Bushfire and Natural Hazards CRC - third update

A statement from Naomi Brown, Interim Chair, Bushfire and Natural Hazards CRC.

What has happened to date? On 13 February 2013, the Australian Government announced it will contribute up to $47 million over eight years to establish a new Bushfire and Natural Hazards Cooperative Research Centre (BNHCRC) from 1 July 2013. A copy of the full text of the Prime Minister’s February statement is available on the Prime Minister's website.

Progress: Since the Prime Minister’s announcement, a BNHCRC Implementation Team has been established. The team comprises of Interim Chair Naomi Brown, Interim CEO Richard Thornton and personnel from the Commonwealth Attorney-General’s Department, the Australasian Fire and Emergency Service Authorities Council (AFAC), Geoscience Australia, the Victorian and NSW governments. The Implementation Team has been tasked with facilitating the establishment of the BNHCRC, to commence operation on 1 July 2013.

Current progress: The National Workshop: Defining the Problem Statements’ was conducted and the outcomes have been reported to the BNHCRC Governance Committee and to the Department of Industry, Innovation, Climate Change, Science, Research and Tertiary Education (DIICCSRTE). Information about the Workshop and the initial conclusions that it came to were reported in Communique 2. This input from prospective BNHCRC end users will compliment input currently being obtained from the research sector, particularly through the Call for Research Proposals.

This week has also seen the request for formal membership of BNHCRC sent out to jurisdictions. Other participating financial members are also being sought from wider industry and interested organisations, who are encouraged to make contact via bnhcrc@ag.gov.au or www.aemi.edu.au/bnhcrc.

Call for Research Proposals: The establishment of the new BNHCRC entails compliance with the requirements of DIICCSRTE. A key component of those requirements is the Research Program. The next step in establishing the Research Program is the formal Call for Research Proposals, which is outlined below (with all the full details in the Call for Research Proposals documents available at www.aemi.edu.au/bnhcrc. In summary:

Research Proposals Stage 1 – to be completed by 7 June 2013
Stage 1 encompasses the production of high level research programs in accordance with the problem statements as articulated in the Call for Research Proposals. This stage requires the identification of multi-year research projects with a detailed Year 1 plan, budgets and timelines. It is expected projects will be sufficiently planned and developed to commence from September 2013 onwards.

Successful research participants will work extensively with end users during May to further develop and refine the priority programs/projects required to solve the identified problems. During this time, clarification and fine-tuning of the problems under examination and shaping of the research to be conducted will occur.

Proposals are to be submitted via email to bnhcrc@ag.gov.au no later than midnight (AEST) Tuesday 30 April 2013.

Research Proposals Stage 2 – to be completed by 30 November 2013
Stage 2 will proceed after the establishment of the formal entity and the appointment of the Board and Management Team. The final Research Program will be further developed from the work undertaken in Stage 1. There will be a requirement for all participants to produce detailed project plans and budgets for the full term of the BNHCRC.

Strategic Alignment
The work of the BNHCRC is intrinsically linked to a number of policies and strategies, including:

  • National Strategy for Disasters Resilience (COAG endorsed)
  • National Research Priorities (Australian Research Council endorsed)
  • National Bushfire Policy Statement (COAG endorsed)

Proposals will take into account the policy and strategy context outlined in these documents. The United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction: Hyogo Framework for Action may also be useful in providing additional, international context.

Problem Statements
The problem statements were considered in the context of natural hazards. The scope of the BNHCRC is largely non-hazard specific, as it aims to address issues that cut across all natural hazards, including bushfire, cyclone, flood, storm, earthquake and tsunami. The problem statements are organised in five main research themes:

  • Data and Knowledge;
  • Disaster Resilience;
  • Decision Support and Resource Investment;
  • Risk Mitigation Policy and Planning, and
  • Emergency Management Practice.

Those interested in submitting a proposal are encouraged to read the online guidelines and follow the processes outlined. Stage 1 of the process encompasses the following:

  1. Call for Proposals – submissions due 30 April
  2. Proposals evaluated and successful applicants notified – 10 May
  3. End user and researcher workshop – 23/24 May
  4. Version 1 of the Research Program finalised and endorsed – 7 June

The staged approach is necessary given the restricted timeline. It is not possible to prepare a fully formed, planned and costed Program by the end of May; therefore an interim arrangement needs to be applied.

Who can apply? - Individual research institutions from Australia and New Zealand or consortia of institutions are able to make a submission to the BNHCRC for consideration. The Implementation Team may also seek applications from outside of this Call for Proposal.

How and when to apply? - Proposals must be lodged via email and submitted no later than midnight (AEST) Tuesday 30 April 2013, in the format as specified using the template guide available online. The email address to submit the proposals to is: bnhcrc@ag.gov.au

The BNHCRC Implementation team, including myself as the Interim Chair, and the Interim CEO, Dr Richard Thornton, can be contacted via bnhcrc@ag.gov.au or, in the near future, through an online forum planned to be created should interest warrant.


Release date

Thu, 11/04/2013