Maximising the level of collaboration within the Hub was a feature of the annual project leaders’ meeting held in Brisbane last month.
Each of the project leaders presented a short synopsis on the progress of their research, and the ideas and conversations each sparked were significant.
“The breadth of research in the project updates highlighted enormous opportunity for linkages and collaborations, which was just what we’d hoped to see,” says Professor Hugh Possingham who was overseeing his final meeting in the role of Hub Director.
It also brought to light a desire to see a more regular cross-fertilisation of projects - an idea that will be considered in future planning.
“There is a genuine desire among project leaders to connect with other projects. Strong connectivity between projects provides opportunities to streamline data collection and engage more efficiently with managers” says Brendan Wintle, who will assume the role of acting Hub Director in September.
Attendees also received a valuable overview of the NESP program from Juanita Watters, Department of the Environment and Energy, who reinforced the need for demonstrable uptake of high quality science and the use of evidence - generated by the Hub - in management, decision-making and policy. The Department’s Peter Lyon provided an overview of ERIN activities and opportunities for integrating Hub research outputs into agency decision support tools, with a particular focus on spatial data.
The Hub’s indigenous engagement, communications, and data management strategies were also discussed, and researchers encouraged to read and understand each of them in developing and undertaking their projects.
Ideas to assist project leaders and theme leaders in ensuring meaningful indigenous engagement and participation opportunities throughout their projects were put forward, and Professor Stephen Garnett encouraged all to prioritise indigenous engagement in both the design and delivery of each project.
“We are in the process of appointing an indigenous liaison officer. This will be an extremely valuable resource for all Hub projects,” says Stephen.
Management of data was a hot topic for many of the project leaders and the leadership group will continue to work closely with the Department in order to develop processes that are workable.
Project leaders were encouraged to speak to Brendan Wintle if they encounter particular data-management issues.
The Hub’s communications plan was also shared and project leaders encouraged to review the processes and protocols housed in the Hub intranet, and regularly provide story ideas to the communications team.
“Guidance for media engagement, including ‘real-time’ advice on handling media is available – so we’d encourage researchers to make use of this,” says Professor John Woinarski.
The group also spent some time gathering articulating ideas and opportunities for the coming years. These will be examined more thoroughly in coming meetings.
See more photos from the workshop on the TSR Hub Facebook page.
We are receiving an additional $2 million to deliver science to support wildlife and habitat recovery efforts following Australia’s bushfire crisis. The rapid rollout of work now faces the added and acute challenge of COVID-19.
Predation by cats is a key threat to at least 123 threatened species in Australia. Better understanding and reducing the impact of feral cats on susceptible wildlife has been a major area of research for the hub.
One of the post-fire challenges to population recovery that many native species will face is increased risk of predation, including by introduced foxes and cats.
Chief Science Officer John Kanowski and Regional Ecologist SW Michael Smith from the Australian Wildlife Conservancy discuss the far-reaching work their team is doing to protect vulnerable mammals from introduced predators.
Oliver Tester from the Office of the Threatened Species Commissioner tells us about the Australian Government’s action on feral cats.