New research institute to make a RIEL difference 

RIEL Director Professor Andrew Campbell

The new Research Institute for the Environment and Livelihoods (RIEL) will be launched next week, bringing together world-class expertise to ensure the Territory is best placed to benefit from its impending resources boom while preserving its unique environment.

The research institute brings together and builds upon the former School for Environmental Research, the research-intensive elements of the School for Environmental and Life Sciences, and the Centre for Renewable Energy at Charles Darwin University.

RIEL Director Professor Andrew Campbell said there was a pressing need for knowledge about the unique ecosystems of the north, how they related to people’s livelihoods, and how to manage those resources in the face of growing development pressures.

“The NT’s population is the youngest and most dynamic in the country,” Professor Campbell said. “Its landscapes, coastlines and seascapes are substantially intact, which is why they are so attractive to tourists, so valued by scientists and conservationists, and present rich opportunities for economic development.”

Professor Campbell said RIEL aimed to improve understanding of the ecological functions and processes of the NT’s unique terrestrial, freshwater and marine ecosystems, to inform decisions about how best to manage natural resources and respond to development pressures.

“CDU is taking up this challenge through RIEL, offering world-class science and delivering research outcomes that are relevant and useful on a national and global scale,” he said.

A major focus for RIEL will be building capacity through consolidating and extending research partnerships with Indigenous stakeholders, government, industries and other natural resource managers, and research agencies in central and northern Australia.

“RIEL aims to underpin innovation in developing more sustainable technologies and approaches that combine conventional science and Indigenous knowledge systems,” he said.

“We are committed to training and developing new researchers, and providing exciting opportunities to attract talented early and mid-career researchers to work on issues of national and global importance,” Professor Campbell said.

Energy will be central in developing more sustainable, less carbon-intensive economies in our region RIEL incorporates the Centre for Renewable Energy, which is a partnership between CDU and the Northern Territory Government.

The CRE will assist the Territory to meet its 20 percent renewable energy target by investigating renewable energy options for the NT and building new capacities in renewable energy technologies.” 

RIEL will be launched officially at CDU on Thursday, 4 August 2011.