Views and Visions: Posts from our People

David Bruce
Communications Manager
May
22

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Talking up CRC research to a US wildfire audience.
Talking up CRC research to a US wildfire audience.

Leading with the research loop

One particularly astute observer in the US this month commented on the work of the Bushfire and Natural Hazards CRC: “We are still talking about Research To Operations but you guys are doing that and also Operations to Research .”

I was in the US last month for the National Cohesive Wildland Fire Management Strategy workshop in Nevada talking up the CRC program and trying to find tips about how we can better get our science out and amongst the operational types. The theme of the week was getting science into policy or practice. So, comments such as the one above served to benchmark where we are at in this task.

I presented to the workshop on the CRC successes in getting the science into policies and practice. I highlighted a few exemplary projects and talked a bit about the process that is end-user driven from the beginning. I took a national approach, while on the same session Alen Slijepcevic, from the CFA in Victoria, talked about the state-based Living with Fire policy in Victoria and Murray Carter, from the Office of Bushfire Risk Management in Western Australia, talked about the impacts of bushfire risk management at the local level. A moderately sized but enthusiastic audience had some very good questions over the two-hour session. We three Aussies are also Board members of the International Association of Wildland Fire, which hosted the workshop.

The mostly US-based delegates were particularly impressed with the way the CRC works with end-users from the beginning to get the research right through Research Advisory Forums and other meetings. The idea that fire and forest agency people were sitting at the same table as the researchers at the beginning of the project was quite novel.

For much of this audience, research transfer was something that begins once the research has ended. Hence, many talks used the acronym R2O – Research to Operations. The legacy of our visit may be a change to that acronym to create a research loop  – R2O2R? Research to Operations to Research?

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