Delivering solutions to future proof regional and rural communities

Unique in our capacity to generate value for community, industry and government partners, we are:

  • internationally recognised research leaders in water, climate adaptation, soil science, innovative agriculture, aquatic ecology, smart sensing, and regional economic development
  • renowned for our ability to identify challenges and develop technology-driven solutions
  • respected for our capacity to connect cutting-edge science with expertise in regional development, supply chain and logistics, technology, and predictive modelling
  • distinguished for our strengths in developing collaborative industry and government partnerships and building robust regional and rural communities.

Research areas

Global changes in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, increasing climate variability, geopolitical shifts, and rapid economic development in Asia present significant opportunities to attract investment in new and expanded industries to support our regions' future growth and prosperity.

The major drivers of this growth align directly with the CeRRF research focus areas.

Effective and efficient water use

We combine high-level expertise in water research and engineering, sensor technologies, IoT, predictive modelling and aquatic ecology to develop solutions that maximise the value of limited water resources for all users and secure supplies for sustainable growth.

Enabling technology

We drive innovation, developing translational and transformative technology platforms that underpin next-generation smart systems. Our lab-on-a-chip technology, sensor and drone monitoring systems, and novel indicator systems boost efficiency and performance, advancing regional and rural industries and communities.

Regional competitiveness

We identify and facilitate opportunities for large-scale private sector investment aligned with regions' competitive and comparative advantages.

Better products and services

We develop new and enhanced products and services, and more efficient processes, to promote growth and productivity.

Sustainable environment

We recognise the interrelated nature of regional economies and their environments and seek to ensure that both thrive. We integrate knowledge from science, engineering and economics to manage the challenges and impacts of environmental change, identifying mechanisms to maximise the environmental value of land and water in the context of a working landscape.

Help us transform regional and rural communities

With a PhD from CeRRF, you’ll take advantage of our transdisciplinary research approach that brings together the best researchers and industry experts to solve problems.

Join CeRRF's progressive PhD and research degree program at the #1 ranked university in Victoria for educational experience.

Despite their richness in land and resources, Australia's regions do not fare nearly as well as its cities. Sparsely populated, they are impacted by low GDP growth and face environmental degradation and climate change challenges. There is a huge opportunity to lift regional prosperity; science and technology provide the pathways to improved social, economic, cultural and environmental health. This is our mission.

Professor Rebecca Lester

Director, Centre for Regional and Rural Futures

Our transdisciplinary approach

We draw on research and innovation capabilities across our focus areas to lead integrated regional development and adaptation to future climates.

Integrated regional development

Our unique economic development model uses transdisciplinary research to identify projects that attract substantial investment, and generates innovative agricultural solutions and quadruple-bottom-line benefits in our regions and rural areas.

Adaptation to future climates

Working across all levels of communities and governments to understand the implications of future climates, we develop scientific and applied outputs that drive practice change at farming and regional levels in Australia, southeast Asia and South America. Our knowledge of water markets informs research on carbon sequestration and trading to support Australia's transition to 'net zero' emissions.

Our research groups

Our Centre has seven specialist research groups led by some of Australia's foremost experts in aquatic ecosystem management, irrigation and water use, smart sensing, soil health, environmental remediation, sustainable regional development, and economic futures.

Quantitative Aquatic Ecosystem Laboratory

Led by prize-winning freshwater ecologist and aquatic ecosystem management expert Professor Rebecca Lester, the Quantitative Aquatic Ecosystem Laboratory aims to understand and manage aquatic resources, and to facilitate better environmental outcomes while maintaining socioeconomic use now and under future climates.

Griffith Irrigation Research Group

Irrigation and drainage engineer Professor John Hornbuckle heads the Griffith Irrigation Research Group based at Australia's only dedicated Irrigation Research Laboratory. The group is focused on improving water use productivity and nutrient use efficiency in irrigated agricultural systems, and minimising irrigation's environmental impact.

Smart Sensing Group

Led by award-winning smart sensors expert Professor Rosanne Guijt, the Smart Sensing Group develops small, manufacturable technologies for sensing and separation to improve productivity, support disease prevention, and facilitate early detection of environmental and ecological threats.

Soil Health Group

The Soil Health Group, led by Professor Lambert Brau, focuses on understanding agroecology to develop modern, sustainable farming practices that improve soil health for cropped plants.

Environmental Remediation Group

Led by Professor Chua Xia Lin, the Environmental Remediation Group investigates new options to reduce contamination in soil and water.

Sustainable Regional Development

Led by climate change adaptation specialist Associate Professor Robert Faggian, the Sustainable Regional Development Group investigates the regional impacts of climate change on agricultural and related systems, explores associated opportunities, and develops practical responses including adaptation and regional development planning.

Economic Futures Group

Under the leadership of government relations and regional development expert and strategist David Downie, the Economic Futures Group aims to facilitate long-term economic, social and environmental sustainability for our regions by developing investment pathways aligned with their competitive and comparative advantages.

Featured projects

CeRRF’s research has informed Victorian and Australian agricultural policy and practice, and our research projects are designed to provided creative solutions to the issues facing regional and rural communities at national and international levels.

Victorian Drought Hub

Victorian Drought Hub

As a key partner in the $8 million Victorian Drought Resilience Adoption and Innovation Hub, we work with government, universities and farming groups to stem the impacts of drought. We draw on our expertise in climate adaptation and drought management, irrigation and water use, smart sensing, regional scenario planning and strategic design to equip farming communities with knowledge, technologies and practices to adapt to the State's changing climate. The Hub is one of eight established under the Australian Government’s $5 billion Future Drought Fund.

Murray Darling Basin

Murray Darling Basin

The plight of the agriculturally significant and ecologically devastated Murray-Darling Basin is a major focus for our researchers. Australia’s largest river system, which spans three states and includes six of its seven longest rivers, has been ravaged by drought and the onset of climate change, which have severely impacted water quality and native fauna. We are developing a basin-wide ecological response model and capability to assess the impact of climate adaptation, providing decision makers with new tools to gauge the value of water delivered to the environment.

Our partnerships

We are a trusted partner of industry, government, philanthropic and community organisations, and have long-standing connections with internationally and nationally recognised research institutions in relation to freshwater ecology, irrigation and water use, smart sensors and beyond.

Contact us to find out how we can work together

Join us

If you'd like to study with us, collaborate with us, or learn more about our research, we'd love to hear from you. Have a question? Get in touch with the team.

General enquiries
+61 3 5247 9265

Deakin University
75 Pigdons Road
Waurn Ponds VIC 3216