Announcement: CSIRO’s Sustainability Science Seminar Series

October 31st, 2023

Addressing the big sustainability challenges for Australia and the region will require research, government, industry and civil society to work together constructively to drive transitions. These must not only address climate change, but drive multiple societal outcomes simultaneously – from reversing biodiversity loss to ensuring community resilience in the face of change, to enabling equitable access to livelihoods and resources across current and future generations. As part of its effort to address these challenges, CSIRO is investing in foundational sustainability science through our Valuing Sustainability Future Science Platform (VS FSP).

This new public seminar series will highlight various aspects of this sustainability science research agenda by showcasing the work and perspectives of leading researchers from around the world. You will hear from key thinkers, scholars, scientists and practitioners tackling the grand challenges from diverse angles. The series especially highlights research collaborations with industry, government, and civil society to advance sustainability outcomes.

The series is hosted by CSIRO’s VS FSP in conjunction with key CSIRO Research Programs with a sustainability focus across CSIRO Agriculture & Food, and Environment Business Units.

The seminars will be delivered online. To keep up to date with the seminar series and receive invites to attend, subscribe to VS FSP updates.

The First Seminar: Innovation for Sustainability. December 8, 1pm – 2:30pm AEDT

The first instalment of this seminar series focusses on Innovation for Sustainability, how we can understand and go about advancing it, and ways we might monitor it into the future. This view of innovation augments consideration of the how much and what type of innovation (technological, new products, policy, governance) with a focus on its direction (who are the beneficiaries, over what timeframes, and within what scope?). We increasingly hear about innovation for sustainability as mission-oriented innovation, or disruptive niches. These are often framed as innovation that can support a transition or transformation to a more sustainable economy and society. Yet relatively little research focus has been on what it takes in practice, and what innovation policies, methods and approaches can be applied to ensuring our significant investments in innovation can drive a diverse range of diverse societal outcomes.

The seminar will commence with a short presentation by Dr Peat Leith, Director of the CSIRO Valuing Sustainability Future Science Platform (VS FSP), to provide an overview of the VS FSP, which hosts the seminar series.

Most of the seminar will on a collaboration between Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics (ABARES) and a project of the VS FSP, which is focussed on Future Options for Agriculture and Food Innovation Policy,

1.           Dr Rohan Nelson (ABARES) will talk about the Australian agrifood innovation system and the challenge that the project aims to address by connecting agriculture and food innovation policy, embedding this in the wider national innovation system and supporting ways to augment existing excellence in agricultural innovation with more directional innovation approaches to sustainability. This work involves building a credible, legitimate and useful policy narrative with key people who can contribute to and progress it, and treating this process itself as a collaborative experiment.

2.           Dr Andy Hall (CSIRO) will outline the emerging policy narrative as presented in a new discussion paper, developed through the above collaboration with a wide community of experts (CoE). This narrative distils key lessons from the CoE and presents a tractable and accessible foundation for building policy options for innovation that can better support sustainability transition in Australia’s agriculture and food sectors.

3.           Dr Shima Khanezhar (CSIRO) will finally present a snapshot of her early stage research in computational linguistics and natural language processing techniques that she hopes to develop to be able to track and trace changes in innovation narratives within a variety of settings.