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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

  • Dr Robin Leppitt head and shoulders, holding a small yellow bird with both hands, green flat plain in background

    PhD research on threatened bird finds bird may not exist

    New research from a Charles Darwin University ornithologist suggests that an endangered subspecies of bird may not be endangered. In fact, the research suggests that the subspecies may not exist at all.

    Read more
  • Charles Darwin University (CDU) wants to find top higher degree students looking for an adventure in key Northern Australia research projects.

    Charles Darwin University (CDU) has vital research projects that need researchers in face of shortages

    Charles Darwin University (CDU) has started a push to recruit higher degree students for vital research projects but will have to cast a wide net to get the right people, according to the University’s head of research.

    Read More
  • Northern Territory Science Week Awards 2022 is a celebration of those champions of science who get more people involved in STEM.

    Regional and remote projects prominent in awards that recognise Territory science champions

    The Northern Territory Science Week Awards 2022 will acknowledge the champions of science for their contribution to the community's promotion of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM).

    Read More