Owen is a senior research fellow at the Centre for Environmental Risk Management of Bushfires, where he leads the Bushfire Risk Research Hub work package 3 researching air quality in prescribed fires.
Owen was born in Devon (UK) in 1964 and studied a degree in Biology and a Masters in Information Technology. He then worked as a research assistant at the Zoology department of the University of Cambridge. After moving to Darwin in 1992 with his Aussie partner, he worked for the Northern Territory Parks and Wildlife Commission for 13 years on such diverse projects as land use planning, fire ecology and wildlife survey on aboriginal lands. Along the way, he completed a PhD on the movement patterns of fruit-eating birds through the Australian National University.
Since 2007 he has worked at the bushfire centre at the University of Wollongong, researching a variety of topics around mitigating bushfire hazards. Most importantly, he has pioneered empirical research on the effectiveness of prescribed burning. In recent years, this has expanded to measuring and understanding the impact of prescribed burns on air quality.
He has written or co-written 96 peer-reviewed papers and 40 reports.