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Investment proposal for a national predictive research infrastructure

Thank you for your input into the scoping of a national environmental predictive research capability for Australia.  Many and diverse stakeholders were consulted in drafting the proposal and we can now bring you up to date on the latest activities and strategic direction of the National Environmental Prediction System (NEPS) Scoping Study.

Our last NEPS update in May covered the Scoping Study’s broad consultation activities, its key findings and the task of incorporating the findings into a draft NEPS Implementation Plan.  Our sincere thanks to all those who were involved, engaged and helped shape the development of concepts around Australia’s first infrastructure for environmental prediction.

We’re now pleased to let you know that, towards the end of August, the NEPS Expert Panel and the TERN support team submitted a draft Implementation Plan to the Australian Government Department of Education Skills and Employment (DESE).

Existing NCRIS facilities and government agencies provide strong foundations for NEPS but there are large gaps limiting the effectiveness of the community of practice involved in predicting ecosystem function. The NEPS proposal presents a roadmap for building the necessary technical and social infrastructures that are needed, as well as models for governance and research utilisation.

Inspire transdisciplinary ecosystem research

The draft NEPS Implementation Plan proposes a ten-year roadmap for developing and operating a National Research Infrastructure (NRI), commencing with a focus on terrestrial ecosystem function and services.

The NEPS Plan outlines a vision of Australia being endowed with a world-leading predictive environmental modelling capability that equips researchers and empowers stakeholders (government, industry and communities) to take informed anticipatory action toward sustainability of our nation’s natural capital in the face of profound change.

It presents the case for an investment in a NEPS NRI that will produce the necessary transformation in transdisciplinary environmental research by enabling ecologists, computer scientists, environmental modellers and statisticians to co-develop the next-generation data sets and models required that will underpin improved management of Australia’s terrestrial ecosystems, and ultimately, other environmental domains.

It has been proposed that NEPS projects will initially focus on terrestrial ecosystems but could readily be scaled up to operate in the aquatic, agricultural, coastal and marine domains.

NEPS Scoping Study close to completion

The draft Plan will be reviewed and modified in consultation with DESE, after which, a final Plan will be submitted.

The expectation is that the plan will be considered during consultation on the 2021 National Research Infrastructure Roadmap. Details of this process will be made available via the Department of Education, Skills and Employment website in due course 

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