The Goyder Institute’s new Interim Director looks to an exciting year ahead

The start of 2023 represents a period of change and new beginnings for the Goyder Institute for Water Research. As 2022 came to an end, the Institute bade farewell to outgoing Director, Dr Kane Aldridge and I was delighted to present him with a trophy recognising his outstanding service during his five years in charge of the Institute. He leaves the Institute in a very healthy position having delivered a wide range of successful research projects which have raised the profile of the Institute at state, national and international levels. We wish Kane continued success in his new role with Watertrust Australia and the Institute looks forward warmly to any future collaborations.

I am delighted to accept the position of Interim Director of the Institute and I thank the Chair and Management Board for placing their trust in me as the Institute moves through a period of transition. Having joined the Institute two years ago in January 2021, I look forward to building on my own experiences with the Institute as well as other organisations within Australia and overseas in Ireland and Europe to continue the Institute’s mission of research collaboration and partnership. A core focus of my role will be working closely with our research partners and stakeholders to uphold and build upon our position as a highly respected research institute which delivers knowledge to inform policy and decision making.

This is an exciting period for the Goyder Institute with a number of significant activities underway or in development.

  • We are working to finalise the extension of the Institute’s term beyond 30 June 2023 through to mid-2026. This will be key to helping develop various collaborative research opportunities in the medium to long term, and I look forward to being able to confirm this extension soon.
  • The Institute will continue its important body of work initiated in the Limestone Coast region. We’re working with the Limestone Coast Landscape Board, the National Water Grid Authority and our research partners the Department for Environment and Water (DEW), CSIRO, Flinders University and the University of South Australia to explore climate adaptation options of the extensive drainage network in the region to support groundwater dependant ecosystems and agriculture. This research program will progress well during this year and we will provide regular updates through our eNews and website.
  • After helping the One Basin CRC through its establishment phase, we will continue to play an important role in its development in collaboration with our research partners. The CRC is presently initiating a range of Quickstart projects as well as providing internship and PhD opportunities for early career researchers. As the CRC moves through a phase of operational planning over the next few months, we anticipate that co-design of research programs to be delivered within the first three years of the CRC will begin in the second quarter of 2023, with the first projects expected to start in the new financial year.
  • In October 2022, the Australian Government announced $8 million funding for the Goyder Institute to deliver a Research Hub focusing on climate adaptation of the Coorong, Lower Lakes and Murray Mouth region. I have been working closely with the Australian Government to move towards entering the establishment phase of this new Research Hub, and the Institute looks forward to making some exciting announcements on the progress of the Hub in the near future.
  • I will also be attending the National Australian Water Association Awards in Sydney in May 2023. The Institute is a national finalist for the R&D Excellence award for the Healthy Coorong, Healthy Basin Research Program which concluded in June 2022, and which won the AWA SA Branch Award in November last year. This recognises the tremendous work completed by our research teams that is actively informing the decision-making processes within the region.
  • The Institute will be also working with DEW to provide science to inform South Australia’s climate policy and adaptation planning decisions, as well as continuing its collaboration with the South Australian Water Ambassador, the Honourable Karlene Maywald.

I look forward to providing further updates on the Institute’s progress as we move through 2023. As always, the Institute welcomes new connections and collaborations so please do get in touch directly if you wish to discuss any potential opportunities. 

Dr Alec Rolston, Interim Director:

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