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Australia’s environmental science programs among the best in the world at a critical time

Australian research into environmental science is among the best in the world, according to the 2018 Excellence in Research for Australia (ERA) results, at a critically important time for the environment.

The results showed that 30 of 34 Australian universities undertook environmental sciences research that was rated 4 (above world standard) or 5 (well above world standard) on the ERA scale. No Australian university was rated less than 3 (at world standard).

The Australian Council of Environmental Deans and Directors (ACEDD) president, Associate Professor Dianne Gleeson, said “… we are punching well above our weight globally”.

“Yet, as a country, we are still faced with significant environmental challenges and difficult policy decisions.

“Our outstanding environmental sciences research can inform greater action on the Great Barrier Reef and the Murray Darling Basin, better management of the effects of population growth and the resulting changes in land use, and greater adaptation and resilience to a more volatile and less predictable climate.

“That’s why we want to start a dialogue with whichever government wins the Federal election and call on all state governments to share our scientific knowledge so together we can develop solutions to save our environment and our future.”

The ACEDD is comprised of academic leaders from Australian universities. It is tasked with guiding and shaping environmental science and environmental studies programs and endeavours. ACEED members met on May 10 to discuss teaching and learning priorities in the programs and future research output.

“We are at a pivotal moment for our environment, and if we want to help it our research needs to be taken seriously and translated into solutions by policy makers,” Gleeson said.

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