SEI’s collaborative research projects for 2023

28 November 2022
SEI’s 2023 Collaborative Grants have been awarded to a diverse range of researchers across the University.

SEI is thrilled to congratulate the recipients of our 2023 Collaborative Grants Scheme.

The announcement of these new projects follows the highly successful inaugural SEI Collaborative Research Fellowships this year, and contributes to the global impact of SEI’s environmental research across disciplines within the University and beyond.

SEI’s Collaborative Grants Scheme represents the heart of what we do at SEI: build connections, mentor colleagues and help develop mentoring relationships, and facilitate and manage multidisciplinary projects for outputs and impact. This group of successful grant recipients illustrates the broad reach of SEI members, seeing researchers from architecture, arts, business, engineering, social sciences, medicine and health, and science partnering across disciplines, schools, and faculties.
SEI Director David Schlosberg

The Collaborative Grants Scheme recognises the breadth of the multiple crises we currently face, and engages in multidisciplinary research to bring together expertise and increase our impact.

These projects support SEI’s key research themes for 2023. All address the wide-ranging impacts of climate change and the social, cultural, and technical transformations necessary in order to achieve a just and sustainable environmental transformation in which all life can flourish. These include: building capacity around systems transformation through decarbonising the health industry and energy systems; engaging in imaginaries through diverse mediums, including image and sound, to reconceptualise environmental issues; deepening biocultural diversities and environmental regeneration through a lens of co-stewardship; and understanding climate displacement and migration on issues of justice.

The Collaborative Fellowship for 2023 has been awarded to Dr Diana Chester (Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences) and Associate Professor Damien Ricketson (Sydney Conservatorium of Music) for their project, Listening to the Earth

Their work focuses on listening, connecting, and understanding our environment, and engages with environmental concerns, through the medium and metaphor of sound. With sound at the core of the project, sound becomes not only the object of enquiry, but a medium of dissemination and discourse unto itself. In addition to textual outputs including an article, key outputs of the project will be sound-based creative work including performances, recordings as well as the listening devices themselves as sound installation pieces.

Listening to the Earth

In addition, several projects have been awarded Collaborative Seed Funding. These include:

Dr Arunima Malik (Faculty of Science and Faculty of Business) and Dr Kristen Pickles (Faculty of Medicine and Health) for Exploring use of “laughing gas” in maternity units and clinician and patient views on transitioning to low carbon alternatives:

This cross-disciplinary project will measure clinician’s use of Nitrous oxide (N2O) in maternity units in Australia, and identify challenges and opportunities for switching to low-carbon alternatives. In close collaboration with SEI and newly-appointed NSW Health Net Zero Leads, this project will combine expertise in behavioural science, qualitative methods, and lifecycle assessment to contribute to a research agenda of global environmental interest: transitioning healthcare to a net-zero future. 

Dr Christopher Pepin-Neff (Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences) and Professor David Raubenheimer, (Charles Perkins Centre and Faculty of Science) for Human-Shark Relations: Coexistence and conservation based on better understandings, public education, and policy change:

For millions of years sharks have swum through native waters, and dating back to Aboriginal carvings, sharks have represented a threat in the human imaginary. The recent opposition to shark culling in Australia represents a leading tip of the international Save the Shark movement. This project aims to devise public education tools and policy options to redefine the human-shark relationship in Australia. It also includes external partners Lawrence Chlebeck, (Marine Biologist and Campaigner at Humane Society International) and Lauren Sandeman, (Threatened Species Campaigner, Sea Shepherd).

Dr Jennifer Ferng (Sydney School of Architecture, Design and Planning) and Dr Daniel Ryan (Sydney School of Architecture, Design and Planning) for Climate Imaginaries Exhibition and Workshop:

Sydney’s 2009 dust storm and Lismore’s 2022 flash floods have been immortalised by photographic images testifying to the widespread damages wrought by severe weather and unpredictable natural disasters. Images remain powerful, persuasive tools that impact how the public understands what is happening to the environment and how they can contribute productively to combat these effects. The Climate Imaginaries exhibition will educate the public more broadly about global images used to describe the climate crisis and how visual literacy can be marshalled to sway public opinions.  

Dr Rebecca Cross (Faculty of Science), Associate Professor Rosanne Quinnell (Sydney Environment Institute and Faculty of Science) and Katie Moore (Sydney Policy Lab) for Restoring rural places: stewardship, story, connection and Country:

Using the lens of co-stewardship, this project will bring together local Wiradyuri Elders, Landcare and Local Land Services in the Riverina to share stories of stewardship and sense of place, to map out these stories, and to have open conservations around practical and imagined ways of deepening community engagement for environmental regeneration. It will address the need to protect, enhance and regenerate the environment; enable Indigenous governance of natural resources; and protect and activate culturally significant sites.

Dr Sophie Webber (Faculty of Science) and Dr Gareth Bryant (Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences) for Repairing Australia’s Climate Economies:

Climate change is reshaping all aspects of Australia’s economy, and the evolution of climate change is increasingly governed by climate finance. Research has demonstrated the limits of using financial tools to manage mitigation and adaptation, yet finance remains a powerful mediator of climate futures. This project will investigate different contracts for purchasing renewable energy to explore the reparative potential of climate finance, and will create a conceptual framework and network for repairing Australia’s diverse climate economies.

Dr Susan Banki (Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences) and Dr Aaron Opdyke (Faculty of Engineering) for Places of Refuge amidst Climate Change in Complex Displacement Contexts:

The speed and intensity of climate change is poised to reshape the landscape of displacement contexts in the Global South. As governments and organisations develop places of refuge, climate change is placing new pressures on both temporary and permanent settlements as well as disrupting conventions of whether proximity to home environments matter. This project will explore how the complicating factor of climate change influences the design of places of refuge and the societal institutions therein that are altered by complex displacement.

We look forward to seeing how the projects develop. Congratulations to all the 2023 Grant recipients!

There will be another call for Collaborative Grant applications in the first half of 2023. To stay up to date with SEI Fellowship and Funding opportunities, subscribe to our newsletter.

Header image: Flock of white corella birds in gum tree with blue sky background in New South Wales Australia by Robyn Charnley via Shutterstock, ID: 1189302682.

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