Ross Bradstock

Emeritus Professor

Citation delivered by Professor Alison Jones, Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Health & Communities) at the University of Wollongong on the occasion of the admission of Ross Andrew Bradstock as an Emeritus Professor of the University on 8 December 2020.

Deputy Chancellor, I present Senior Professor Ross Andrew Bradstock.

Ross Bradstock’s vast contribution to scholarship, practice and policy in fire ecology and management has propelled the University of Wollongong and Australia to global leadership in bushfire research amid a rapidly changing climate.

Since commencing his research career in 1984, first with the NSW National Parks & Wildlife Service and then as Principal Research Scientist with the NSW Department of Environment and Conservation, Ross has become a world-leading, internationally respected fire ecologist. Over almost four decades at the forefront of fire research, he has published over 190 highly cited journal papers and book chapters, six books and more than twenty major scientific reports and policy documents. His works are widely considered mandatory reading among academics, students and fire ecology practitioners across the globe.

Ross joined UOW in 2006 as founder and director of the Centre for Environmental Risk Management of Bushfires. Here he led a multi-disciplinary research team working to develop a quantitative understanding of the risks posed by landscape fires to the environment, people and wildlife, and find cost-effective ways to mitigate these risks.

Under his leadership, the centre has delivered an enormous volume of high-impact research and attracted funding from the NSW Government, the Australian Research Council, NSW Environmental Trusts, Bushfire and Natural Hazards Cooperative

Research Centre, CSIRO, United States Geological Survey, and the European Union. He has also forged robust links for research and its practical application with fire management agencies in NSW. Largely due to his efforts, UOW is now home to the most highly regarded bushfire research group in Australia.

In 2017, Ross founded and became the inaugural director of the NSW Bushfire Risk Management Hub, a UOW-led collaborative venture between the NSW Government and some of Australia’s leading universities. Researchers work alongside fire agencies, public land managers and Indigenous knowledge holders to better understand bushfire behaviour and risk and inform policy and operational change. The Hub was a key contributor to the recent NSW Bushfire Inquiry and is delivering an impressive array of research underpinning our fundamental capacity to understand and coexist with fire.

Ross has been instrumental in establishing a framework for understanding how and why large bushfires occur and predicting their impact. He has attracted more than $18 million in research funding to the university and received the Vice-Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Research Partnerships in 2012.

He has also played a leading role in shaping the next generation of researchers, scientists and practitioners, guiding countless early career researchers and postgraduate students through what is a challenging and dynamic field.

Deputy Chancellor, when Ross Bradstock retired in August 2020, he left an indelible legacy that stretches beyond the university to impact the wider community and the future of fire science and management. He has been an outstanding scholar, teacher and leader, and the links he has created will continue to foster research collaboration into the future.

It is a privilege to present Senior Professor Ross Bradstock to be admitted as an Emeritus Professor of the University of Wollongong.