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Environmental researchers at ARC Centre of Excellence win Mahathir Science Award

Environmental researchers at ARC Centre of Excellence win Mahathir Science Award

Image: The Bornean Orangutan is one of the beneficiaries of Marxan, a conservation planning software tool developed by CEED researchers.

Work by a trio of ARC-funded researchers and their teams from the Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for Environmental Decisions (CEED) at The University of Queensland have been announced as the winners of Malaysia’s 2016 Mahathir Science Award.

The team have worked to advance natural resource management knowledge in the tropics, to save tropical habitats, and this has prompted government policy changes in Malaysia, Indonesia and around the world.

Professor Hugh PossinghamProfessor Kerrie Wilson and Dr Erik Meijaard from CEED are the first research group—rather than an individual—ever to have won the award, following a stringent vetting and shortlisting process by Academy of Sciences Malaysia (ASM) Fellows, and by an International Advisory Panel. 

CEED director, Professor Kerrie Wilson, said she and her colleagues had led extensive research in environmental decision science, specifically its application in Borneo, but also in other tropical regions.

“The research group is the driving force behind Borneo Futures, a research network of 350 collaborating scientists who use social, economic and ecological data to improve natural resource management decision-making on Borneo,” Professor Wilson said.

“Our research and related media stories have contributed to tangible policy change in both Malaysia and Indonesia.

Professor Wilson emphasised that the success of the group owed much to the development of Marxan, a conservation planning software tool which has helped managers, policy-makers and non-government organisations make better decisions about natural resource management.

“Marxan is now used by more than 6,000 users worldwide and is referred to in thousands of scientific papers, books and reports,” she said.

 Media issued by: The University of Queensland.

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