UWA Oceans Institute

Research themes

Research excellence is at the heart of the UWA Oceans Institute.

Since 2010, researchers have demonstrated depth and breadth of research capability through quantitative and qualitative projects and outputs alone and in groups. Through the development and execution of a comprehensive and effective research strategy, the UWA Oceans Institute has developed critical areas of strategic research focus.

Research Strategy 2018–2021

Coasts and communities

The UWA Oceans Institute recognises that people and oceans are inherently linked through connections between natural and cultural assets; yet our coastal communities, maritime landscapes and heritage are all under threat from natural and manmade impacts. The Institute will:

  • utilise our strengths in oceanography to explore natural and engineered solutions to coastal hazards.
  • help ensure the sustainability of coasts and communities – including Indigenous and cultural heritage - by delivering key knowledge and practical advice to agencies responsible for coastal management, communities, property and heritage along our coastline.
  • collaborate with researchers and institutions around the Indian Ocean rim, to enhance the livelihood of coastal communities among our neighbouring nations.

Energy from the oceans

The UWA Oceans Institute will continue to work in a number of areas associated with both fossil fuel and renewable energy, with a focus on engineering but also engaging with marine science, social and community issues, law and policy as well as business and economics. The Institutue will:

  • continue to improve the safety and efficiency, and play a part in leading the development, of the offshore oil and gas industry in Western Australia, nationally and internationally.
  • seek to support and grow a significant marine-based renewable energy industry, both locally and internationally.
  • develop engineering, legal, economic and ecological frameworks to guide potential decommissioning of offshore structures at end-of-life.

Fisheries, food security and aquaculture

The UWA Oceans Institute will undertake research to support a sustainable seafood industry in Australia and internationally. The Institutue will:

  • work with fisheries management agencies, commercial and recreational fishers, community and co-operative fisheries, to ensure sustainability of fish stocks and the people and organisations that depend on them.
  • seek to drive sustainably growth in the aquaculture industry.
  • address cross-cutting issues such as illegal fishing, transnational criminal operations, labour concerns, fiscal arrangements and subsidies, and data, monitoring and enforcement.

Marine conservation, ecology and climate change

The UWA Oceans Institute will provide both fundamental knowledge and practical conservation approaches to ensure that unique marine cultural assets and ecosystems are preserved for future generations. The Institute will:

  • extend our skills to provide marine conservation advice for the benefit of the broad Indian Ocean and South East Asian regions in areas including climate change, coral reefs and species protections.
  • explore multi-faceted approached to marine management including marine spatial planning and the oceans governance arrangements necessary to support it.
  • address impacts of non-consumptive uses of the ocean including tourism – as both an alternative to fishing and a key regional blue economy goal.

Maritime security, safety and defence

The UWA Oceans Institute will contribute to Australian and regional security by positioning itself as a trusted adviser to policy-makers, maritime law enforcement agencies and commercial organisations. The Institute will:

  • focus not only traditional surveillance and defence, but international criminal activities such as piracy, illegal fishing, and trafficking of people, drugs and weapons.
  • explore how innovative technologies can be utilised to enhance maritime security.
  • undertake research focusing on risk – from engineering, management and legal perspectives – particularly in the context of climate change.

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Research outputs

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