“ACSC’s core business has evolved into ‘integrating climate models into catchment/water and agricultural systems’. Our core business has also evolved into ‘integrating GIS/remote sensing along with climate modelling into agricultural and water-catchment systems’. Ecological aspects also play a key role.
Our core business fits within a ‘glove of the business of sustainability’.
The strong theme of sustainability is paramount in ACSC and this matches and satisfies the values and key organisational goals of the University, stated in its Strategic Plan, 2009-2013.
ACSC has a strong focus on demand driven R&D, especially industry/government call for specific research projects.
The Australian Centre for Sustainable Catchments (ACSC) is unique in Australia in that it seamlessly combines world leading research and development in climate and meteorological science with engineering, remote sensing and surveying, hydrological modelling, economic modelling, and rural research, all at the catchment scale.
Importantly, ACSC also provides national leadership in ecological research at a catchment scale with strong underpinning science capabilities in that field. No other agency in Australia provides such integrated systems research and development in these fields.
ACSC was formed in 2005 as a small semi-autonomous research centre linked to the University of Southern Queensland in Toowoomba, Queensland. Since 2005, its external income has increased rapidly and now utilises the expertise of 34 university and core ACSC staff across all disciplines. This approach has led to major contract research or consultancy projects involving:
• leading insurance and reinsurance agencies;
• major catchment industries (e.g. one of the worlds’ largest irrigated cotton enterprises);
• leading mining/gas companies;
• Queensland’s largest rural industry agency (QFF);
• numerous federal research contracts through the ‘Managing Climate Variability Program’ and other federal departments;
• major Federal and State Government research programs (e.g. DAFF, DIISTRE, NCCARF, DSEWPC) ;
• local and regional council contract research (e.g. climate and weather risk assessment for the Toowoomba Regional Council; Bio-regional metadata base development for the Condamine Alliance );
• research in counties such as India, China, Pakistan, Vietnam and Nepal on aspects related to farm irrigation, GHG reduction and climate variability;
• building sustainable research profile capable of conducting world class research by building capacity and capability through USQ Digital Future (DF) and UC Murray Darling Basin (MDB) Future Collaborative Research Networks (CRN);
• major provision of contracted research to Queensland Water Infrastructure Ltd and Queensland Sugar Ltd regarding weather-climate risk assessment and projections in regards to tactical and strategic planning needs.
Since 2007, Professor Roger Stone has led ACSC as Director and now heads a team comprising world leading researchers in applied research covering hydrology/flooding (Dr Ian Brodie), remote sensing and spatial modelling (Dr Kevin McDougall and Assoc Prof Armando Apan), soil systems (Dr Chuxia Lin), resource economics (Dr Shahbaz Mushtaq), forestry systems (Dr Tek Maraseni), land use systems (Dr Geoff Cockfield), and climate and meteorological science (Professor Roger Stone and Assoc Prof Joachim Ribbe). Additionally, ACSC has captured the capability of Mr Torben Marcussen, arguably one of the foremost IT specialists in Australia.
In addition to providing focussed, applied research, review and assessment, ACSC continues to publish in world-class scientific and technical journals. Additionally, through Professor Stone, ACSC has and currently contributes to major UN technical programs, especially in regards to provision of recommendations in risk management involving extreme weather systems globally.
The research efforts of the ACSC are encapsulated in the following four research groups: