Research Team

Prof Jacqui Webster
(Chief investigator, The George Institute)

A/Prof Gade Waqa
(Fiji National University)

Prof Colin Bell
(Deakin University)

A/Prof Anne Marie Thow
(University of Sydney)

Prof Steven Allender
(Deakin University)

Dr Kris Rogers
(The George Institute)

Prof Mark Woodward
(The George Institute)

Dr Claire Johnson
(The George Institute)

Ms Erica Reeve
(Deakin University)

Dr Wendy Snowdon
(World Health Organization, Suva)

Dr Rebecca Dodd
(The George Institute)

Dr Isimeli Tukana
(Ministry of Health, Fiji)

Ms Briar McKenzie
(The George Institute)

Ms Sarah Mounsey
(University of Sydney)


The burden of non-communicable disease (NCDs) is unacceptably high in the Pacific Island region accounting for 80% of all deaths and 50% of all premature mortality. Increasing rates of NCDs are linked with the transition from diets based on locally-grown foods, to diets high salt, fat and sugar, including from processed packaged foods. There is a need to ensure food policies are implemented successfully in order to improve the food environment and decrease NCD burden in Pacific Island countries.


The overall goal of this five-year project is to strengthen implementation, at scale, of the best possible policy to improve the food environment in the Pacific. The project will take a comprehensive, empirical approach to understand the policy making process, identify which interventions are the most feasible in the Pacific, and what factors lead to effective implementation.


This project is funded by the NHMRC through the Global Alliance for Chronic Disease (GACD) funding scheme. The five-year project is based in Fiji and Samoa, and the following methods to address the research aims will be used:

  • Policy analysis to help gain an understanding of the context and opportunities for scale-up
  • Decisions regarding the type of nutrition related interventions will be facilitated through engagement with government ministries and civil society, following the “Thinking for Community Knowledge Exchange (STICKE)” approach
  • A type 3 hybrid model will be used to assess implementation effectiveness.
  • Multiple cross-sectional assessments of dietary intake and the food supply will be conducted throughout the five-year period to monitor the impact of interventions

Current Status

The project was initiated in August 2019, where the research team met over two days at the Novatel, Suva to discuss and plan. At this stage (quarter one of 2020), we are undertaking the policy landscape analysis which includes a desk-based review of current policies, and interviews with key stakeholders.

This project will run from August 2019 till 2023.