • 2014: Media and communication strategies to achieve carbon reduction through renovation of Australia's existing housing *; CRC Low Carbon Living
  • 2014: Student research agreement for Tomi Winfree *; CRC Low Carbon Living
  • 2013: Air Tight Buildings for Low Carbon Living *; Department of State Development Business and Innovation - Voucher Program

* Chief Investigator