State-wide NRM research priorities released

All 12 natural resource management (NRM) groups across Queensland have come together to define the top high-level research priority areas to better guide their work.

Drawing on expertise from NRM groups across the State, a Queensland-wide NRM research prospectus has now been delivered, harnessing collective wisdom across the State’s NRM groups to create a common set of priorities, strategies and approaches to help guide investment decisions and ensure the best outcomes are achieved for the environment.

The process drew heavily on expertise sitting within Healthy Land and Water’s science team, with two of the body’s senior managers actively involved throughout.  Dr Grace Muriuki, Strategic Science Manager and Dr Andrew O’Neill, General Manager – Environmental Services, were heavily involved from conceptualisation to pilot testing and review of the final product.


They agree that while NRM projects are inherently complex by nature, many of them share common elements which made the process of collaborating to identify headline priorities and strategies a valuable exercise.

NRM projects are typified by being make up of multiple stakeholders looking to deliver research which addressing multiple, integrated objectives. The projects are often dependent on leveraging local knowledge, practical experience, and relationships with a wide variety of people and disparate groups who ultimately apply the results of research to decision-making.

The prospectus aims to provide Queensland’s NRM network with a strong starting point for research projects and partnerships that deliver mutual benefits for researchers, research investors, regional NRM bodies and their communities.

It identifies practical options for research organisations, philanthropic organisations, NRM peak bodies, government, and other investors to address major challenges to forming effective NRM research partnerships.

CEO Healthy Land and Water, Julie McLellan, says that the level of commitment the organisation had given to the process was essential, given the critical role of research in driving investment decisions and ensuring the best outcomes are achieved for the environment and the communities.

The Natural Resource Management Queensland 2020 Research Prospectus is an initiative of NRM Regions Queensland, a body formed in 2002 to improve the state-wide delivery of regional NRM outcomes in partnership with industry, community and government, and to act as a representative body for NRM in Queensland by providing a single, strong voice for its members


The ten guiding principles of NRM partnerships are below:

The NRM Research Prospectus also sets out ten guiding principles for achieving mutual benefits through research partnerships with two overarching principles.

Start working together early

  1. Gain a detailed understanding of partners’ objectives for the research (e.g., the scientific knowledge to be generated, the management decision to be supported). Develop research questions to address these objectives and four cross-cutting topics.
  2. Agree on the form of the partnership. This could range from consultation (e.g., providing feedback) to involvement (e.g., strategic input and advice) to collaboration (collaborative planning, design, delivery and communication).
  3. Develop fit-for-purpose research methods that integrate local knowledge and experience, enable statistical analysis and address potential conflicts with aspirations of other NRM stakeholders.
  4. Clearly define partners’ roles based on the form of the partnership, partners’ capacities and preferences.
  5. Develop research agreements that set out details of the above, as well as in relation to Intellectual Property and data sharing. Identify, acknowledge and address power differentials in the partnership.

Engage intended users

  1. Identify the intended uses and users of the knowledge that will be generated.
  2. Seek to understand intended users’ values, priorities, needs and capacity in relation to application of the knowledge (e.g., whether they are willing to adopt practice change, whether new technology be required).
  3. Seek opportunities to combine research with implementation (e.g., action research) where appropriate. Consider realistic scope to adjust the project in response to users’ perspectives on interim outcomes.
  4. Agree on whether and when intended users should be involved in the research (e.g., defining objectives, project design, data collection, communication).
  5. Plan for two-way exchange of information through trusted networks, using appropriate formats and forums to provide updates and interim findings and communicate results. Consider ways to release results as soon as possible (e.g., PhD by publication).


Download the full prospectus here

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