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USC to host national climate change research network

USC has been selected to host an important national research network that will help Australians – particularly those living in the coastal zone – prepare for and adapt to climate change.

USC’s Sustainability Research Centre will host one of four National Climate Change Adaptation Research Facility (NCCARF) networks. The USC-based network will specifically focus on the social, economic and institutional dimensions of climate change adaptation.

USC will partner with the University of Adelaide, University of Canberra, Murdoch University, Swinburne University of Technology and Girringun Aboriginal Corporation to maintain research in adaptation and strengthen the capacity of communities to use this research.

To be convened by USC Sustainability Research Centre Director Professor Tim Smith, the hub has received a $395,000 Commonwealth Government research grant and USC will contribute an additional $100,000.

Professor Smith said the network aimed to boost innovative research activities and applications across five themes: industry, government, Indigenous, non-government organisations (NGOs) and governance integration.

“We’ll be focused on the coastal zone, collaborating with knowledge providers and disseminating adaptation research findings to those who need it,” he said.

Professor Smith said the network would review the current national adaptation research plan and demonstrate how priorities were changing as knowledge advanced.

“We want to build adaptation capacity in Australia but also share insights internationally.”

USC’s Dr Dana Thomsen will lead the NGOs theme. Other theme leaders are: industry – Professor John Fien (Swinburne); government – Professor Barbara Norman (University of Canberra); Indigenous – Dr Melissa Nursey-Bray (Adelaide) and Phil Rist (Girringun Aboriginal Corporation); and governance integration – Dr Rochelle Spencer and Dr Martin Brueckner (Murdoch).

A priority of the network will be developing an interactive website focused on the interpretation and application of research findings, with downloadable content including fact sheets, graphics and resource links. It will facilitate interactions between researchers and stakeholders at local, state and national levels.

The consortium brings together representatives from the Regional Universities Network, Group of Eight, Innovative Research Universities, and Australian Technology Network.

Partners span Queensland, the Australian Capital Territory, Victoria, South Australia and Western Australia. Two of them, USC and Murdoch, are foundation partners in NCCARF.

The partners represent several fields of research that are relevant to the social, economic and institutional dimensions of climate change adaptation, including: human geography, planning, Indigenous studies, economics, business, social ecology, politics, anthropology, institutional analysis, and education.

— Julie Schomberg

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