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

There is a significant knowledge deficit concerning how science and other forms of knowledge are used and integrated into emergency management policy and practice, leading to incorrect and counterproductive misunderstandings. The emphasis on the value of scientific knowledge within the natural hazards sector – and particularly in regards to risk mitigation – is legitimate. However, to this point, this valuing of science has not been accompanied by research into the actual opportunities and challenges of using science in policy and practice.

This project, which has transitioned to its utilisation phase, has produced a number of journal articles documenting issues related to scientific uncertainty in bushfire and flood risk mitigation.

This project commenced in July 2017. Within the context of reducing natural hazard risk and increasing resilience in southern Australia, it focuses explicitly on the risk and resilience priorities of Indigenous communities in southern Australia, the emergency management sector’s priorities for these communities, and how these interests interact. Its intention is to identify where improvements might be made to reduce natural hazard risk and increase social and ecological resilience. This research complements existing and completed CRC projects.
Year Type Citation
2017 Conference Paper Weir, J., Neale, T. & Clarke, L. Science is critical but it's not everything: our findings. AFAC17 (Bushfire and Natural Hazards CRC, 2017).
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 Neale, T. & Weir, J. Scientific Uncertainty and Risk Mitigation Policy and Planning Annual Report 2014. (2015).
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).
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

Scientific knowledge Q and A

Scientific knowledge is not an objective 'truth' that provides answers for risk mitigation. Many other knowledge sources are required, including how scientific knowledge is used and contested by diverse groups in society.

Key Topics:

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