Taking stock: a year for integration and collaboration
12 December 2018
By Professor Guy Marks
As we end the first year of our new CAR, it is timely to take stock of what we have achieved since the first CAR CRE began six or seven years ago. At that time, there was little integration among research disciplines or institutions doing air pollution work. There was no real pipeline of air pollution researchers or projects. Contacts between researchers and policy makers were sporadic and ad hoc.
CAR, with its CRE-mandated focus on research, collaboration, translation and capacity building, has explicitly set out to address these shortcomings.
I believe we have made great progress in building collaborative, multidisciplinary and cross-institutional linkages throughout Australia. We have engaged and developed the careers of many early and mid-career researchers and ensured that they have a broad grounding in the skills and issues relevant to air pollution research.
We have developed strong links with policy makers in environment, planning and health in Australia and with key movers and shakers in the global and regional sphere.
We are engaged in important, policy-relevant research and development work in many arenas relevant to our mandate:
Developing new mobile sensors
Establishing an accessible database for air pollution exposure and other relevant data for populations
Investigating the Hazelwood mine fire outcomes
Understanding the effects of smoke on human health and how to mitigate it
Understanding the genetic basis of human response to pollutants
Exploring the pathology of adverse human health responses to various inhaled toxicants
Professor Guy Marks
Better quantifying the relation to low level exposure to particular matter and other pollutants, and the adverse health effects.
This year we have also held a series of roadshows in several capital cities to engage directly with stakeholders in our work: local and state government officers, civil society organisations and individual community members interested in this topic and we are planning a similar meeting in Canberra in February 2019. This is part of our knowledge and translation brokering strategy, which seeks a two-way interaction between our investigators and our stakeholders to maximise the opportunities available to us.
As the year draws to an end, I am grateful for the successes and achievements of this year and excited about the prospects for 2019. I wish you all well for the festive season and look forward to a great year next year.