Expert Working Group on Engaging Communities in Tropical Australia

Australia's tropical regions cover a significant proportion of the nation. Tropical north-east Queensland has wet tropics that have terrestrial and marine ecosystems of international significance. Tropical savannahs consisting of landscapes of open trees and grasses cover almost a quarter of the continent ranging from Townsville over to the Kimberley. Tropical savannahs have vast biodiversity, as well as importance culturally and socially with diverse and distinctive Indigenous cultures, important resources and agriculture activities and critical heritage areas such as Kakadu National Park.

Tropical Australia is on the verge of unprecedented social, economic and environmental opportunities. It also, however, faces some major challenges (e.g. rapid economic expansion in a multi-speed economy, climate change, community fragmentation and unfolding tropical health issues). Securing these opportunities and limiting the negative costs at the same time will require world-class research, development and innovation. Securing effective science engagement in relation to these areas across the tropics, however, will be the key to us achieving a prosperous future.

In 2011, Inspiring Australia brought together a diverse group of experts engaged with Australia's tropical north to develop a series of recommendations designed to strengthen science engagement in the nation's tropical regions.

Their final report, Science Engagement and Tropical Australia: Building a prosperous and sustainable future for the north, provided 20 recommendations across seven main themes:

  • Building science literacy for all tropical Australians
  • Shifting science engagement cultures at the project and publication level
  • Building durable and trusted regional science brokerage and partnership arrangements
  • Forging effective science engagement in the Indigenous domain
  • Building science partnerships at the industry/sectoral level to turbo-charge innovation
  • Ensuring science message from the tropics engage southern Australia
  • Engaging tropical Australia in national science messages.

For further information on the tropical expert working group and their report, please email  

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