Our People

Jessica Weir
Project Leader
Key interests:


Jessica Weir is a Senior Research Fellow at the Institute for Culture and Society, University of Western Sydney. Jessica’s research engages with the social-cultural dimensions of environmental issues, and her publications span water management, bushfire aware planning, native title, weeds and climate change. Jessica has held positions Senior Research Fellow at the University of Canberra and Research Fellow at the Australian Institute for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies (AIATSIS) where she founded the AIATSIS Land and Water Research Centre. Jessica is an editorial board member of the Routledge Environmental Humanities Book Series, and a Visiting Fellow at the Fenner School of Environment and Society, Australian National University.

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Project leadership

The increasing demand for evidence-based public policy places a premium on the need to translate scientific knowledge into policy, practice and common understanding. This translation is rendered even more challenging by the inherent uncertainty and diverse disciplines of the science behind the evidence. How should risk mitigation practitioners manage these scientific uncertainties and diversities in their strategic decision-making? This is a key question driving this project, which aims to help risk management practitioners to explain, justify and discuss mitigation practices to others, including mitigation professionals, the public, the media, and in court and inquiry processes. The project uses qualitative social science methods, including scenario exercises, theoretical tools and case studies. It analyses how diverse knowledge is ordered and judged as salient, credible and authoritative, and its pragmatic meaning for emergency management across the prevention, preparedness, response and recovery spectrum.
This project, currently under development, will begin on 1 July 2017. It is investigating the hazard priorities of diverse Indigenous communities in southern Australia, and the emergency management sector’s engagement with these communities. It will conduct collaborative research with Indigenous peoples and emergency management practitioners to explore how better engagement can be supported, with a focus on the interaction of scientific, Indigenous and other knowledge sources.
Year Type Citation
2016 Journal Article Neale, T., Weir, J. & McGee, T. K. Knowing wildfire risk: Scientific interactions with risk mitigation policy and practice in Victoria, Australia. Geoforum 72, (2016).
2016 Report Weir, J. & Neale, T. Scientific diversity, scientific uncertainty and risk mitigation policy and planning: Annual project report 2015-2016. (Bushfire and Natural Hazards CRC, 2016).
2016 Journal Article Neale, T., Weir, J. & Dovers, S. Science in Motion: integrating scientific knowledge into bushfire risk mitigation in southwest Victoria. Australian Journal of Emergency Management 31, (2016).
2015 Report Weir, J. & Neale, T. Scientific diversity, scientific uncertainty and risk mitigation policy and planning: Annual project report 2014-2015. (Bushfire and Natural Hazards CRC, 2015).
2015 Conference Paper Neale, T. & Weir, J. Science in motion: knowledge practices and prescribed burning in southwest Victoria - non peer reviewed extended abstract. Adelaide Conference 2015 (2015).
2015 Journal Article Neale, T. & Weir, J. Navigating scientific uncertainty in wildfire and flood risk mitigation: A qualitative review. International Journal of Disaster Risk Reduction 13, 255-265 (2015).
2015 Report Neale, T. & Weir, J. Scientific Uncertainty and Risk Mitigation Policy and Planning Annual Report 2014. (2015).
2014 Journal Article McLennan, B. J. et al. Negotiating risk and responsibility through law, policy and planning. Australian Journal of Emergency Management 29, (2014).
2013 Conference Proceedings Weir, J. Fire authorities and planners: reducing risk across diverse landscapes. 2013 Research Forum (2013). at <http://www.bushfirecrc.com/resources/research-report/fire-authorities-and-planners-reducing-risk-across-diverse-landscapes>

Posters credited

Navigating scientific uncertainty in bushfire and flood risk mitigation

Attempts to anticipate and mitigate natural hazards have generated a diverse field of natural science that is drawn upon by a wide range of practitioners and decision-makers. Uncertainty is a necessary part of scientific practice, but how can we navigate it?

Key Topics:
Timothy Neale Conference Poster 2016

Two case studies from the north and south Australia examine how science is being used to change how we anticiate and mitigate natural hazards illustraate some common opportunities and challenges

All the resources from our 2016 conference

Research program in detail

Where, why and how are Australians dying in floods?

2015-2016 year in review

Bushfire planning with kids ebook