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Welcome to

Research Institute for the Environment and Livelihoods

Why choose RIEL?

  • 'Outstanding performance' in environmental science and management​, and ecology​

    2018 Excellence in Research for Australia (ERA) ranking: 5

  • Performance above world standard in ecological applications

    2018 Excellence in Research for Australia (ERA) ranking: 4


  • RIEL is ranked ‘High’ in engagement, impact and approach to impact

    2018 Engagement and Impact assessment (EI)​ ranking: High



Postgraduate study

Consultancy services

Sam Banks, head and shoulders, with green vegetation behind
Professor Sam Banks

Director's message

Welcome to the Research Institute for the Environment and Livelihoods. We host and offer internationally significant research initiatives, postgraduate study and consultancy services related to natural and human systems in northern Australia and neighbouring regions.

Our teaching and research excellence, collaborative approach, and dynamic staff and students are making a RIEL difference across the region.

I feel privileged to be supporting such achievements at this important time for the north and hope to work with you soon.

- RIEL Director, Prof. Sam Banks

Find out more about RIEL (PDF, 857.2 KB)

Our research areas

Biodiversity conservation

Communities and livelihoods

Savanna and arid ecology

Water and catchments

Undergraduate study

Many of our world-class researchers also teach into the Environmental Science bachelors degree and other programs. If you are interested in studying environmental science as an undergraduate or honours student, watch this video and then find out how to apply for CDU's Science, Environmental Science and Management courses.

How to apply

RIEL news

  • CDU researchers explore the piles of rubbish that continues to build on Wessel Islands beaches left scattered every wet season.

    Plastic waste is choking one of Northern Territory’s most pristine areas and culturally significant areas

    Wessel Islands Archipelago could have some of the most littered beaches in the Northern Territory with Charles Darwin University (CDU) researchers discovering tons of plastic waste washed ashore.

    Read more
  • Blue whales in Tîmor-Leste

    Blue whales showing signs of malnutrition, a climate warning says CDU researcher

    Blue whales that pass through the waters off Timor-Leste each year are showing signs of malnutrition according to a Charles Darwin University (CDU) researcher who has been studying the animals for almost a decade.

    Read more
  • Orange-Bellied Parrot

    Natural talent pips some of the most popular recording artists from the ARIA music charts

    A collection of bird songs from Australia’s most threatened species was a surprise inclusion in the top 10 of the Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA) music charts this week after strong pre-order sales.

    Read more