- Three Charles Sturt University projects have been announced as finalists in the Engagement Australia 2020 Excellence Awards
- Projects recognised that have created meaningful research outcomes in food security, Indigenous mental health and water policy
- Video content showcasing each project produced to demonstrate the impact of the research
Three Charles Sturt University projects have been announced as finalists in the Engagement Australia 2020 Excellence Awards.
The projects are:
- Djirruwang Aboriginal Mental Health Worker Education and Training Program, for Excellence in Community Engagement: Closing the Gap. Dr Faye McMillan
- Novel Pest Management Program, for Outstanding Engagement for Research Impact. Professor of Applied Ecology Geoff Gurr, a member of the Charles Sturt Graham Centre for Agricultural Innovation
- Environmental Long-Term Intervention Monitoring and Monitoring, Evaluation and Research Programs, for Excellence in Community Engagement. Professor Robyn Watts and Associate Professor Skye Wassens, who are members of the Charles Sturt Institute for Land, Water and Society (ILWS)
Engagement Australia is the peak alliance of Australian and New Zealand universities, which believes engaged universities consider their core public purpose is as a centre of knowledge creation and societal improvement.
The awards identify and celebrate the transformative engagement activities which demonstrate far-reaching impact and innovation.
Acting Vice-Chancellor Professor John Germov said the three Charles Sturt University projects are typical of the work the University’s academics are leading, which has a lasting impact on individuals, communities and industry.
"Developing food security and the reduction of environmentally hazardous inputs, a program that provides better mental health support for Indigenous Australians, and a pathway for unique community engagement to inform significant water policy – these are meaningful research outcomes,” Professor Germov said.
“On behalf of the entire University I would like to congratulate these four outstanding academics on the impact of their projects and on being named finalists in the Engagement Australia 2020 Excellence Awards.”
Director of the Djirruwang Program Dr Faye McMillan in the School of Nursing, Midwifery and Indigenous Health said the Bachelor of Health Science (Mental Health) – Djirruwang Program enables students to stay in their home communities and study.
“This opportunity to undertake their studies within their communities means that many of the graduates continue to work within their communities beyond graduation,” Dr McMillan said.
“This model of workforce development allows the workforce to grow from within the community, understanding the issues they face and providing a skilled workforce to meet these needs.”
Professor of Applied Ecology Geoff Gurr in the School of Agricultural and Wine Sciences and Graham Centre for Agricultural Innovation said the collaboration of the Novel Pest Management Program has brought about greater food security and estimated benefits of US$28 million a year.
“Ecological knowledge allows us to combat pest and disease problems with sustainable solutions based on natural processes,” Professor Gurr said.
“Increasingly, overseas partners are turning to us to help deliver similar solutions in systems as diverse as Chinese rice, Tanzanian beans and Papua New Guinea sweet potato.”
Professor Robyn Watts said the Charles Sturt University environmental water program has enabled local people from rural and regional areas to collaborate on projects in partnership with university researchers, providing opportunities to share knowledge and build capacity in local communities.
“This has led to improvements in how water managers, industry, researchers and local communities work together to plan and deliver environmental water to sustain native plants and animals, and keep our rivers, floodplains and wetlands healthy,” Professor Watts said.
The judging panel for the Engagement Australia 2020 Excellence Awards commented on the exceptional quality of the 124 submissions they had received from 35 universities across Australia.
The award winners will be announced at an online event on Tuesday 1 December.