The Marine Biodiversity Hub has come a long way since five national research partners were successful in their bid under the Commonwealth Environmental Research Fund (CERF) in 2007.
In 2011, the five partners expanded to seven and were again successful in their bid under the National Environmental Research Program (NERP) which is reported on here. More recently, the now nine partners received funding under the National Environmental Science Program (NESP). The expansion of the Hub, and its success in securing funding in a competitive environment, is testament to its increasing national scope and its alignment with the Department of the Environment to deliver research that supports evidence-based decision making.
As chair of the steering committee for the past eight years, I can attest that it has been an interesting journey. By facilitating collaboration, the Hub has significantly increased the impact of Australia’s major marine research partners, and improved the delivery of scientific information to help understand and solve national issues. Starting with the CERF Marine Biodiversity Hub, the partners have developed a long-term strategic portfolio to reach many stakeholders, as well as delivering directly to the Department of the Environment to support the design and planning of the Commonwealth Marine Reserves network. Learning to work more effectively with the Department and stakeholders has been a key outcome of the Hub.
Increased impact through collaboration with the Department was the raison d’etre for the NERP Marine Biodiversity Hub. The Hub research was better aligned to deliver directly to support the Department’s evidence-based decision making. Two new partners joined the Hub to increase our impact in north and north-western Australia, and to start what has become a highly successful development of research supporting threatened species recovery plans. The NERP Hub has strived to understand how to best provide the right information to individual managers in the Department, as well as to associated agencies and industries. This work is ongoing and has begun a journey toward fundamental change in the way researchers design, conduct and deliver research for greater impact on national decisions.
It has been a fascinating and rewarding experience for me to help set that direction at the steering committee, and to support this growth in the research partnership and the evolving relationship of the partners with the Department and other stakeholders. I have been fortunate to have steering committee members able to leave individual interests at the door and work together to grow the research partnership. I thank the many steering committee members for their inputs during the past eight years and wish the new NESP Marine Biodiversity Hub success under the new chairperson, Peter Cochrane. I will continue to take a keen interest in how the Marine Biodiversity Hub evolves its relationship with the Department and stakeholders and in doing so fundamentally changes the way that research is developed and delivered to guide the major marine environmental challenges facing Australia.
The Marine Biodiversity Hub Steering Committee met formally twice each year. Its membership comprised an independent chairman and representatives from each of the partner agencies, the National Environmental Research Program, the Department of the Environment and stakeholder groups.
Nic Bax (Director)
Paul Hedge, Vicki Randell
Australian Institute of Marine Science
John Gunn, Jamie Oliver
Charles Darwin University
Brendan Brooke, Adam Lewis
University of Tasmania
Mike Coffin, Richard Coleman
University of Western Australia
National Environmental Research Program
Dave Johnson, Naomi Dwyer, Genine Sutton
Integrated Marine Observing System
Australian Fisheries Management Authority
Department of the Environment
Charlton Clarke, Lara Musgrave, Chris Schweizer