The Environmental Decisions Hub (ED Hub) of the National Environmental Research Program was formally established in July 2011 and finished in June 2015. After all the progress reports (we produced one every six months for the Commonwealth Department of the Environment), workshops (we ran over 30 formal workshops and many more smaller informal meetings), scientific papers (we published well over 250 peer-reviewed papers, books and book chapters), presentations, press releases and forty issues of Decision Point – what more is there to say?
While all our activity, outputs and impacts have been minutely detailed in our various communications I think it’s fair to summarise by saying that the ED Hub has been an excellent investment by the Australian Government Department of the Environment. Not only has it produced a solid body of science that has influenced policy, investments and actions on the ground, it has also deepened and enriched the engagement between conservation researchers and decision makers across Australia.
In terms of producing influential science, our engagement and interaction with the Australian Government Department of the Environment, our primary stakeholder, has been stronger than ever and the fruits of our research effort appear to making a real difference to environmental decision making in Australia. That success is based on four pillars: development of our relationship with the Australian Government Department of the Environment (ably assisted by the good people of the Department’s Science Partnerships Section) both at a whole-centre level and through individual relationships; the maturation of our decision science (which is itself strongly influenced by the needs of government); the consistency, quality and popularity of Decision Point; and our greatest legacy – the growing body of talented and dedicated early-career researchers.
Highlights for me in terms of engagement and collaboration have included our decisions workshops with Parks Australia, the innovative Summer Scholars program, transforming views about monitoring and resource allocation, the big Think Tank we ran back in year one and our collaborations surrounding the offsets calculator. Notes on all of these things, and many more, appear in this special issue of Decision Point celebrating the work of the ED Hub.
Director, NERP Environmental Decisions Hub