Research Through the Looking Glass: The Importance of Perspective

The 2018 Australian and New Zealand Disaster and Emergency Management Conference is on this month over the 21-22 May at The Star Gold Coast.

Dr John Bates, Research Director with Bushfire and Natural Hazards CRC joins us at the Conference to discuss ‘Research Through the Looking Glass: The Importance of Perspective’.

Dr John Bates


Research provides an opportunity to learn new things and to introduce innovation and creative thinking into new and improved products and services. Why then, is it so hard to translate research into new and improved products and services?

The most common answer to this is lack of money. Whilst limited financial support is often an issue, the challenge is more often deeply rooted in the perspectives of individuals and organisations. Having recently moved into the role of Research Director at the Bushfire and Natural Hazards CRC, it has been an opportune time to reflect on the research programs and research agendas of the CRC and more broadly in disaster and emergency management. What is immediately obvious is the passion and commitment of many people to the value of research and innovation as a means of improving public safety.

It is also clear that we are too often stuck in ‘silos of excellence’ that keep us safe and at the same time, impose blinkers on our vision – forgetting that there are others out there making decisions on where and how they will invest in innovation. These decision makers are often not buried in these silos of excellence and have their own views of what is important, what the products of research should look like and what it would take to convince them that any individual innovation is a worthy investment of their time and energy.

As it matures, the CRC continues to better develop an understanding across our researchers, end users and decision makers of what we need to do to get the best returns from the investment of public funds into research. This presentation will explore what we have learned and some of the challenges that we continue to face.


KEYNOTE SPEAKER Dr Bates joined the Bushfire and Natural Hazards CRC as Research Director In 2017, where he Is responsible for managing the CRC’s research and utilisation program. Prior to joining the CRC, he was the founding Director of the Australian Institute for Disaster Resilience. Dr Bates has formal qualifications in health and life sciences from the University of Melbourne and has worked extensively in the development, translation and commercialisation of research in industry, and in the research sector.

He has significant experience in the development and delivery of undergraduate and graduate education in Australia and overseas and has taught at universities in Australia and Asia. John has worked in complex environments in areas including defence, public health, animal health, transport, higher education and food. John is an active volunteer in the Victorian State Emergency Service and Editor-in-Chief of the Australian Journal of Emergency Management.

For more information on the 2018 Australian and New Zealand Disaster and Emergency Management Conference and to secure your spot, visit the conference website.