NSW Koala Research Plan

There is still a lot to learn about koalas in New South Wales and improving our knowledge is key to informing effective conservation actions. To address knowledge gaps and better protect koalas in the wild, up to $2.8 million has been committed to fund koala focused research.

Setting out research priorities

Under the NSW Koala Strategy (the strategy), we are taking action to conserve koalas. To support this conservation action, we are improving our knowledge of koalas through priority research. This will help us ensure policy development and conservation decisions are based on the best available information.

The NSW Koala Research Plan sets out clear priorities for research on koalas over the next 10 years.

Up to $2.8 million has been committed under the strategy to fund koala research proposals between 2019 and 2022. This funding is part of the $44.7 million that is being delivered through the strategy, that will help stabilise and increase koala numbers in New South Wales.


A 10-year plan to coordinate research on koalas

Building our knowledge is one of the 4 pillars of the strategy. The strategy sets out the first phase of actions to stabilise koala populations in New South Wales. Improving our knowledge on koala location, numbers, habitat and threats is key to informing how we can protect koala populations.

The NSW Koala Research Plan sets out a targeted and coordinated way for us to increase our knowledge of koalas. It is a 10-year plan that will be regularly reviewed and updated throughout its life.

The NSW Koala Research Plan:

  • Identifies and prioritises key knowledge gaps. A key knowledge gap is one that, as a result of being addressed through research, will likely increase the effectiveness of koala conservation actions and/or their likelihood of implementation.
  • Outlines the process by which research grant applications will be sourced, including assessment criteria.
  • Outlines how progress and outputs of the individual research projects will be monitored and evaluated.
  • Outlines how progress and outputs of the research plan will be monitored, evaluated and revised over the life of the plan.

Koala Research Symposia will be held every 2 years to provide an opportunity for a broad range of stakeholders to review the progress of research initiated under the NSW Koala Research Plan and to have input into any change of research priorities.

Current research funded through the NSW Koala Research Plan

In response to a call for proposals released in early 2019, 38 research projects were submitted. Proposals were evaluated following the process outlined in the NSW Koala Research Plan.

Grants have been awarded to 10 projects, with a total value of $1.93 million. The projects are listed below.

The remaining allocated funds will be spent in future years following the next koala Research Symposium in 2020.

Organisation Project title Lead Researcher Funding awarded
Australian Museum Research Institute, Australian Museum Genetic management of threatened koala populations: using exome sequencing to define meaningful conservation goals Matthew Lott $56,490
Endeavour Veterinary Ecology Pty. Ltd. Koala Translocation Review and Recommendations – Investigation for NSW OEH Jon Hanger $97,980
NSW Department of Primary Industries Assessing koala occupancy in private native forests of north-east NSW Brad Law $124,356
Science for Wildlife A cross-disciplinary approach to characterising koala population status, landscape and climate refugia across the Blue Mountains region, to inform long-term management Kellie Leigh $281,725
The University of Queensland Maximising outcomes for koalas from private land conservation investment, including climate change considerations Jonathan Rhodes $266,696
University of Sydney Impacts and drivers of chlamydial disease in the koala: relationships between the host, pathogen and environment Damien Higgins $113,080
University of Sydney Vaccination against Chlamydiosis: An effective disease management tool in wild populations? Mark Krockenberger $363,208
University of the Sunshine Coast Improving anti-chlamydial responses in NSW koalas with a Chlamydia-Koala retrovirus combination vaccine Bonnie Quigley and Peter Timms $150,000
University of Technology Sydney New and improved chlamydial treatment to reduce disease burden Wilhelmina Huston $70,000
Western Sydney University Understanding and mapping how thermal and dietary constraints combine to restrict koala habitat and determine refugia Ben Moore $409,800