new growth showing on trees following a bushfire

UOW to prioritise bushfire recovery research

UOW to prioritise bushfire recovery research

Global Challenges researchers to partner with bushfire-, drought- and flood-affected communities in Illawarra, South Coast and Southern Highlands.

Research projects that address issues around our response to natural disasters will be prioritised by the University of Wollongong (UOW) in 2020 as the region recovers from the bushfire crisis, drought and floods.

The University’s Global Challenges Program is calling for research proposals that address aspects of disaster response in the Illawarra, Shoalhaven, South Coast and Southern Highlands, with up to 50 per cent of funds awarded across all Global Challenges grants in 2020 set aside for these projects.

Global Challenges Executive Director Professor Chris Gibson said the initiative stems from a strong belief within Global Challenges that UOW has a civic responsibility to the communities in which it operates.

“Here at the University of Wollongong, we feel very passionately about our role in doing research and creating new knowledge to improve the world,” Professor Gibson said.

“We also feel a responsibility to our own communities, to our own region, which is a part of the world that's seen terrible bushfires in the last few months.

“So we're announcing a call to action for research projects that bring together researchers from all sorts of different backgrounds to address the urgent needs of the communities in our region.

“It's a question of our systems, our infrastructure, but also our communities, our everyday interactions with each other, our ability to be able to prepare to deal with these sorts of crises when they emerge. And also how we rebuild and how we recover.”

The call to action is intended to bring together research teams with expertise on disasters or in relevant fields including mental health, land management, invasive species, ecology, building and retrofitting, energy supply, tourism, financial planning/management, air and water quality and community preparedness and recovery 

The projects supported through this initiative will partner with affected communities and/or services to develop appropriate responses to disaster.

Global Challenges is also encouraging projects that will make the region more resilient to disasters in the future, while building a zero carbon economy that will help mitigate future disasters.

The call for action reinforces UOW’s commitment to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs), which aim to reduce poverty, improve health and education, reduce inequality and spur economic growth while tackling climate change and preserving the natural environment. 

Global Challenges envisages that the successful projects will address a cross section of the UN SDGS including those focused on good health and wellbeing, sustainable cities and communities, and life on land.