Research with real impact
An evaluation of research in Australian universities with the highest impact has placed projects with Bushfire CRC links at the very top of the scale.
The Group of Eight and the Australian Technology Network of universities have just completed a trial to assess the impact of their research. By gathering and assessing 162 case studies from 12 universities the trial sought to understand the value of taxpayer investment in university research and provide direct evidence that research is bringing tangible benefits.
The report “Excellence in Innovation: Research Impacting Our Nation’s Future – assessing the benefits” summarises the top 20 of such case studies, each of which received an “outstanding” or “very considerable” impact rating for social, environmental or economic impacts.
The three projects with Bushfire CRC links were:
- Bushfire Community Safety, RMIT University – the interdisciplinary project of Prof John Handmer, funded through the Bushfire CRC, looked at the gaps in knowledge and policies in community bushfire safety. The report concludes “The findings and recommendations from this research have informed and changed the response to bushfires in Australia and around the world.”
- Savanna Burning, Emerging Carbon Economies and Indigenous Social and Economic Development - Charles Darwin University. Better fire management, which reduces greenhouse gas emissions, has been achieved through a combination of traditional knowledge and western science through this long-running project. The Bushfire CRC, in its early phase, was a partner in parts of this work with the Tropical Savannas CRC and it now continues the association through its National Fire Mapping project.
- Investment Framework for Environmental Resources (INFFER): University of Western Australia. The Bushfire CRC project Integrated Assessment of Prescribed Burning, through Prof David Pannell at the University of Western Australia, is using the INFFER framework to quantify the trade-offs between the social and environmental outcomes of various prescribed burning strategies.
The CEO of the Bushfire CRC, Gary Morgan, said the report showed that our researchers were using the best practice tools and methodologies in their projects. “This report reassures us that what we are doing is both of high quality and high impact. It also shows the impact of the CRC Program more broadly, with several CRCs referred to in high regard.”