During the four years of the NERP Environmental Decisions Hub, environmental decision scientists regularly travelled to Canberra to give briefings and presentations to policy people and decision makers in the Department of the Environment. These ranged from one-on-one meetings, small groups and packed lecture theatres.
Pictured below is Professor Richard Hobbs addressing a packed house in the Department’s ‘Bunker’ lecture theatre back in 2013. He was giving a lecture on the many challenges of ecological restoration at scale, a topic that the department is having to grapple with on a number of fronts (for example, the wildlife corridors and carbon sequestration initiatives). Richard is one of Australia’s foremost experts on ecological restoration and a co-author of the recent Science paper on restoration at scale. What made this lecture noteworthy was that within days of that Science paper coming out, the Department of the Environment knew about it through its NERP program (via the Science Partnerships Section that manages NERP); Richard, being a key researcher with NERP ED, was asked if he might give a presentation to the Department, to which he agreed; and the lecture took place in weeks to a packed audience. “It’s the fastest response from policy people I’ve ever had to a paper,” quipped Richard before the lecture. Which all suggests that NERP is connecting real-time science to policy in ways that have rarely been done in the past.