Student profile

Student Profile: Mui Nguyen

Mui Nguyen

19 April 2023

Past experience of drought, drought risk perception, and climate mitigation and adaptation decisions

I am originally from Vietnam, in the northern part which is near the beaches. During my undergraduate degree, I studied Economics at Vietnam National University which increased my interest in economics and research in the next steps in my career. I continued on to a Master’s degree in Italy with 1 year of Erasmus and exchange in Germany. I studied at the University of Trento which lies in the South Tyrol area of South Italy, with a lot of beautiful mountains and lakes around. In Germany, I studied at the University of Jena which belongs to the Thüringen area. After graduating, I went back to Vietnam to work as a research analyst. I love playing with data, finding solutions, and bringing ideas from the side of an analyst to both the research and business area.

After more than 3 years working in Vietnam, I decided to do a PhD at Victoria University of Wellington under the supervision of Ilan Noy. I started my PhD in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic when everything was shut down and I could not go to New Zealand. After 1.5 years of troubles related to the border closure, I finally landed in New Zealand on May 11, 2022.

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Mui on one of her adventures.

Apart from science and research, I love traveling and am keen on different cultures. I have traveled to 20 countries and spent one month doing volunteering in the Kibera slums in Kenya, Africa. Besides that, I love photography and making videos. I have a YouTube channel in Vietnamese, for me to share my experience and life with others. These hobbies help me a lot to relieve stress and balance my life with the PhD journey.

My Project

My project focuses on analyzing the perception of farmers in New Zealand regarding future drought risk as shaped by climatic change, and the implications of these perceptions for climate mitigation and adaptation actions that these farmers choose to pursue. The policy options examined include reducing greenhouse gas emissions, strengthening climate resilience, and using water resources more efficiently. We found that almost all farmers in New Zealand expect an increase in drought frequency and intensity by 2050 and that social characteristics have an influence on both their perception and mitigation and adaptation decisions.

This project is being done with a dataset from Landcare Research and drought data from NIWA. I have been working on a similar project on Vietnamese farmers and am extending this to look at non-farmers (using the NZ General Social Survey).

Next Steps

I believe that understanding how drought risk perceptions are shaped, and specifically their role in determining mitigation and adaptation decisions, may shed some useful light that can improve policy responses to the risks of droughts and climate change more broadly.

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