Dr Gopalkrishnan was the Founding Director of the Centre for Multicultural and Community Development, at the University of the Sunshine Coast, unique in Australia in bringing together the dual focus on cultural diversity and community development and undertaking groundbreaking work in research, development and training. Narayan has also coordinated and taught in courses in community development, counselling, health, globalisation, social disadvantage, sociology of knowledge, group work, social change, social planning, communication and thought, and social policy. He has been a visiting scholar in different universities around the world including Africa and Asia.
He has extensive publications in scholarly journals relating to his research interests including publications for bodies such as UNESCO and UNU. Narayan is an engaged scholar. He has been one of the founding members of a major NGO, the Multicultural Development Association, the primary provider of settlement services in Brisbane and Toowoomba. He was a member of the Multicultural Community Ministerial Advisory Committee to the Minister of Disability Services and Multiculturalism, Queensland.