NSW Biodiversity & Cultural Heritage Unit moves to UNE campus

Published 24 March 2011

deccw-mouA new agreement between the NSW Department of Environment, Climate Change and Water (DECCW) and the University of New England will enable the two organisations to cooperate more closely in a range of projects related to biodiversity and cultural heritage planning.

The signing of a co-location agreement at UNE last week will see the members of the Department’s Biodiversity and Cultural Heritage Unit moving from their offices in the centre of Armidale to new accommodation on the UNE campus. The move is scheduled to take place by the end of March.

All five members of the Biodiversity and Cultural Heritage Unit attended the signing ceremony at which Professor Iain Young, Head of UNE’s School of Environmental and Rural Science, welcomed them to their new location within the School. Professor Young said that their presence would bring “great benefits” – not only to his School, but to others around the campus.

Dr Kate Wilson, Executive Director of DECCW’s Scientific Services Division, flew from Sydney for the occasion. She said the Department was looking forward to taking its skills into a new environment in what was “a really productive relationship”. “It’s an acknowledgement of the excellence of the Department’s staff that they’re being invited to UNE,” she said. In welcoming the DECCW scientists to UNE, the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research), Professor Annabelle Duncan, said she believed the mutual respect of the partners would ensure success.

The co-location agreement builds on an existing Memorandum of Understanding between the Department and the University that facilitates collaboration in research and teaching. Co-location will allow an even more productive blend of the Department’s practical focus on individual projects and the University’s broader, more theoretical perspectives.

A particular strength of the Department’s Biodiversity and Cultural Heritage Unit is in the development of spatial models and their application in biodiversity and cultural heritage planning. The University, for its part, is able to contribute knowledge gained from a wide range of relevant research projects, access to remote-sensing expertise and equipment, and multidisciplinary perspectives.

The co-location will also enable UNE students to become involved in real-world projects.

Ross Williams, DECCW’s Director of Catchment and Environment Protection Science, said that he and his four colleagues saw the move to UNE as “an excellent opportunity to collaborate using our complementary skills”. “Together we can really build capacity, and seek grants for projects that we haven’t been able to pursue in the past,” he said.

THE PHOTOGRAPH displayed here shows Dr Kate Wilson, Executive Director of DECCW’s Scientific Services Division (right), signing the co-location agreement with Professor Annabelle Duncan, UNE’s Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research).