The Coastal Collaboration Cluster – a major three-year research program – is developing approaches to better connect science with the needs of governments, communities and industries to meet coastal challenges.

The challenge

Coasts under threat

Our coasts are used for many purposes such as urban and industrial development, fishing, recreation and tourism, marine protected areas, ports and dredging, and offshore oil and gas developments. 

They also face mounting pressure from population growth and climate change.

A beach in the North West Shelf, Western Australia

Our response

Working together

Using techniques such as Google Earth and custom-built animations, the CSIRO Coastal Collaboration Cluster is focusing on making scientific, community, indigenous and managerial knowledge available to coastal policy-makers and planners.

In doing this the Cluster is:

  • identifying the social and institutional barriers that inhibit the uptake of science and other knowledge in the coastal zone
  • developing understanding and tools to overcome these barriers and to help Australians sustain coastlines for future generations
  • working to make approaches to coastal sustainability more sophisticated and collaborative.

Initiated through CSIRO's Flagship Collaboration Fund, the Coastal Collaboration Cluster is integrating diverse social sciences to investigate how to help coastal communities maintain economic and social values while using ecosystems more sustainably.

The cluster's research extends over southern Australia, from the south-west of Western Australia to South Australia, Victoria, Tasmania and south-east Queensland.

Researchers have looked at the most effective ways of communicating between groups, and are working with these groups to gather information for improved coastal planning.

As part of their research, the partners will engage with scientists, local government authorities, state governments, non-government organisations, Indigenous leaders, and the community.

The partners are undertaking research in different locations and will pool their information to generate a big-picture result. The results will be published on a website for everyone to use, including the public, coastal stakeholders and scientists.

The Cluster brings together researchers from across Australia with a wide range of expertise. Professor David Wood from the Curtin University of Technology leads the cluster. The other research partners are:

  • Deakin University
  • Flinders University
  • The University Adelaide
  • Sunshine Coast
  • University Tasmania
  • University of Wollongong
  • CSIRO Oceans and Atmosphere

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