Collaborative Research Network Program

James Cook UniversityCharles Darwin UniversityAustralian National UniversityAustralian Government and Australian Institute of Marine Science


Northern Research Futures

Charles Darwin University in collaboration with the Australian National University, James Cook University and the Australian Institute of Marine Science have been awarded $5 million under the Australian Government's Collaborative Research Network to form a partnership that creates a national program of collaborative social, coastal/marine and environmental research and innovation in the northern Australian region.

The Northern Research Futures (NRF) alliance will create a program of national collaborative social and coastal/ marine and environment research and innovation in the northern Australian region.

The NRF will be a multi-disciplinary collaboration to establish the important research architecture essential to meeting the national challenges associated with living sustainably in the remote tropic zone and also the interfaces between community and environment.

Our Goals

This important collaboration will enhance Charles Darwin University's research capacity. It will also contribute to raising the quality and recognition of its research nationally and internationally through increased publication outputs; increased numbers of Higher Degree by Research students; higher levels of collaboration with research providers, businesses and end-users as well as a substantial increase in critical social and environmental research capacity in northern Australia.

Our Objectives

The NRF's alliance has two medium/ long-term objectives:

  • CDU is nationally recognised as a critical node in social and environmental research for the remote tropical north working as part of a critical mass of researchers with two of Australia's most research-intensive universities (Australian National University and James Cook University) and a major science organisation (Australian Institute of Marine Science
  • To enable ongoing and sustainable programs of multi-disciplinary collaborative world-class research that is sought out by both end users and next users for integration into policy and practice.


Research Leadership

  • Sustainable partnerships and alliances – one CRC application submitted; six ARC Linkages submitted (three per theme)
  • End User communication – Recognised national R&D 'hub' for northern Australia – target to increase the number of active, collaborative research projects with partner organisations by 100 per cent
  • Systematic research mentoring within CDU drawing on partner programs and practice – sustainable program integrated into CDU Research Strategic Planning
  • Secondment exchange of senior academics across the program – raising the ability of CDU to attract and retain high quality research personnel – target to increase the number of research intensive staff at CDU who are employed at Level C and above by 30 per cent

Research Training

  • Postgraduate Scholarships – At least seven EFTSL established and successfully underway
  • ECR and PhD programs of systematic, contextualized research training integrated into CDU Research Strategic Planning
  • High quality supervision of PhD students in collaboration with partners – target to increase the numbers of CDU research students jointly supervised with staff from partner organisations by 100 per cent


  • Regular annual seminars/ symposia held – minimum of one per annum in Northern Australia
  • Additional MOUS with end users/ partners underway – from a base line of three MOUs to a minimum of five/li>
  • All projects to involve at least two partners, and all HDR students to be supervised by at least two partners
  • Increase the number of active. Collaborative research projects with partner organisations by 100%
  • Secondment staff exchange program evaluated against research productivity and outputs and integrated into CDU Research Strategic Planning
  • Ongoing sharing of existing expertise, infrastructure and resources between partners formalised

Knowledge Transfer

  • National sponsored Crawford Conference on Northern Australia successfully held during life of the Program
  • An e-Working Paper Series established through ANU Press
  • Monograph of annual highlights produced (three minimum)
  • Joint journal publications – minimum of 10 per annum
  • Joint conference papers – minimum of four per annum>
  • Draft of at least one joint edited book on Northern Australia concluded
  • Training and professional development opportunities for end users underway – with seminars held regularly (at least two per annum)