Joint media release: Tasmania to co-host new marine and coastal research hub

10 December 2020

Minister for the Environment, the Hon Sussan Ley MP
Assistant Minister for Forestry and Fisheries, Senator the Hon Jonno Duniam


The University of Tasmania will take a leading role in delivering on the nation’s largest ever investment in environmental science after it was announced alongside Queensland’s Reef and Rainforest Research Centre as a co-host of one of four new national research hubs.

The Marine and Coastal Hub is part of the second phase of the National Environmental Science Program (NESP), a program that has for the past six years delivered practical environment outcomes through almost 400 successful science projects and helped to shape the nation’s environmental science agenda.

Research across the next phase of NESP will be prioritised across four mega science hubs to meet the most pressing environmental management and policy needs, with an emphasis on climate adaptation, threatened species, protected places, and waste impacts.

“We are investing a further $149 million in a flexible approach across the new hubs that informs policy and drives shared learning,” Minister Ley said.

“It is an investment that will build on the $145 million funding to date that has seen almost 400 successful science projects that are shaping policy and delivering practical environmental outcomes.”

Assistant Minister for Forestry and Fisheries and Senator for Tasmania Jonno Duniam said the University of Tasmania was perfectly placed to deliver this hub, with Tasmania leading the world with its high-quality marine research.

“Tasmania is a leader in environmental science and now, the Marine and Coastal Hub will cement this status,” Assistant Minister Duniam said. 

“The Hub will deliver research and science that underpins the management of Australia’s marine and coastal environments, by harnessing a range of research expertise on estuaries, coast, reefs, shelf and deep-water environments. 

“This work is critical to the management of our seafood industry. Our Government is committed to ensuring we continue to have a strategic and robust science-based approach that supports ecologically sustainable development of our fisheries.”

The hub will be jointly led by Associate Professor Alan Jordan from the University of Tasmania and Professor Damien Burrows from James Cook University.

Associate Professor Jordan is based at the University of Tasmania’s Institute of Marine and Antarctic Studies and has 30 years’ experience in the management of marine research and monitoring programs. Professor Burrows is an internationally recognised wetland and coastal marine ecologist who is currently leading the NESP Tropical Water Quality Hub and is founding director of TropWATER, one of the largest coastal and marine research centres in the country. 

The three other NESP Hubs are the Resilient Landscapes (University of Western Australia), Sustainable Communities and Waste Hub (UNSW), and the Climate Systems Hub (CSIRO).

Over the next seven years hubs will work collaboratively, while researching practical, environmental science strategies within their own field.

The new hubs will come into effect in early 2021, with the existing hubs running until mid-2021. This will ensure NESP continues to deliver valuable research throughout the transition. Further information is available at www.environment.gov.au/science/nesp/.