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Dr John Symons
Research Fellow
Phone number: 03 9919 1457
 
Email address:
John.Symons@vu.edu.au

Qualifications
BSc (Uni Melb), G Dip Ed (UNE), M Env Plan (Macquarie), PhD (VU)

Professional experience
Dr Symons specialises in quantitative economic analysis and modelling, including health and environmental economics. He is currently undertaking a project with the NHMRC Centre for Research Excellence: Driving Global Investment in Adolescent Health and the FIA Foundation, where he will be extending and developing his work on road safety interventions. This will build on previous work he has undertaken with the Australian Health Policy Collaboration for the ACT government regarding the economic benefits of active transport infrastructure. He is also working with the Fred Hollows Foundation on the multi-generational economic benefits of cataract surgery and an investment case for HPV vaccinations for the UNFPA in Vietnam.

Dr Symons periodically works for the West of Melbourne Economic Development Alliance (WOMEDA). As part of this role, he has been developing proposals for a Waste and Recycling Research Centre at the VU Werribee campus in collaboration with the state government, industry groups and VU. He has also developed close links with the International Institute of Industrial Ecological Economics (IIIEE) at Lund University during an extended stay in 2018. These links include ongoing collaboration on waste and recycling research, massive open online courses, as well as supervising masters students in the field of green roof economics.

Previously in the area of health economics, Dr Symons participated in a Lancet adolescent study (2017) for the UNFPA examining the costs and benefits in adolescent road transport safety in developing countries, involving modelling data on transport from 75 developing countries. He also participated as modeller in a 2019 UNICEF project estimating impact of investments in adolescent health and education in Burundi, and a 2018 UNFPA project on investing in adolescent health, education and gender for India and 4 Indian states.

In environmental economics he has previously worked with: the City of Melbourne on their Greening Laneways and Economic Evaluation of Green Roofs, Walls and Facades project (2017) focusing on public economic benefits of the program; the Bushfire and Natural Hazard CRC (2014-17) creating an economic geography of a broad range of economic, social, health and environmental values, involving extensive data modelling to determine levels of vulnerability to bushfire and flood which has since been used as the basis for further work with the Victorian Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning to generate a detailed economic geography of vulnerability to fire and flood in Victoria and future changes due to climate change; and other projects modelling the benefits of bicycle infrastructure.

Recent publications

Journal articles

Symons, J., Howard, E., Sweeny, K., Kumnick, M. and Sheehan, P. 2019, ‘Reduced road traffic injuries for young people: A preliminary investment analysis’, Journal of Adolescent Health, vol. 65, no. 1, pp. S34-S43.

Sheehan, P., Sweeny, K., Rasmussen, B., Wils, A., Friedman, H.S., Mahon, J., Patton, G.C., Sawyer, S.M., Howard, E., Symons, J., Stenberg, K., Chalasani, S., Maharaj, N., Reavley, N., Shi, H., Fridman, M., Welsh, A., Nsofor, E. and Laski, L. 2017, ‘Building the foundations for sustainable development: A case for global investment in the capabilities of adolescents’, The Lancet, vol. 390, no. 10104, pp. 1792–1806.

Ward, J. and Symons, J. 2017, 'Optimising crop selection for small urban food gardens in dry climates', Horticulturae, vol. 3, no. 2, p. 33.

Book chapters

Rasmussen, B., Symons, J. and Maharaj, M. and Madonia, K. 2020, ‘Promised, given, traded, sold’, in UNFPA, State of the World Population: Against My Will, New York, pp. 94-113.

Rasmussen, B., Symons, J. and Maharaj, N. 2020, ‘Cost of ending child marriage’, in Johns Hopkins University, Avenir Health, Victoria University, Institute of Health, Metrics and Evaluation and UNFPA, Costing the Three Transformative Results, UNFPA, New York, chap. 4.

Reports

Rasmussen, B., Sheehan, P., Sweeny, K., Symons, J. and Maharah, N. 2019, Adolescent Investment Case Burundi: Estimating the Impacts of Social Sector Investments for Adolescents, VISES Report to UNICEF Burundi, Bujumbura.

Rasmussen, B., Sheehan, P., Sweeny, K., Symons, J. and Maharah, N. 2019, Adolescent Investment Case Burundi: Estimating the Impacts of Social Sector Investments for Adolescents – Summary, VISES Report to UNICEF Burundi, Bujumbura.

Jones, R. and Symons, J. 2017, Sectoral and Regional Vulnerability Assessment for Victoria, Report to the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (Victoria), VISES, Victoria University, Melbourne, 107 pp.

Symons, J. 2017, Physical Inactivity Health Costs of Spatial Variations of Cycling in Melbourne, VISES Working Paper 55, Melbourne, VISES, Victoria University, Melbourne.

Symons, J. 2017, Bicycles and Agglomeration Economies: Implications for Melbourne’s Growth, VISES Working Paper 54, Melbourne, VISES, Victoria University, Melbourne.

Symons, J., Jones, R.N., Milne, R. and MacLeod, A. 2016, Economic Geography of Bushfire and Flood Vulnerability in Victoria at Statistic Local Area Scale, Report to Bushfire and Natural Hazards CRC, VISES, Victoria University, Melbourne, 77 pp.

Young, C., Symons, J. and Jones, R. 2016, Institutional Maps of Risk Ownership for Strategic Decision Making, Report to Bushfire and Natural Hazards CRC, VISES, Victoria University, June, 46 pp.

Young, C., Jones, R. and Symons, J. 2016, Mapping and Understanding Bushfire and Natural Hazard Vulnerability and Risks at the Institutional Scale, Annual Project Report 2015–2016, Report to Bushfire and Natural Hazards CRC, VISES, Victoria University, June, 18 pp.

Young, C., Symons, J. and Jones, R. 2016, Understanding Values at Risk And Risk Ownership: Workshop Synthesis Report, Bushfire and Natural Hazards CRC, VISES, Victoria University, June, 115 pp.

Howard, E., Symons, J., Sheehan, P. and Sweeny, K. 2015, Modelling the Impact of Interventions to Reduce Road Injuries, Adolescents 10-19 Years, Countdown Countries, Supporting Paper 7, UNFPA Project UNFPAUSA/14/037 Investment in Improving Health, Education and other Outcomes for Adolescents, VISES, Victoria University, Melbourne, December, 32 pp.

Jones, R.N., Young, C.K. and Symons, J. 2015, Mapping Values at Risk from Natural Hazards at Geographic and Institutional Scales: Framework Development, Report to Bushfire and Natural Hazards CRC, VISES, Victoria University, Melbourne, July, 37 pp.

Jones, R.N., Symons, J. and Young, C. K. 2015, Assessing the Economic Value of Green Infrastructure: Green Paper, Climate Change Working Paper No. 24, Victoria Institute of Strategic Economic Studies, Victoria University, Melbourne, 77 pp.

Symons, J., Jones, R.N., Young, C.K. and Rasmussen, B. 2015, Assessing the Economic Value of Green Infrastructure: Literature Review, Climate Change Working Paper No 23, VISES, Victoria University, Melbourne.

Young, C.K., Symons, J. and Jones, R.N. 2015, Investing in Growth: Understanding the Value of Green Infrastructure Workshop Report, Report to City of Melbourne, VISES, Victoria University, Melbourne.

Young, C.K., Symons, J. and Jones, R.N. 2015, Whose Risk is it Anyway? Desktop Review of Institutional Ownership of Risk Associated with Natural Hazards and Disasters, Report to Bushfire and Natural Hazards CRC, VISES, Victoria University, Melbourne.

Young, C.K, Symons, J. and Jones, R.N. 2014, Investing in Growth – Understanding the Value of Green Infrastructure: Workshop Report, VISES, Victoria University, Melbourne.

Swansson, J. and Symons, J. 2011, Energy Efficiency Opportunities Program Costs and Benefits, Sapere Research Group, Melbourne.

Sheehan, P., Rasmussen, B., Jolley, A., Symons, J., Parker, S. and Welsh, A. 2009, Transforming Rail: A Key Element in Australia’s Low Pollution Future, Report to the CRC Rail Innovation, Brisbane, CSES, Victoria University, Melbourne.

Symons, J. and Sheehan, P. 2009, Australian Transport Sector and Climate Change, CSES, Victoria University, Melbourne and CRC for Rail Innovation, Brisbane.

Symons, J. 2009, Social, Economic and Environmental Impacts of Modes, CSES, Victoria University, Melbourne and CRC for Rail Innovation, Brisbane.

Jolley, A., Symons, J. and Rasmussen, B. 2009, Freight Infrastructure Issues, CSES, Victoria University, Melbourne and CRC for Rail Innovation, Brisbane.

Symons, J. 2009, Operational and Transport Issues in Rail Passenger Transport, CSES, Victoria University, Melbourne and CRC for Rail Innovation, Brisbane.

Jolley, A. and Symons, J. 2009, Technology and Commercialisation Developments, CSES, Victoria University, Melbourne and CRC for Rail Innovation, Brisbane.