Researchers needed to better understand lifeline resilience

1 December 2021, updated 22 December 2021

Expressions of Interest are sought from research providers to deliver a project exploring lifeline resilience for regional and remote communities.

Part of Natural Hazard Research Australia’s first round of research projects, the Understanding the resilience of lifelines for regional and remote communities project will be conducted over 12 months. Expressions of Interest closed at 11.59pm on 21 December 2021. Applicants will be notified of the outcome by 25 January 2022. 

This exploratory project will undertake a review of the global literature on preservation of lifelines during and after disasters, and engage with relevant industry groups to develop a framework for understanding the resilience of lifelines. It will then use the framework to analyse a case study of lifeline resilience in an agreed regional area. This project will provide a foundation for active industry engagement and for identifying knowledge gaps that could be filled through additional research. The project will also address a number of recommendations from the 2020 Royal Commission into National Natural Disaster Arrangements relating to essential services (chapter 9 of the Royal Commission final report).

Frequently asked questions

Q) Is there a preference for a project team to be from a single research organisation, or from across multiple organisations?

A) The Centre has no preference for either a single organisation or a multi-organisation project team. EOIs will be accepted from either and will be evaluated against the evaluation criteria in the same way.

Q) Can the proposed project team include researchers from government agencies (i.e., CSIRO, Bureau of Meteorology) or research consultancies, as well as university-based researchers?

A) EOIs will be accepted from multi-organisation project teams, and project teams can include researchers at government agencies and research consultancies. The proposed project team's capacity to undertake the project will be evaluated in the same way whether researchers are university-, consultancy- or agency-based.

Q) The Call for EOI document refers to a case study to be conducted "in an agreed regional area". Does this mean that the EOI should not propose a specific region for the case study?

A) Project teams can propose a specific region/s for the case study in their EOI. Please include a brief reason for the selection if so, but proposing a region is not mandatory. However, the final decision to accept a proposed region will be made by the Project Management Committee as part of the project proposal process. 

Q) Would academic salaries (excluding administrative overheads) be eligible to budget?

A) Yes, academic salaries can be included within the project budget, but only when they are direct project costs and their salary is not already covered elsewhere. E.g. the salary costs of a contract researcher who is actively working on the project can be included up to the FTE component they are contributing. However, the salary costs of a tenured academic who is already paid through the university/research organisation would be included as an in-kind contribution up to the amount of their FTE contribution to the project.

Further information about round one research projects

Round one of the Centre’s funding meets the Australian Government's requirements for funding the Centre, as agreed to earlier in 2021. This initial funding round ensures that natural hazards research activities can continue while the Centre’s broader research priorities and program are developed. An additional two rounds of research projects will follow in the first half of 2022, based on partner needs and the research priorities.

The Understanding the resilience of lifelines for regional and remote communities project addresses urgent research needs and issues raised by recommendations from the 2020 Royal Commission into National Natural Disaster Arrangements, the 2020 NSW Independent Bushfire Inquiry and by stakeholders during the Centre’s research priority scoping workshops in August 2021. Additional research in round one extends and supports the utilisation of findings from the Bushfire and Natural Hazards CRC’s Black Summer research program, funded through the Australian Government in 2020.

A further Expression of Interest will follow for another round one project in early 2022.