Autumn 2011

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Autumn 2011

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The Sustainability Research Centre (SRC) was established at the University of the Sunshine Coast (USC) in 2007. Our research niche is focused on the social dimensions of regional environmental change, particularly in the contexts of climate change adaptation and coastal management.

We presently have over 50 researchers comprising five core members, including a Director and two Associate Directors, affiliated Faculty staff, postdoctoral researchers, and adjunct staff. Twenty two PhD students are attached to the centre, as well as a research assistant and a volunteer. Current projects focus on coastal management, climate change adaptation, water management, natural and cultural heritage, and sustainable tourism.

Download the SRC Newsletter - Autumn 2011 (PDF 1.1MB).

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Sustainability Research Centre (SRC) highlights

  • The SRC has continued to work with the CSIRO Flagships (Wealth from Oceans, and Climate Adaptation) and other partner universities through two major CSIRO Collaboration Fund projects. This work has been complemented by research grants through the National Climate Change Adaptation Research Facility (NCCARF) and the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority for studies on climate change adaptation and marine stewardship. Further research in coastal and marine climate change has occurred through involvement in the Adaptation Research Network for Marine Biodiversity and Resources. This research is supplemented by an ARC Discovery grant on vulnerability to climate change (Griffith University, Flinders University and the University of the Sunshine Coast). We also continue to build our profile in water research through our involvement in the SmartWater research initiative.
  • USC, through the SRC, has formally agreed to cooperate in sustainability and climate change research with Oak Ridge National Laboratory, USA. A close relationship has also been developed between USC and the Ministry of Tourism in Cambodia, focused on sustainable tourism.
  • The SRC’s higher degree by research student number increased from 14 in 2009 to 22 in 2010, supported in whole or part by research grants and USC.
  • The SRC worked with the Sustainable Tourism Cooperative Research Centre established by the Australian Government’s Cooperative Research Centre, to draft a book on monitoring and reporting on sustainability of visitor use of protected areas.
  • NCCARF boothCore staff have recently presented at international conferences, as speakers, on sustainability related issues in Thailand, Indonesia, Cambodia, Japan, USA, Sweden and New Zealand. Postdoctoral fellows and higher degree students also presented at conferences in Africa, Thailand, France, Sweden and interstate.
  • A large percentage of staff are involved in the South East Queensland Climate Adaptation Research Initiative and attended the NCCARF’s conference on Climate Adaptation Futures held at the Gold Coast in July 2010. Two oral and five poster presentations were delivered. A collaborative research project entitled ‘Survey into the perceptions, understanding and reactions to climate change’ was conducted at the conference in collaboration with CSIRO, Southern Cross University, and scientists from the Southeast Climate.

Research grants

We have secured almost A$3million of competitive grants (mainly Category 1) since 2007, with a range of other proposals currently under consideration. Our partnerships continue to deepen and expand as we build a network to collaboratively address various sustainability issues in our area of focus.

Some of our projects are:

Project name Funded by
South East Queensland Climate Adaptation Research Initiative Commonwealth Scientific and Industry Research Organisation (CSIRO), Qld Govt and DCCEE
Processing of Canarium indicium nuts: Adapting and refining techniques to benefit farmers in the South Pacific Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR)
Review of Coastal Management Literature Sunshine Coast Council
National Climate Change Adaptation Research Network in Marine Biodiversity and Resources National Climate Change Adaptation Research Facility (NCCARF)
iClimate: a searchable database on climate change impacts and adaptation in Australia NCCARF
Transition Management: Enabling Science Impact in Australia’s Coastal Zone CSIRO

Completed projects include: the Adaptive Capacity Synthesis Project, Sustainability and Corporate Plan Indicators for the Sunshine Coast Council (SCC), Rethinking reconciliation and pedagogy in unsettling times, Indigenous attachment, engagement and protocol in natural and cultural heritage management, and Climate change in the Keppel Region: an analysis of stewardship potential.

Congratulations to PhD students who completed their doctorates in 2010

  • Dr Sonia Marshall: Enclosure settings and interpretation at aquaria to influence visitor response.
  • Dr Scott Leiske: Determining the relationship between urban form and the costs of public services.
New PhD students

The following students joined the Sustainability Research Centre in 2010 and 2011:

  • Sarah Adams, Canada
  • Ximena Arrango, Chile
  • Ashton Berry, Australia
  • Cimarron Corpe, Canada
  • Jiska deGroot, Holland
  • Kate English, United States
  • Carmen Erlick, Australia
  • Steven Gould, Australia
  • Judy Lawrence, New Zealand
  • Mohammed Latif Siddque, Bangladesh
  • Christine Slade, Australia
  • Craig Stephenson, Australia
  • Brian Stockwell, Australia
  • Scott Taylor, Australia/USA
  • Lavenia Tawake, Fiji
  • Colin Russo, Australia
  • Sabiha Zafrin, Bangladesh
  • Sarah Motha, South Africa
HDR student, Robert B. Mangoyana, ZimbabweFeatured HDR student
Robert B. Mangoyana, Zimbabwe

Robert B. Mangoyana is a Zimbabwean national researching the sustainability of biofuel systems. Robert worked in research and development in different capacities in the agricultural and forestry sectors of Zimbabwe for six years. During this time he led and contributed to projects which included feasibility assessments of sustainable utilisation and commercialisation of non-timber forestry products; and agricultural based rural development projects.

Following postgraduate studies, Robert held a Research and Teaching position at Mid Sweden University in Sweden and led consultancy work for a local Swedish energy organisation. He produced the report, 'Conventional two machines and harwarder systems compared for forest thinning: Carbon dioxide emissions, energy balance and cost analyses', and contributed to associated journal publications. Robert moved from Sweden to Australia to study at the University of the Sunshine Coast in 2008. He was attracted by the Sustainability Research Centre’s transdisciplinary approach to sustainability.

In his PhD work, Robert developed a conceptual framework for evaluating the sustainability of a community based decentralised biodiesel system. Robert is also working on the South East Queensland Climate Adaptation Research Initiative. He has also contributed to research on sustainability indicators and adaptive capacity to climate change. He is also working on the iClimate project with the objective of providing a database of ‘facts’ on climate change impacts in a user-friendly form to underpin adaptation planning in Australia.

Robert represents the Sustainability Research Centre on the Sunshine Coast Energy Transition Project Reference Group and has contributed to the Sunshine Coast Energy Transition Plan 2010–2020. Robert has also published on the sustainability of bioenergy systems.

Dr Marcus BusseyAwards

  • Professor Sohail Inayatullah is a Sustainability Research Centre Adjunct Professor who works with business, not-for-profit and government organisations in futures studies. Professor Inayatullah received one of four 2010 Laurel Awards for all-time best futurists, awarded by colleagues in the global Foresight Network Futures studies involves activism, research and citizen visioning. He facilitates discussions about how to achieve preferred future outcomes.
  • Dr Marcus Bussey won two awards in 2010. They are the Emerald Litarati Network 2010 Awards for Excellence for: ‘Six Shamanic Concepts: Charting the between in futures work’ in the journal Foresight (2009) 11(2), pp: 29-42 and the Association of Professional Futurists First Prize for an article by a PhD student (for the same article). Marcus coordinates the Graduate Certificate in Futures Studies and is involved in the South East Queensland Climate Adaptation Research Initiative.
  • Associate Professor Jennifer Carter was awarded the Vice Chancellor’s Medal for excellence in research and research training. This is the third year in a row that an SRC researcher has received the award.

Dr Stephen MyersNew staff member

Dr Stephen Myers

Stephen Myers is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the Sustainability Research Centre. Stephen completed his PhD at the Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane in 2004 in cancer research. During this time he was awarded a National Health and Medical Research Council 'Dora Lush' postgraduate scholarship. On completing his PhD, Stephen was awarded a University of Queensland Postdoctoral Fellowship and an Early Career Research Grant.

During Stephen’s postdoctoral position at UQ, he was actively involved in medical research, supervision of undergraduate and postgraduate students, and peer reviewing and preparing scientific manuscripts. Although medical science was fulfilling and still continues to be a part of Stephen’s interest, he realised that his passion for science was progressively heading toward the environmental arena. Having always had a keen interest in ocean and marine systems, Stephen embarked on a Masters in Environmental Management (distance study) while working full time to gain some experience in this discipline and a possible ‘foothold’ into a future environmental position.

Research at the SRC on sustainability in the context of coastal management and adaptive learning ‘sparked’ his interest and he made the decision to make the transition to this new field. After making contact with Professor Tim Smith, Stephen was convinced that he wanted to work at the SRC and contribute to the exciting research being done there. Stephen counts himself as very lucky to have opportunity to cross disciplines as a Postdoctoral Fellow to enter this exciting new field. Stephen currently is involved in NCCARF’s Marine Adaptation Network (Communities Theme) and the CSIRO Coastal Collaboration Cluster. Stephen joins the SRC with a keen interest in coastal management in the context of institutional and social adaptive capacity and learning from the impacts of climate change.

Partnerships

Examples of current research partners:

  • CSIRO (Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation)
  • NCCARF (National Climate Change Adaptation Research Facility)
  • SCC (Sunshine Coast Council)
  • Royal Cambodian Government Ministry of Tourism
  • Oak Ridge National Labs, USA 

New projects

Cambodian fisherman in coastal village.AusAID Australian Leadership Fellows Award

Researchers at the Sustainability Research Centre, through the University of the Sunshine Coast’s International Projects Group, have been awarded funding from AusAID’s Australian Leadership Award Fellowship program to bring 13 executives from Cambodia to learn from coastal zone management experiences in Australia.

The Fellows, including the Governors from the four coastal provinces of Cambodia, will begin in their study tour in August of 2011. The fellowship program will enable executive leaders to undertake a two-week professional learning program in sustainable coastal tourism policies and practices at USC.

Fellows include key leaders from the Royal Cambodian Government Ministry of Tourism. The program will address environmental dependent industries with a focus on developing community-based tourism polices and practices that will benefit coastal communities.

This intensive program will include site visits in Queensland to gain a deeper understanding of the protection of natural and cultural heritage resources along with lectures and workshops with industry leaders, policy makers and academics who are active and experienced in these areas.

iClimate

In July 2011, the Sustainability Research Centre in partnership with the CSIRO and University of Southern Queensland began a research project entitled: iClimate: a searchable database on climate change impacts and adaptation in Australia funded through NCCARF. The project will synthesise the climate change literature, both published and unpublished, to provide a database of ‘facts’ in a user-friendly form to underpin adaptation planning in Australia. Outcomes of the project will include reports in the form of consolidated set of ‘facts’; a literature search at global, national and regional scales; consultation with researchers, conservation managers, industries, businesses and government; and database design.

Recent publications

  • Smith, T.F., Myers, S., Thomsen, D.C., and Rosier, J. (2011). ‘Integrated coastal zone management and planning (Chapter 8)’. In W. Gullett, C. Schofield and J. Vince (Eds), Marine Resources Management, A comprehensive multidisciplinary analysis of Australia’s marine resource management challenges. LexisNexis Butterworths, Sydney, Australia.
  • Mangoyana, R., Smith, T.F. (2011). Decentralised bioenergy systems: A review of opportunities and threats, Energy Policy: Vol. 39, No. 3, pp.1286-1295.
  • Bussey, M.P., Bjurstrom, A. E. Sannum, M. (2011). Explorations in Intercultural Work Integrated Learning: Educational Process for a Topsy-Turvy World, Futures: the journal of policy, planning and futures studies: Vol. 43, No. 1, pp.39-47.
  • Keys, N., Thomsen, D.C., Smith, T.F. (2010). Opinion leaders and complex sustainability issues, Management of Environmental Quality: Vol. 21, No. 2, pp.187-197.
  • Baldwin, C., Chandler, L. (2010). “At the water’s edge”: Community voices on climate change. Local Environment: the international journal of justice and sustainability: Vol. 15, No. 7, pp.637-649.
  • Bussey, M.P. (2010). Resistance is not futile: Escaping the integral trap, Futures: the journal of policy, planning and futures studies: Vol. 42, No. 2, pp.110-114.
  • Smith, T.F., Lynam, T., Preston, B., Matthews, J.M., Carter, R.W., Thomsen, D.C., Carter, J., Roiko, A.H., Simpson, R.W., Waterman, P., Bussey, M.P., Keys, N., Stephenson, C. (2010). Towards Enhancing Adaptive Capacity for Climate Change Response in South East Queensland, Australasian Journal of Disaster and Trauma Studies: Vol. 2010-1.
  • Cook, C.N., Hockings, M, Carter, R.W. (2010). Conservation in the dark? The information used to support decisions, Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment: Vol. 8, No. 4, pp.181-186.
  • Stephenson, C.A., Mangoyana, R., Carter, R.W., Smith, T.F. (2010). Regional Sustainability Indicators for the Sunshine Coast. Unpublished report by the Sustainability Research Centre prepared for the Sunshine Coast Council. University of the Sunshine Coast, Sippy Downs, 60p.
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