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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, 858.17 KB)

RIEL annual report 2022 (PDF, 4.73 MB)

Our research areas

Biodiversity conservation

Communities and livelihoods

Savanna and arid ecology

Water and catchments

Research Institute for Northern Agriculture (RINA)

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

  • Charles Darwin University’s Dr Dylan Irvine has contributed to the development of the first ever global-scale groundwater temperature model.

    Global research warns climate change is increasing groundwater temperatures

    A world first global groundwater temperature model projects that shallow groundwater will warm on average by between 2.1 and 3.5 degrees Celsius by the end of the century. 

    Read more
  • CDU PhD candidate Mr Stephen Lee

    New study shows how quickly surface water moves to groundwater reservoirs across Australia

    A new study from Charles Darwin University (CDU), Monash University and The University of Newcastle has presented almost 100,000 estimates of groundwater recharge rates across Australia, by far the largest known database of its kind.

    Read more
  • Dr Carol Palmer (left) and James DeSantis (far left) will speak at the Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory this week.

    Marine monitoring milestones to headline talk at MAGNT

    The first live sightings of two significant marine species in NT waters and the urgent need to monitor sea temperatures will be discussed at a new research talk at the Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory.

    Read more
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