From the CEO - Our Science Plan

Sunday 21 June, 2015

We live in a time when there’s never been better access to knowledge and information and yet there is much we still need to know.

CEO Gerard O'Neill. Photo by Bec Walton.CEO, Gerard O'Neill. Photo Peter Morris.

Scientists and researchers remain the key to better informed decisions – which is why we’ve developed our 10-year Science Plan – a blueprint to build knowledge, leverage our efforts and expand our science capacity.

We use science to inform decisions about where to work, which species and ecosystems to protect, and the most effective ways to manage issues such as fire, weeds and feral animals.

We’re already investing strongly and providing leadership in this area, yet there are some big challenges ahead.

Most notably, we need to ensure we have the information to respond to future challenges such as climate change, species recovery and changing ecologies (invasive buffel grass across the inland for example).

One of the ways we plan to do this is by collaboration. We already have many long-standing research partners, such as Professor Chris Dickman and his University of Sydney ‘Ratcatchers’ who’ve been regular visitors to the Queensland desert at Ethabuka for over 25 years. We also partner with post-graduate science students, who contribute specific expertise to research all around the country. We have a story that will introduce you to some of these remarkable young students and their work.

Our Science and Research Manager, Dr Jim Radford, has also outlined exactly how we’ll expand our science program and the main areas of research focus. It’s a bold, ambitious vision and one I look forward to seeing implemented.

I also want to acknowledge the importance of NAIDOC week in our calendar. It’s coming up in the first week of July and this year’s theme is particularly resonant for us: We all stand on sacred ground.

In the area of conservation and land management the Aboriginal and Islander communities have a vital role to play with generations of accumulated knowledge. Our approach has always been to work with and alongside Traditional Owners – traditional practices and local knowledge are often highly complementary to our science-based approach.

Our partnerships with groups such as Wunambal Gaambera in the Kimberley, Warddeken in Arnhem Land and newer partnerships with Bunuba and Birriliburu in Western Australia exemplify this approach.

Stay in touch via our website and social media during NAIDOC week, and join us in reflecting on how important these enduring relationships are for a healthy and sustainable future.

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Gerard O'Neill, CEO

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