Collaboration to explore what we know about our coasts

14 May 2010

As part of the recently launched $11 million CSIRO Flagship Coastal Collaboration Cluster, Deakin University researchers will be investigating how knowledge about Australia’s coastal areas is gathered and exchanged by different stakeholder groups.

The cluster, which is being led by Curtin University of Technology, aims to "develop approaches to better connect science with governments, communities and industries" in meeting the challenges facing coastal areas. Researchers from CSIRO and seven universities across Australia will be involved, working on five research themes.

The Deakin researchers are working on the Knowledge Systems theme with colleagues from the University of Tasmania. Leader of the Deakin team, Associate Professor Kevin O’Toole, said it was very exciting to be involved with the cluster.

“This is a major three-year research program that defines itself as seeking to help Australians sustain our coastline for future generations by enabling them to make better use of the knowledge produced by scientific research,” he said.

“In the knowledge theme we will focus on specific coastal issues to try and draw out how different knowledge frameworks are created and used. This will help us to understand how the processes involved in knowledge exchange between stakeholders and groups affect decision making about coastal management.

“For instance, we will be looking at issues such as how economic factors affect the ability and willingness of decision-makers to act on the basis of scientific and other evidence about climate change.”

Associate Professor O’Toole said the program was a true collaboration – not just in name, but in nature.

“Being involved with the cluster is a great opportunity for collaboration across Deakin faculties and schools as well as with other universities in Australia.

“The members of the Deakin team represent a truly interdisciplinary approach to the research – we have experts in marine science, politics, environmental and wildlife management, economics, coastal policy, and sociology.”

The Deakin researchers and their colleagues from the University of Tasmania will primarily be studying and comparing knowledge systems in three regions: Victoria’s Portland Basin and the Huon-Derwent area and Cradle Coast in Tasmania.

The members of the Deakin team are: Associate Professor Kevin O’Toole, Dr Anna Macgarvey, Dr Anne Wallis, Associate Professor Geoff Wescott, Professor Gerry Quinn, Associate Professor Monica Keneley, Dr Helen Scarborough and Dr Kelly Miller.

The cluster is funded through CSIRO’s Flagship Collaboration Fund, which facilitates involvement of the wider Australian research community in addressing the nation's most significant challenges and opportunities. Flagship Clusters are three-year partnerships between Flagships, universities and other public research agencies.

News facts
  • Major three-year research program
  • Aims to better connect science with governments, communities and industries in meeting coastal challenges
  • Deakin team represents a truly interdisciplinary approach

Media contact

Vanessa Barber
Deakin Media Relations
03 5227 1301; 0488 292 644

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14th May 2010