Researcher biography

Saphira is a Senior Lecturer (Assistant Professor) in Sustainable Finance at The University of Queensland, Australia, and has a PhD in Finance. She is a world-leading scholar in the field of corporate Paris Compliance measurement and is a leading academic involved in developing science-based emission reduction methodologies.

Saphira's research focuses on tools to measure and verify the efficacy of decarbonisation commitments by corporations and financial institutions, a cross-disciplinary research area of increasing global relevance. During her 4 month secondment at Princeton University in 2019 she co-developed the Rapid Switch Australia project, as part of the Princeton-led Rapid Switch initiative. She now leads the Are You Paris Compliant program, composed of academics from UQ, Oxford and Princeton, which evaluates the alignment of companies and investment portfolios with the Paris Agreement. Saphira is a member of the Technical Working Group of the Science Based Targets initiative for the oil and gas sector, where she continues to advise and develop appropriate methodologies for science-based targets, as well as the Scientific Advisory Group. She has also been a key contributor to the EU climate benchmarking regulation, which her contribution to quantifying the benchmark is still intact after several revisions and is one of the key outcomes of the new regulation. Saphira's research is cross-disciplinary and she has published in high impact journals such Nature Climate Change and Nature Communications, as well as several other highly ranked academic journals. Her 2022 article in Nature Communications has gained global attention and led to a collaborative project with Norges Bank Investment Management, which manages one of the largest funds globally, to evaluate the steel sector on their Paris Compliance. She has ongoing collaborations with numerous industry partners and is a CI on six successful grants (total $780,074.26).

Saphira has received several awards; most recently she received the “Best Paper Award 2021” from the highly ranked journal Business & Society; she received the “UQBS Excellence in Innovation” Award for co-leading Australia’s first Carbon Literacy course; she won the UN Responsible Investment’s essay competition in 2018 (on the integration of responsible investment in financial education); the UQ Business School 2017 Teaching Award (Tutor) and she was a recipient of the prestigious International Post-graduate Research Scholarships for her PhD in 2014. Saphira is passionate about teaching; her teaching evaluations are consistently outstanding, she has participated in four Student-Staff Partnership projects, designed a core first year finance course, and has been actively supervising honours, Masters and PhD students, as well as post-doctorals and student industry projects. She is also a regular panellist at conferences and forums such as the European Commission Conference on Sustainable Finance and the Princeton E-ffiliates Retreat.

Saphira is also the selected UQ academic staff representative for Unisuper (188/211 votes) since 2020; she intensively coached a team of UQ students that won second place in the Global Business Challenge in 2019 ($15,000); she advocated for, and integrated, Environmental, Social and Governance factors in the Student Management Investment Fund and served as ESG advisor prior to co-leading the fund. She serves as a regular reviewer for the top-journals Nature Climate Change, Nature Sustainability and Nature Communications.