Richard Austin

Postgraduate Researcher

Part-time PhD student (Years 2 and 3), 2009-2013

BSc (Hons) Geography (Kingston), 2000
MA Geography (Manchester), 2001
PhD (Year 1) Geography (Durham), 2003


Centre for Rural Economy
School of Agriculture, Food and Rural Development
Newcastle University


Dr Menelaos Gkartzios and Mr Guy Garrod

Thesis Title

Can Protected Areas Achieve Sustainable Development through Partnership Working? A Case Study of Northumberland National Park.


My academic background is in Human Geography, with a present specialisation in national parks and protected areas policy, and in particular how partnership working is contributing to the achievement of sustainable development.

In 2000 I spent a year at the University of Manchester, completing an MA in Economy, Society and Space. My thesis examined whether ecocentrism, or anthropocentrism, should be central in policy formation. In 2002, I started a PhD at the University in Durham, looking at the effectiveness of governance through partnerships, in the context of national parks. After completing my first year, I decided to take a break from my studying, and started working in local government.

I worked at the Economic Regeneration Unit at Darlington Borough Council, focussing on the Single Regeneration Budget, Single Programme, and the European Social Fund, until 2006, when I was appointed as the Funding Officer at Northumberland National Park Authority, where I am currently based. I am the programme manager for the National Park’s Sustainable Development Fund, while also being responsible for levering-in funding from other sources to further the National Park’s purposes. In 2008, this included bringing the New LEADER Approach to the entire National Park, for the 2008-2013 period, which will invest around £2 million in the socio-economic development of the Northumberland uplands area. Background support for this new programme was provided the Centre for Rural Economy.

See Also

A Roadmap for the Sustainable Development Fund, April – June 2006
Staff involved: Nicola Thompson and Terry Carroll

An evidence base for LEADER in the Northumberland Uplands Area, June 2007
Staff involved: Nicola Thompson, Terry Carroll, and Marian Raley


My research interests include:

  • Comparisons of international protected area policy and their management (IUCN Category V)
  • An in-depth understanding of sustainable development, and how it is achieved
  • An analysis of the UK National Park family as instruments for sustainable regional development
  • The importance and politics of partnership working, analysed in the context of a case study examination of Northumberland

I will explore the institutional inter-relationships between the key stakeholders.

Exploring the Sustainable Development Partnerships in Northumberland National Park

Selected Publications

Austin R. (2001) A Comparison of Traditional Anthropocentrism to Contemporary Ecocentrism, University of Manchester.


This research project was kindly sponsored by Northumberland National Park Authority.