Research hubs

Research hubs are one of the ways we partner and collaborate with universities, research centres and other scientific organisations.

The Bushfire Risk Management Research Hub

Crowdy Bay National Park, bushfireThe NSW Government launched the Bushfire Risk Management Research Hub in February 2018 to research ways to improve fire management strategies, and reduce the risk bushfires pose to people, property and the environment.

The University of Wollongong will host the new Hub for the next five years, leading a team of world-class experts from Western Sydney University, University of New South Wales and University of Tasmania.

Newsletter

Sign up for the Hub’s upcoming six-monthly newsletter, which covers the latest research outcomes of the Hub.

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Key research projects

The Bushfire Risk Management Research Hub has 6 projects:

Led by Professor David Bowman from the University of Tasmania, this project will create a dynamic fire regime database and management decision support tools. The suite of tools will enhance predictive, real-time fire behaviour modelling for firefighting and will lead to the creation of generic 'rules of thumb' that help managers understand the effects of wild and planned fires and fire regimes across New South Wales. The tools will have a user-friendly interface, including smart phone applications that allow non-specialists to interrogate the database.

Led by Associate Professor Mattias Boer from Western Sydney University, this project will develop the framework to predict spatiotemporal variation in fuel composition, structure, accumulation and moisture content within broad fuel types of New South Wales. This information will help us better predict when fires will occur and how bad they will be.

Led by the University of Wollongong, this project will examine the impact planned fires have on greenhouse gases and air quality. Fires can contribute to episodes of poor air quality which pose a significant risk to human health. Such episodes are known to increase cardiovascular and respiratory hospitalisations and even premature deaths. The project will use the results to derive fire management methods that mitigate greenhouse gases and reduce the impact on air quality.

Led by Professor David Keith from the University of New South Wales, this project will fill key knowledge gaps relevant to fire management for biodiversity conservation in New South Wales. Biodiversity is critical to healthy ecosystems and a key foundation of the environmental, social and economic well-being of New South Wales. This project will expand and improve the database for the NSW Thresholds of Potential Concern management framework. The database will be updated to include sensitivity information for a range of indicative species and cover fire regime components such as seasonality, severity and spatial configuration not currently covered. This information is critical to fulfil our statutory responsibilities for threatened species conservation.

Led by the University of Wollongong, this project will work with indigenous groups and the wider community to assess the health and social benefits and costs of cultural burning. The research will examine compatibility with existing planned burning programs and identify areas that are barriers to the success and expansion of these programs. This information will build momentum and funding to support further development of Aboriginal fire management capacity and enhancement of its contribution to mainstream fire management.

This project, supported by the knowledge base enhanced by the first 5 projects, will derive optimal strategies for use of planned fire in a changing climate. The project led by the Professor Ross Bradstock from the University of Wollongong, will derive the most cost-effective management methods to achieve acceptable trade-offs between risk mitigation for life and property, human health and the environment.

The Energy Efficiency Research Hub

Solar panels at DeBortoli Wines, Griffith, NSW

The Energy Efficiency Research Hub is a collaboration between the Office of Environment and Heritage (OEH), NSW universities and research institutions, which maximises co-investment in priority research topics.

The Hub will draw on academic resources and funding to conduct, collect and disseminate energy efficiency research.

The Hub is designed to deliver NSW specific research, which identifies new greenhouse gas emissions reduction and energy saving opportunities. The NSW Government has currently invested $600,000 to fund new energy and resource efficiency research over the next two years.

An evidence base

OEH recognises that a strong evidence base is needed to assess the impact of energy efficiency policies and programs in NSW. Any research commissioned by the Hub is tied to NSW Government operational and policy priorities, including OEH strategic knowledge needs.

Energy Efficiency Decision Making Node

Led by the Cooperative Research Centre for Low Carbon Living, this node will focus on decision making of New South Wales consumers and suppliers about energy efficiency. This node is a consortium that includes the University of Wollongong, University of New South Wales and CSIRO.

Newsletter

Sign up for the Hub’s upcoming bi-monthly newsletter, which covers the latest research outcomes of the Hub.

The information you provide in this form will only be used for the purpose for which it was collected. By submitting, you consent to storage, use, and disclosure of your personal information in accordance with our privacy policy. You can request access and amendment of your personal information.

NSW Adaptation Research Hub

The NSW Climate Adaptation Research Hub is a 5-year research collaboration between OEH and research institutions on climate change and adaptation science.

Phase one of the Hub includes three key research nodes that address these key priority research areas:

  • Biodiversity
  • Coastal Processes and Responses
  • Adaptive Communities

The node hosts include UNSW, UTS, Macquarie University, the Sydney Institute of Marine Science and the CSIRO.

They collaborate with OEH to study the impacts of climate change in NSW and develop potential adaptation responses; including strategies for coastal communities to adapt to sea level rise, pilot plans to respond to heatwaves and improve the resilience of the built environment through urban green cover.

A fourth research node is being established to investigate human health and social impacts.

Newsletter and more information

For more information about the Hub and to sign up for the hub’s quarterly newsletter visit Adaptation Research Hub.

The newsletter covers the latest research outcomes and general climate change adaptation news from across NSW.