Drought Innovation Hubs

Drought

Drought Innovation Hubs: Southern QLD and Northern NSW

Australian farmers live the reality of a changing climate with sometimes devastating impacts on production and profit. What do they need to not just survive, but thrive into the future?

The Southern Queensland and Northern New South Wales (SQNNSW) Hub based at the University of Southern Queensland in Toowoomba is one of eight national Drought Resilience Adoption and Innovation Hubs, a flagship of the multi-billion-dollar Future Drought Fund. The Australian Government is investing $10 million in the Hub over four years, with more than $10 million contribution from Hub Members and Network Partners. The Hub has more than 20 members and partners, a list that will continue to grow.

The Hub is based at Toowoomba in Southern Queensland, with Nodes strategically positioned at Longreach, Roma and Stanthorpe in Queensland, and Armidale, Lismore and Narrabri in New South Wales.

The Hub will empower stakeholders to co-design drought preparedness activities for the region, across a range of agricultural industries and communities in the areas of wellbeing and employability, agribusiness, climate and finance, and mental health.

There’s a wealth of research that can help agricultural industries and regional communities build resilience and innovation, and it’s the role of the Hub to make sure the best of that knowledge reaches the people who can make the best use of it.

The Hub’s planned activities include:

  • developing and maintaining co-innovation networks around each Node
  • producing decision-focussed drought management toolkits , tailored to specific industries
  • connecting regions and industries with capacity building activities and information
  • establishing four demonstration sites across Northern New South Wales, to give farmers the opportunity to experience first-hand the application of new technologies/approaches to increase drought resilience in farming systems
  • consult with First Nations to gain cultural knowledge for environmental/ecological values for water and caring for country, and developing training packages to share and build Indigenous knowledge of drought
  • developing and delivering online wellbeing & employability toolkit(s) specifically targeted for communities impacted by drought
  • participating in the annual Future Drought Fund Science to Practice Forum
  • providing additional support for funded cross-sectoral innovative R&D projects via PhD student top-up scholarships
  • initiating innovation awards, and
  • identifying opportunities for the commercialisation of innovations designed to support improved drought resilience.

 

The Hub is about helping people find a way to maintain the sustainability of the landscapes, families, businesses and communities (human and natural) of the region. The Hub will work closely with RECoE and its Future Drought Fund projects to support our regions and communities. The next few years are going to be exciting, but more importantly, they’re going to support our communities and sectors as they move forward towards that sustainable future, with help from the team at the Southern Queensland Northern New South Wales Drought Resilience Adoption and Innovation Hub.

Read the latest Hub news here, contact the Hub via sqnnswhub@usq.edu.au, or find your local Node here. You can also follow the Hub on LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter.