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Roger Charles   Cowell

Independent researcher
rccHorizonScanning (self-employed researcher-writer)
rccHorizonScanning (United Kingdom)
I speak in the following language(s): English, Tonga (Tonga Islands), Maori, French, German

I was born and grew up in New Zealand. In 1968 I applied for the New Zealand Volunteers Service Abroad school leaver programme, and was accepted on it. On leaving school I went to the Oceanic Kingdom of Tonga, and taught in a village school on Tongatapu for one year. It was a formative year for me. I lived with a Tongan family and learnt Tongan, which I speak still.

Returning from Tonga, I enrolled at Auckland University, and majored in Anthropology and History, with minors in Maori Studies and Sociology. After completing my BA, I undertook postgraduate studies in Adelaide. I interrupted these studies in 1975, and moved to England. I have been in England most of the time since 1975, during which I qualified and worked as a registered nurse, and worked as a knowledge manager and knowledge broker at the University of Leeds from 2001 to 2010. Since 2010 I have been self employed.

Over the past forty years I have returned regularly to New Zealand, and frequently to Tonga, too. I have maintained a keen interest in Oceania, particularly Tongan History,, oral traditions, social and political change.
Member of
European Society for Oceanists (ESfO)
Geographic administrative areas
Historical periods
Ancestral Oceania
First and Early contacts
20th century
21st century
Indigenous languages
Tongan, Maori
  • Masters Research (1974 to 1978)
    Local and National Identity in Tonga — University of Adelaide
    A study of the relationship between local identity and national political development in Tonga, combining historical archive research, fieldwork and oral history. I submitted the dissertation in 1978, but it required major changes that I was unable to do.
  • Academic Position (1974)
    Temporary, part time tutor, Anthropology — University of Adelaide
    Weekly tutorial groups in new Anthropology Department, assessment and marking of assignments, special lectures on Polynesian urban experience in Aucjland, New Zealand, and on Tongan Art.
  • Field Research (1975)
    Local identity in Tonga — University of Adelaide
    I was resident in Houma, Tongatapu, observing daily life in the village, and discussing oral traditions, titles and Ethnohistory with specific title holders and others. The research was foreshortened when I contracted dengue fever.
  • Applied Research (2001 to 2010)
    Admin, knowledge management and knowledge brokering — School of Healthcare Business School, University of Leeds
    Over a period of 9 years I developed a small, part time admin role into a 0.6 WTE post undertaking horizon scanning and development of knowledge resources for academic research and lecturing staff in 3 policy and practice development centres.
  • Collaborative Project (2006 to 2008)
    Repository Project — Canadian Health Services Research Foundation, Ottawa
    Working remotely and in several short (2 week) visits to Ottawa, I co-led the design and maintenance of an on line repository of resources related to knowledge brokering in health settings, and the sourcing of new resources, using a template I designed.
  • Masters Research (2007 to 2009)
    Masters by Work-based Learning — Centre for Development of Healthcare Policy
    Masters programme, grounded on research theory and methods modules, and a dissertation on developing a strategy to develop knowledge brokering in my workplace, and the university.
  • Consulting Work (2010 to Now)
    Knowledge brokering — University of Leeds and various
    Designing email newsletters, study briefings and on line resources for several centres, mainly at the University of Leeds.
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    Some figures...

    The database of experts counts today 1236 profiles, of which 593 are publicly accessible, while 643 have chosen to remain private.

    These persons have defined 747 unique keywords in which they situate their research interests and expertise.

    They have also defined and described 648 'experiences' (research and teaching activities, consulting work, or applied projects) in which they have contributed.