GES academics have recently successfully landed a number of research grants, from both the Australian Research Council (ARC) and the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO). These include funding to explore sustainable urban redevelopment, environmental change in northern Australia’s savannas, and the social aspects of advanced metals recycling. In detail:
Dr Libby Porter and Dr Xuan Zhu were successful in a 3-year ARC Discovery grant commencing in 2014 called “Who owns the sustainable city? Urban redevelopment, sustainability and the politics of property rights in Australia, Chile and Brazil”. The project will explore how a radical interpretation of property rights might link to sustainable urbanisation. They will partner with Professor Francisco Sabatini at the Catholic University of Chile, and colleagues at the University of Sao Paulo. In separate news, Dr Libby Porter completed her ESRC-funded project “Planning with Indigenous Customary Land Rights”, the practitioner dissemination report is available here.
Em/Prof. Peter Kershaw and Dr Simon Connor were successful in a 3 year ARC Discovery grant to study the role of prehistoric humans in transforming Northern Australia’s savanna country. The project is led by Prof. Simon Haberle of the Australian National University and includes international collaborators from the Netherlands and New Zealand. Prof. Kershaw was also part of a successful multi-university submission of an ARC-LIEF grant for Australian membership of the International Ocean Discovery Program (IODP).
The School of Geography and Environmental Science at Monash University will also be hosting one of four interdisciplinary research teams which collectively comprise the Wealth from Waste CSIRO cluster research project. Wealth from Waste explores the feasibility of advanced metals recycling in Australia, anticipating future change in how value is derived along the production-consumption chain and identifying opportunities and positioning for Australia. At the heart of the project is an appraisal of the relative environmental consequences of sourcing metals from mining compared with advanced recycling. To do this, new data is needed on current and future urban stocks of key metals, along with research into incentives and logistics for collection, technological systems that facilitate recycling, and incentives for manufacturers to shift their supply chains from virgin to recycled metals. With overall funding of $3million, and a three-year time frame commencing in October 2013, it involves researchers from four Australian Universities and Yale University in the US, with overall coordination through the Institute for Sustainable Futures (ISF) at UTS. The Monash project focuses on characterising and mapping the potential resource of recyclable materials in Australia, identifying current social, economic and logistical challenges for collection and proposing realistic measures for addressing these. It has a budget of $538,000 over three years and data collection is based around case studies of specific types of products and specific types of materials. This project is led by Dr Ruth Lane, a human geographer with expertise in waste and recycling. GIS mapping expertise is provided by Dr Xuan Zhu. Expertise on environmental law and environmental economics is provided through Business and Economics by Wayne Gumley and Professor Michael Ward respectively. Environmental engineering expertise is provided through Gavin Mudd in Civil Engineering who collaborates with Yale University for modelling future scenarios for materials recycling using life cycle assessment tools. Key outcomes of this research will be (i) An interactive atlas for recyclable resources in Australian cities that facilitates scenario modelling for future environmental impacts and (ii) A detailed appraisal of existing collection systems with recommendations for enhancement, and (iii) Comparison of environmental costs associated with future scenarios for recycling versus virgin metals based on life cycle assessment methods.