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Designing environmental research for impact


Campbell, CA and Lefroy, EC and Caddy-Retalic, S and Bax, N and Doherty, PJ and Douglas, MM and Johnson, D and Possingham, HP and Specht, A and Tarte, D and West, J, Designing environmental research for impact, Science of The Total Environment, 534 pp. 4-13. ISSN 0048-9697 (2015) [Refereed Article]

Copyright Statement

Copyright 2014 Elsevier B.V.

DOI: doi:10.1016/j.scitotenv.2014.11.089


Transdisciplinary research, involving close collaboration between researchers and the users of research, has been a feature of environmental problem solving for several decades, often spurred by the need to find negotiated outcomes to intractable problems. In 2005, the Australian government allocated funding to its environment portfolio for public good research, which resulted in consecutive four-year programmes (Commonwealth Environmental Research Facilities, National Environmental Research Program). In April 2014, representatives of the funders, researchers and research users associated with these programmes met to reflect on eight years of experience with these collaborative research models. This structured reflection concluded that successful multi-institutional transdisciplinary research is necessarily a joint enterprise between funding agencies, researchers and the end users of research. The design and governance of research programmes need to explicitly recognise shared accountabilities among the participants, while respecting the different perspectives of each group. Experience shows that traditional incentive systems for academic researchers, current trends in public sector management, and loose organisation of many end users, work against sustained transdisciplinary research on intractable problems, which require continuity and adaptive learning by all three parties. The likelihood of research influencing and improving environmental policy and management is maximised when researchers, funders and research users have shared goals; there is sufficient continuity of personnel to build trust and sustain dialogue throughout the research process from issue scoping to application of findings; and there is sufficient flexibility in the funding, structure and operation of transdisciplinary research initiatives to enable the enterprise to assimilate and respond to new knowledge and situations.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:transdisciplinary, communication, adaptive capacity, collaboration, trust
Research Division:Indigenous Studies
Research Group:Pacific Peoples environmental knowledges
Research Field:Pacific Peoples environmental knowledges
Objective Division:Environmental Management
Objective Group:Management of Antarctic and Southern Ocean environments
Objective Field:Assessment and management of Antarctic and Southern Ocean ecosystems
UTAS Author:Lefroy, EC (Professor Ted Lefroy)
UTAS Author:Bax, N (Professor Nicholas Bax)
ID Code:98129
Year Published:2015
Web of Science® Times Cited:35
Deposited By:IMAS Research and Education Centre
Deposited On:2015-02-02
Last Modified:2017-10-31

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