CDU-AIMS Social Science Postdoctoral Fellowship – based at Northern Institute

Project: Other

Project Details

Description

The challenge
Land and sea ownership by Indigenous peoples have unequal legal recognition around Australia, despite a continued connection to place in most regions. Sea Country for many northern Australian Indigenous peoples is central to their cultural identity but in many ways, is a colonised space. 
Despite the cascading effects on Indigenous communities from years of exclusion and marginalisation by successive governments, aspirations for self-determination and culture remain strong. 
Sea Country management led by Indigenous Peoples is fundamental to empowering Indigenous peoples and improving natural resource management in Australia. Deconstructing barriers to management are necessary and must be addressed in a multi-faceted way. Partnerships with key specialists is essential to maximise expertise and deliver effective outcomes that meet the needs of Indigenous Sea Country managers. Changes to policy and legislation, access to data and information, and increased decision-making power will be essential to progress Indigenous-led Sea Country management in Australia.

What we’re doing
Northern Institute (CDU) and AIMS take a collaborative and leading-practice approach to research. We're working with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples, industry, and governments to support the aspirations of Indigenous Peoples in their Sea Country.  Across the Top End, we're advancing practice in Indigenous-led participatory planning, coastal resource policy, governance and we’re supporting improved data and knowledge frameworks in Sea Country.  The strengths of each institution and the role they play in supporting the aspirations of Indigenous Peoples in managing Sea Country is realised in the Social Science Fellowship. 
After three years of working with Traditional Owners, Sea Rangers, government and industry partners, we will have co-designed tools to improve planning, collection, access, and storage of data for Sea Country management. These tools will have an applied focus to meet the real-world challenges facing Sea Country managers. The tools will range from practical, innovative tech solutions such as drones and remote sensing to shifts in policy that clarify, and where possible, improve the rights, planning and protection of Sea Country for Indigenous Peoples.

How it helps
We’ll develop a research and management network across some of Australia's remotest and most vulnerable environments to support the aspirations of Traditional Owners and empowering Indigenous-led management in Sea Country.
Tools to improve access to knowledge and data collected on Country supports decision-making by Traditional Owners and enables an adaptive management approach. This feedback loop is critical to improve the efficacy of resource management and empowering Indigenous peoples on-country.
Recent research shows that the return on investment in Indigenous Protected Areas is up to three times for every dollar spent. Communities are the direct recipients of these benefits and the government recognises the multitude of flow-on effects from this investment. Expanding the opportunity for Indigenous peoples to lead On-Country management is expected to further increase the social return on investment, in addition to direct biodiversity conservation benefits.
Much needed collaboration with coastal Indigenous groups, researchers, government, and industry is progressed with this Research Fellowship. Supporting Indigenous people's aspirations in Sea Country management with bottom-up and top-down approaches across multiple sectors will result in tangible environmental, cultural, and socio-economic outcomes for multiple coastal stakeholders, but importantly improved outcomes for coastal Indigenous peoples.
StatusActive
Effective start/end date1/07/1930/06/22