As the new CEO of Natural Hazards Research Australia, I am pleased to contribute to the Australian Journal of Emergency Management, a publication I view as vital in communicating research to practitioners across the resilience sector and promoting thought leadership to inspire change.
Through my experiences as a practitioner and researcher, I have witnessed end-user-driven research generating positive change to enhance the safety, resilience and sustainability of communities. Such research is vital given the growing complexity of natural hazard risk and the many factors that drive it, such as climate change, environmental degradation, rising inequality, changing demographics, increased development pressures and supply chain interdependencies.
Though we have improved our ability to conceptualise these challenges, recent flood, bushfire, storm and cyclone disasters highlight many opportunities to advance research and disaster risk reduction. More of the same is not the answer. There is a strong role for research and science to inspire and support change. We must look ahead and embrace new approaches, collaborations and technologies. Research can help to assist the development of next generation capabilities across all hazards to confront the growing and evolving challenges of future decades.
Research must embrace the entirety of the resilience sector encompassing government, industry and the community to have maximum affect. It must also adopt a cross-disciplinary approach due to the many facets of risk and its impact on communities. Data provides an enormous opportunity to enhance research through improved approaches to collect, collate, share and analyse it, to answer research problems, inform decision making and build future capability.
Natural Hazards Research Australia is Australia’s national research and implementation capability for natural hazards resilience and disaster risk reduction. Established in July 2021, the centre is supported by the Australian Government and partner organisations across the country. The centre is built on the strong foundations of the previous Bushfire and Natural Hazards Cooperative Research Centre with a much stronger, end-user driven focus. It will deliver research that is useful, useable and used, and adaptable to the changing nature of natural hazards risk.
The Bushfire and Natural Hazards Cooperative Research Centre was highly successful in building research capability through the 250 researchers across 30 universities, plus 150 postgraduates supported by a strong scholarship program. In addition, more than 300 people across 50 partner agencies were engaged with the research. Through similar endeavours, the centre will lead this key role in maintaining and enhancing Australia’s natural hazards research workforce.
Vital to the centre’s future success will be working collaboratively across different complementary research initiatives and promoting partnerships between end-users and this journal is a significant channel to make this collaboration possible. I encourage your involvement in shaping and using the centre’s research to drive change to make us all safe and resilient.