Bushfire CRC fostering collaborative networks

Created date

Friday, April 6, 2012 - 2:42am

Last month I noted how Bushfire CRC research was making inroads into the Small to Medium Enterprise sector through various publications and fire industry conferences. And our fire and land management agency partners are regularly outspoken in their support for Bushfire CRC research and the plan to transition to a longer term fire research institute.

The crucial third part of our collaborative structure is the research sector – the universities and organisations such as CSIRO, Geoscience Australia and the Bureau of Meteorology.

I have met with several university research leaders in recent weeks and I have heard only positive comments about their relationship with the Bushfire CRC. Universities are large and complex organisations and our links are only a small component of their entire activities but the universities have had no difficulty in telling me the importance of those links.

As a partner in a collaborative network such as the Bushfire CRC, a university is open to opportunities on a scale that would otherwise not be available. Small pockets of academic expertise in one institution can line up with established research heavyweights in another, all working together on the same projects.

This collaboration takes place with other researchers around the country and with industry leaders. You only have to see our PhD students at the coffee breaks at our annual conference chatting with fire chiefs, professors in their fields, and technology manufacturers, to see how this collaboration works in a way not possible for so many other academic researchers.

With more than 15 research organisations across Australia and New Zealand contributing to the Bushfire CRC and keen to be a part of a fire and natural hazards research institute, the opportunities for broad collaboration and joint activities are continuing to grow.

The University of South Australia has offered its campus facilities to co-host the next Bushfire CRC Stakeholder Council on 27 June, along with the Country Fire Service. In the past two years, the University of Melbourne and the University of Sydney have done the same, while the University of Tasmania is hosting our Research Advisory Forum in May, following the successful forum at the Australian National University last year.