Director’s update – February 2023

Welcome to our TERN February e-Newsletter, which includes some stand-out contributions from the TERN team to help keep you in touch with outcomes of our many activities.

Dr Geoff Heard, Project Manager for the Threatened Species Index (TSX) Project in TERN, talks us through how the threatened birds, mammals and plants for which he and Tayla Lawrie (TSX Data Analyst) receive data are trending. The article includes some stunning photos by Nicolas Rakotopare, TERN’s Science Communication and Media Specialist. 

Also in the newsletter is an account of the recently completed data challenge workshops run by TERN’s Education and Training Manager, Dr Eleanor Velasquez.  The workshops focused on the question ecosystem scientists and environmental decision-makers face – how to discover all the data related to the question we have. In the case of our workshops, it was vegetation retention in Queensland, who has the data, and is it possible to make a catalogue or dashboard that shows where it is stored?

Other features of this newsletter are: the first of our ‘getting to know the staff’ video clips, introducing you to Andrew Tokmakoff from the Adelaide node of TERN; and an example of TERN’s growing international activities. For the latter, as part of the Global Ecosystem Research Infrastructure, we were able to endorse the Brno Declaration, an outcome of last year’s International Conference on Research Infrastructures (ICRI), which was attended by TERN’s Advisory Board Chair, Professor Hugh Possingham.

It was great to see members of the TERN Science Advisory Committee in Brisbane last week to review what’s currently being delivered through TERN, to ask if all measures are appropriate, whether delivery could be improved, and to look for gaps and opportunities. TERN is looking forward to implementing recommendations of the meeting. We thank the Science Advisory Committee members for their generosity in giving TERN 2 days of undivided attention in the interests of improving our services to researchers.  We are now looking forward to the TERN Advisory Board’s upcoming meeting, also taking place in Brisbane over two days in mid-March.

The NCRIS funding round for 2023-2027, which specifically allows us to address opportunities arising from the 2021 National Research Infrastructure Roadmap, has now opened and the TERN Project Office team, guided by the TERN Executive Group, is working on an application to support the step change in environment and climate that was outlined in the Roadmap. This will include a collaborative proposal from a cluster of NCRIS capabilities to establish a coastal research infrastructure. The application period closes 15 March.

Finally, we welcome Mark Grant back to TERN. Mark has been undertaking a special project with the Queensland State Government for the past year, assisting with a consultation project related to vegetation clearing. From 1 March, Mark will be leading TERN’s Ecosystem Science Programs, helping to facilitate interconnectedness and standardisation across Australia’s network of environmental NRI and research-driven monitoring initiatives.

Happy reading – and if you are not one of the 550 people who have already registered for TERN’s bimonthly webinar on 1 March related to drones and satellites – it is not too late!

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