Dr Jerry Watkins

Dr Jerry Watkins

Senior Research Manager

SERIO - Research Impact and Partnerships (Research & Innovation)



Jerry's research interests include digital inclusion, digital transformation, eHealth and ICT for development. He has served as a Chief/Principal Investigator on major projects worth over AU$ 5 million in research income, with partners including Intel Labs, UNESCO and the Commonwealth of Learning. These projects include an exploration of mobile device usage by health workers in regional Indonesia; a study of mobile and smart technology innovation across rural and regional India; and a multi-country in-depth investigation into the impact of community multimedia centres. Jerry has designed and delivered digital literacy training programs in Australia, India, Indonesia, Nepal, the Solomon Islands and Vietnam, for which he was recognised by UNESCO as an Invited Expert on Mobile Media.


Jerry holds a PhD in Computing Sciences from University of Technology, Sydney. His thesis on Participatory Content Creation and Social Media contributed an original model of team-based digital content creation. He achieved ten peer-reviewed publications based on this thesis. Jerry's other relevant qualifications include an MSc in Human Computer Interaction (University College London) and an MBA in Higher Education (University College London). Jerry's previous academic appointments include Associate Professor of Communication and Head of the Centre of Digital Excellence (CODE) at RMIT University; Associate Professor and Director of the News & Media Research Centre at University of Canberra; and Director of International at Western Sydney University.

Professional membership

Member, Association of Computing Machinery



Research degrees awarded to supervised students

Primary doctoral supervision:

Dr Temple Uwalaka (conferred 2017).

Thesis: Mobile Internet and the rise of Digital Activism among Nigerian Students. University of Canberra

Doctoral examination:

Dr Sandra Hanchard (2015). Thesis: Social media information and everyday life in Malaysia. Swinburne University of Technology

Dr Jeremy Yuille (2012). Thesis: The Forensic Wall: how ambiguity enacts interaction design. RMIT University.

Grants & contracts

U.S. Government, Public Affairs Grants program (2020-21) Robotics = CODE + Creativity. PI: Watkins. US$ 13,034

Australian Research Council Linkage (Equipment) Project (2016-17)  Linked Data PolicyHub Stage II: Urban and Regional Planning, Infrastructure and Communications. CIs: Thomas, Newton, Rennie, Meyer, Watkins, Dodson, Wilson, McShane, Sinnott, Phibbs, Goggin. AU$ 367,000. 

Australian Research Council Discovery Project (2013-16) Mobile Indonesians: social differentiation and digital literacies in the twenty-first century.  CIs: Baulch, Watkins, Heryanto. AUD 220,000.

Australian Research Council Linkage Project (2012-15)  Opportunity Spaces - Community Engagement in the Planning, Use and Governance of Shared School Facilities. CIs: Meredyth, McShane, Watkins. Partner: Department of Education and Early Childhood Development, VIC. AU$ 408,000.

Intel Corporation (USA) (2007-10) Moving Content: Creative Engagement in Marginal Spaces. PIs: Tacchi, Watkins. US$ 225,000.

Australian Research Council Linkage Project (2006-09) Finding a Voice: Making Technological Change Socially Effective and Culturally Empowering. Partners: UNESCO, UNDP. CIs: Tacchi, Watkins, Pillay, Cunningham, Skuse. AU$ 1,300,000



Reports & invited lectures

Does Higher Education need Digital Transformation? (Jun 2019) Kent Institute, Sydney.

Towards a Digital Inclusion Index for Viet Nam (Dec 2018) Vietnam National University, University of Social Science and Humanities, Hanoi.

Digital News Report: Australia 2017 (Jul 2017) Australian Communications and Media Authority, Canberra.

Identification of influential online health information sites by webcrawl (Aug 2016) Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane.

Communicative ecology as qualitative method (Apr 2016) University of Indonesia, Jakarta.

Barriers to mHealth adoption by Indonesian community health workers (Nov 2015) University of Sydney.

The end of ‘traditional’ news? Implications for advertising, journalism, public relations (Oct 2015) Rangsit University, Bangkok.

Digital News Report: Australia 2015 (Jun 2015) ABC News, Canberra