Goyder Institute 2023 Annual Report Reflects on a Busy Year

This has been a year of change and growth for the Goyder Institute for Water Research. The year began with the sad farewell to our previous Director, Dr Kane Aldridge. Dr Alec Rolston took up the position of Interim Director for the first 6 months of the year before being appointed Director in August.

Following the extension of the term of the Institute through to June 2026, we launched our 2023-2026 Strategic Plan in June this year, providing a clear direction and framework for navigating an evolving water landscape.  We refreshed our purpose, what we do, how we work, our priority impact areas and our goals, recognising the rapidly developing opportunities within water-related research and knowledge creation.

Key highlights from this year include:

  • We have continued to deliver our ongoing projects and we have established six new and exciting projects in 2023. These include the $8 million Coorong, Lower Lakes and Murray Mouth (CLLMM) Research Centre, which will work closely with First Nations, local communities, government agencies and scientists to address the impacts of climate change on the CLLMM region.
  • Recognition of the excellence of our work at the national level as we took home the 2023 National Australian Water Association Award for R&D Excellence for our Healthy Coorong, Healthy Basin research program. This was the second year in a row that the Institute has received this national award.

To manage and deliver our work, we have seen some significant staffing changes within the Institute bringing our staff numbers up to seven,  the largest the Institute has ever been:

  • We welcomed Dr Hamideh Nouri and Fiona Adamson as Research Program Managers on secondment from our partners DEW and Flinders University, respectively.
  • We bade farewell to Daniel Pierce, who had been with the Institute for over five years, having made a significant contribution to the Institute’s development, program delivery and research impact.
  • We welcomed Dr Bryony Cotterell to the team as Research Program Manager.
  • We have recruited four exceptional individuals to the Goyder Institute team based at the Research Centre in Goolwa, South Australia: Dr Nick Whiterod as Science Program Manager; Nathan Hartman as First Nations Engagement Officer; Dr Tiffany Nay as Communications and Engagement Coordinator; and Jane French as Research Centre Manager. All four bring sizeable experience of living and working within the CLLMM region and have strong connections to the community and First Nations in the region.

Finally, all of us at the Goyder Institute for Water Research would like to thank our outgoing Chair, Professor Barry Hart, for his guidance and leadership over the past three years. Barry has strongly contributed to the success of the Institute as it transitioned into its third term under a new funding model and has been instrumental in developing the Institute and progressing our areas of business. Barry’s contributions will be greatly missed, and we wish him well for the future.

“I have enjoyed the opportunity to lead this rather unique research institute, consisting as it does of a partnership between the three South Australian universities, CSIRO and the Department of Environment and Water. I don’t know of any such consortium elsewhere in Australia.” The full comment from Professor Barry T Hart, outgoing Independent Chairperson, is available on the 2023 Annual Report.

As we move into 2024, we look forward to welcoming our new Chair, Jody Swirepik, to the Jody team, and we look forward to working with Jody as we continue to deliver and develop the Institute’s work.

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