Helen Murphy collaborated with UNRISD on the project Potential and Limits of Social and Solidarity Economy, for which she authored a think piece. Earlier, she also collaborated on Social Dimensions of Green Economy and Sustainable Development (2011-2012). For the project she spoke at the UNRISD conference on the issue held in October 2011 and authored the occasional paper Payment for Ecosystem Services Markets on Aboriginal Land in Cape York Peninsula Potential and Constraints (2012, No. 6).
At the time of her collaboration with UNRISD, she was a PhD student at the School of Earth and Environmental Sciences, James Cook University. Her research has focused on issues related to international development in South-East Asia and she was at the time writing her dissertation on Australian indigenous social enterprise development in remote regions. She was also involved in research projects at the Cape York Institute focusing on indigenous participation in Payment for Ecosystem Services markets.