UWA Oceans Institute

About the Institute

The UWA Oceans Institute is a multidisciplinary marine research organisation, established in 2010 and based at The University of Western Australia (UWA). Located in Perth, Western Australia, the proximity of the Oceans Institute, adjacent to the Indian Ocean, makes it a hub for world-class collaborative marine research.

The research profile of the Oceans Institute brings together UWA's multidisciplinary research strengths in areas such as oceanography, ecology, engineering, resource management and governance to deliver Ocean Solutions Research that address key ocean challenges. The Oceans Institute is committed to engaging and working together with State and Federal government bodies, a range of industries, businesses and research institutions, and the community at local, national and international levels.

1. Strategy

At the core of our mission is the goal that by 2021 we will be the leading global ocean research and education center focused on the Indian Ocean, generating positive outcomes for the wealth and prosperity of our communities. We will enhance knowledge through fundamental research about our oceans and develop innovative applications that effectively address global challenges such as food, energy, climate and national security and meet the needs of government, industry and communities and to provide sustainable ocean solutions to real-world challenges. In the coming years we will particularly focus upon enhancing the and demonstrating the impact of our research, developing and delivering new postgraduate programs and consolidating and strengthening activities with existing partners whilst exploring new opportunities to contribute to cooperative initiatives.

Strategic Objectives

The core objectives of the UWA Oceans Institute developed at its inception in 2010 remain at the heart of our activities, plans and goals. These include:

  • To extend the frontiers of knowledge in ocean science and technology
  • To foster and promote inter-disciplinary marine-related research across traditional science, engineering, health, socio-cultural and policy boundaries
  • To promote excellence and leadership in ocean science and technology at the regional, national and international levels
  • To provide a focal point for quality training of postgraduate students in ocean research
  • To become a resource to address the needs of Australian society, government and industry for safely operating in the marine environment
  • To promote innovative collaborative opportunities in marine science and technology in Western Australia
  • To articulate science-based, intelligent and innovative strategies for the use of marine resources to create opportunities for human and economic development
  • To generate the knowledge needed to reconcile the sustainable use of ocean resources with the conservation of its biodiversity

Operational Priorities

  • Enhance research profile
  • Advance Oceans Institutes international development
  • Engage in knowledge transfer
  • Invest in international research programs
  • Develop strategic partnerships
  • Increase available resources

2. Governance and Leadership

The research focus and strategic direction of the Oceans Institute is overseen both by an external Advisory Board and an Executive Board to enhance the impact and sustainability of the Institute’s research activities.

Advisory Board

The UWA Oceans Institute Advisory Board comprises senior representatives from a range of major research institutions and the state government. The Advisory Board provides independent, high level advice on industry and policy needs and trends in the Indian Ocean region to guide strategic planning for the Oceans Institute.

The Oceans Institute Advisory Board Members include:

  • Dr Ian Poiner
  • Dr Tom Hatton
  • Dr Larry Madin
  • Ms Andrea Gleason
  • Ms Jan Flynn
  • Professor Gordon Flake

Executive Board

The UWA Oceans Institute Executive Board is chaired by UWA’s Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Research and brings together members from collaborating facilities to develop the strategic priorities and objectives for the successful operation of the Institute.

The Executive Board comprises:

  • Deputy Vice Chancellor (Research) (Chair)
  • Pro-Vice Chancellor (Research)
  • Executive Deans and Pro Vice-Chancellors of all four faculties
  • Director and Deputy Director of the UWA Oceans Institute
  • A postgraduate Student Representative

The Executive Board takes a collective approach and responsibility for:

  • setting the high-level, long term strategy of the UWA Oceans Institute
  • setting and monitoring the objectives and KPIs of the UWA Oceans Institute
  • overseeing the financial arrangements and investments of the UWA Oceans Institute
  • overseeing and managing financial and institutional risks
  • optimising human resources

The Oceans Institute Executive Board Members include:

  • Prof Robyn Owens, Deputy Vice Chancellor (Research) (Chair)
  • Prof Peter Davies, Pro-Vice Chancellor (Research)
  • Prof Tony O’Donnell, Dean Faculty of Science
  • Prof John Dell, Dean Faculty of Engineering and Mathematical Sciences
  • Prof Matthew Tonts, Dean Faculty of Arts, Business, Law and Education
  • Prof Wendy Erber, Dean of Faculty of Health and Medical Science
  • Prof Jill Milroy, Dean of the School of Indigenous Studies
  • Prof Peter Veth, Director, UWA Oceans Institute
  • Prof Julian Partridge, Deputy Director, UWA Oceans Institute
  • Ms Nicole Fiumana and Sahira Bell - Postgraduate Student Representatives

Senior Leadership Team

The Senior Leadership team comprises UWA Oceans Institute Members drawn from all four faculties of the University as well as officeholders for research, education and engagement agenda:

  • Director
  • Deputy Director
  • Head of Oceans Graduate School
  • Associate Director Faculty of Arts, Law, Business and Education
  • Associate Director Faculty of Engineering and Mathematical Sciences
  • Associate Direcor Faculty of Science
  • Associate Director Faculty of Health and Medical Science
  • Research Theme Leader - Maritime security, safety and defence
  • Research Theme Leader - Marine conservation, ecology and climate change
  • Research Theme Leader - Fisheries, food security and aquaculture
  • Research Theme Leader - Energy from the oceans
  • Research Theme Leader - Coasts and communities

Operations Team

The operations team provides support to the Senior Leadership Team in implementation and administration of the UWA Oceans Institute. 

The Oceans Institute Operations team include:

  • Oceans Institute Director
  • Oceans Institute Deputy Director
  • Executive Assistant to the Director
  • Business Support Manager

3. Membership

The UWA Oceans Institute is committed to expanding its multidisciplinary membership to better position it as a leader in the development of smart, sustainable and secure oceans. The Institute has a tiered membership structure has been implemented with the addition of Associate Members from 2017:

  • Academic: UWA academic staff with core research and teaching interests in oceans
  • Adjunct: external members meeting adjunct or honorary staff status with marine interests
  • Associate: UWA staff (including Emeritus) or external members with some marine research interests/activities
  • Professional/Technical: UWA staff appointed on a professional or technical basis
  • Student: HDR students (PhD and Masters) with oceans projects and/or supervised by Academic members
Learn more about what our members are researching.