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CSIRO Valuing Sustainability Future Science Platform Newsletter, November 2023

Director's Note

Welcome to the first Valuing Sustainability Future Science Platform (VS FSP) newsletter. If you are interested in CSIRO’s latest cutting edge research that spans disciplines, and works with diverse partners to catalyse sustainability outcomes for regional Australia, this newsletter is for you!

The VS FSP has been up and running for a little over two years. We’ve developed seven inter-linked projects that are starting to deliver new findings and options with our partners and collaborators. Early findings as well as news and upcoming events, will be featured in this occasional (approximately quarterly) newsletter. 

Our projects are developing novel methods for driving change for sustainability with partners across government, industry and civil society. These projects have a strong focus on new indicators and measures of sustainability, where these can help to drive collective understanding, goal-setting and action or policy agendas.

So what is the VS FSP? At the core, it is a CSIRO investment in new science to drive multiple sustainability outcomes through systemic approaches. We are building CSIRO’s capacity to tackle complex and contested sustainability challenges, integrating social, economic, behavioural science and data sciences with ecological and systems sciences, and then embedding this research within specific decision, policy and market contexts to drive systemic change. 

The challenges we are contributing to addressing are often both complex and contested and create an imperative to do science differently. These range from reversing biodiversity loss, to building livelihood options that look after Country, people and culture, to transitioning to a net zero economy and society in just and equitable ways.

The VS FSP is also about building capacity in transdisciplinary science – science that stretches across and beyond disciplinary boundaries and integrates different ways of knowing. Our 18 post-docs and early career sustainability scientists are working with a much larger group of established CSIRO scientists across inter-connected project teams.

Our project teams are working to not only develop new measures, but importantly to develop methods and tools by which science, society, industry and government can effectively work together to create shared long-term value for our regions. This science pays close attention to social, technical and environmental matters. It explores what we value as a society, how we ensure that we can create shared value, and how we deal with inevitable contestation, power imbalances and difference in these processes.

For me personally it's been a great thrill to lead this FSP thus far, and especially to work with such amazing researchers and practitioners in CSIRO and beyond. We’ve intentionally kept to ourselves as we’ve developed teams, cross-project connections, and collaborations with others. Now we are thrilled to start to share what we are learning with you.

In this edition we feature:

  1. The first of the VS FSP’s Sustainability Science connections Seminar Series
  2. A sneak peak at the CSIRO Sustainability Science Symposium
  3. Updates on our latest news and publications

Peat Leith (Director, CSIRO Valuing Sustainability FSP)

Sustainability Science Seminar Series

The VS FSP’s Sustainability Science Seminar Series will run over the next couple of years and feature luminaries in various areas of sustainability science from around the world. You will hear from key thinkers, scholars, scientists and practitioners tackling the grand challenges from diverse angles. The series especially highlights research collaborations with industry, government, and civil society to advance sustainability outcomes. Our introductory seminar will showcase what we are doing in one of our projects exploring how we can shift towards innovation for sustainability in Australia’s agrifood innovation systems that has long been geared to drive innovation to boost productivity.

The seminars will be delivered online. To keep up to date with the seminar series and receive invites to attend, subscribe to VS FSP updates.

CSIRO Sustainability Science Symposium

CSIRO Sustainability Science Symposium Overview

On the 12 & 13 March 2024 the VS FSP will run a symposium showcasing our science and related research from Australia and around the world. Held in Canberra, this will be an important event to connect with wider research, policy and practice networks interested in sustainability science. Numbers are limited and this event will be by invitation only. If you would like to express interest in attending please read the symposium overview and briefly let us know why you are interested in attending/contributing.

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