Research priorities open for feedback

A promotional graphic showing two laptops that are displaying Natural Hazards Research Australia workshops, with the heading Research Priorities Workshops, Discussion Paper

8 October 2021

Natural Hazards Research Australia seeks the input of people and organisations across emergency management, research and beyond for the important next step in the establishment phase of the new Centre’s research program.

A discussion paper setting out the collective research priorities of the Centre is now open for feedback from end-users and researchers until 24 October. Opening the feedback to end-users and researchers ensures that future research investments truly reflect national needs and consider as many perspectives as possible.

read the natural hazards research priorities discussion paper

The discussion paper – Research priorities for disaster risk reduction and community resilience to the impacts of natural hazardswas developed based on contributions received from many different sectors and organisations in Australia and New Zealand. It is based on workshops and an extensive survey conducted by the Centre with representatives from federal, state and local governments, emergency management agencies, various infrastructure and private sector organisations, and the not-for-profit sector.

The discussion paper focuses on understanding the areas where end-users believe additional research could provide evidence and capacity to reduce disaster risk and promote national disaster resilience.

Natural Hazards Research Australia CEO, Dr Richard Thornton, said that the research priorities are a great starting point for a national research program.

“There has been 18 years of cooperative research in Australia, so the country is not starting from scratch,” Dr Thornton explained.

“At the same time, this is a really exciting time to ask how research can shape Australia’s approach to natural hazards over the next decade, and for end-users of research to continue to be involved and tell us what their research needs are in order to keep communities safe and better protect the environment.

“While Natural Hazards Research Australia won’t be able to conduct all the research that is suggested to us, we can ensure that our end-users are getting the best impact from research. The research needs to translate into action so that as a country we can be ready for the disasters we know we’ll face in the future,” Dr Thornton said.

How to submit feedback

The discussion paper is open for feedback until 11:59pm on 24 October using this form. Earlier input is encouraged. The feedback form is open to users of research (for example, sector partners), as well as researchers and organisations that undertake research.

Register your feedback via this form link

Feedback should be focused on the research priorities, rather than what research projects could be funded. 

For guidance on how to provide feedback please read this first:

  • Click here if you are an end-user or other stakeholder.
  • Click here if you are a researcher or research organisation.

Research themes

The discussion paper proposes eight research themes, which are all broad and not specific to any one hazard, geographical area or community sector – outcomes need to be effective across a range of needs.

Foundational themes: the foundations that underpin disaster risk reduction and disaster resilience and will inform and enhance the remaining themes.

  1. Communities and workforces of the future: research focused on those working and living five to 10 years from now
  2. Sustainable, safe and healthy natural landscapes: research that promotes disaster risk reduction and disaster resilience in the natural environment that support where people live, work and play
  3. Resilient built environment: research that promotes disaster risk reduction and disaster resilience in the built environment where people live, work and play.

Functional themes: that draw upon the core elements of the foundational themes and extend the research into specific issues and needs.

  1. Resilient communities: research that builds capacity and capability in communities to be resilient to the impacts of natural hazards
  2. Situational awareness: research that provides risk, exposure and vulnerability information to communities, governments and businesses to assist in planning, preparation, response and recovery
  3. Operational response and innovation: research that supports response systems to be safe, efficient and effective in:
    1. reducing vulnerabilities exposed by natural hazards
    2. minimising the impacts of hazards
    3. minimising the disruption of essential services
    4. enhancing community and system recovery.

Driving change themes: that draw on research to inform institutional and organisational change.

  1. Evidence-informed policy, strategy and foresight: research and other evidence to inform and influence policies and practices at all levels of government and society, and to innovate and prepare for possible futures
  2. Learning from disasters: research and evidence from disaster events to support recovery, reduce disaster risk and increase community resilience.

Next steps

The feedback received on the research priorities will inform the final version of the research priorities for natural hazard disaster risk reduction and community resilience, which will guide the research program as it develops.