As we approach the end of 2021, we also reach the halfway mark of the third-term of the Institute. And so it is timely to reflect on the Institute’s achievements, which we have done in our 2021 Annual Report – Progress Towards 2023 Goals. It is pleasing to see the substantial progress to date – a result of the collaboration of the Institute’s Partners – that is supporting the prosperity of communities throughout South Australia and Australia.
It has been exciting to see the new operating model of the Institute working in action. This has allowed us to broaden the successful collaborative model established in 2010 between our Research Partners (CSIRO, Flinders University, The University of Adelaide and the University of South Australia) and the South Australian Government (Department for Environment and Water) to build new research partnerships with the Australian Government, the agricultural and mining sectors and communities, including First Nations.
To direct the efforts of the third-term we released our Strategic Plan 2020-2023 under the guidance of Professor Barry Hart (Independent Chair), who is helping to increase the recognition of the Institute by building our national profile. We also welcomed Dr Alec Rolston (Research Program Manager) back to South Australia and to the Institute’s management team in early 2021, who together with Daniel Pierce, have overseen the successful establishment and delivery of 3 projects, with another 7 projects on track for completion by 30 June 2022.
Our research program now covers all priority Impact Areas and is being delivered collaboratively by 100 scientists from our Research Partners and 10 other collaborative water research organisations. This includes 38 early-mid career researchers and 11 students across 17 research areas, which is building important capability and capacity within our Partners and South Australia to address future water management challenges.
The projects have produced a diverse range of research outputs (79 in total). Importantly, these are informing priority management decisions of 13 end-user groups. In particular, the Department for Environment and Water are using the knowledge to support sustainable water management for our communities. This includes improving the health of the iconic Coorong; ensuring sustainable water allocations for agriculture and wetlands in the Limestone Coast; and improving coastal water quality through urban water management interventions.
Winning the Australian Water Association’s SA Branch R&D Award was a wonderful way to end the year and a huge honour to accept on behalf of the Institute Partners. This is a great ‘springboard’ for 2022 as we continue to build collaborative partnerships with governments, industry and communities to advance water research and management in South Australia and Australia, including through the proposed ONE Basin Cooperative Research Centre.
Thank you for your support throughout 2021. I hope you all enjoy a well-deserved festive season and I look forward to seeing you in the new year.
Director, Goyder Institute for Water Research