Global recognition for groundwater centre

NCGRT PhD student Chani Welch flow gauging in the Cockburn River
NCGRT PhD student Chani Welch flow gauging in the Cockburn River

Flinders University’s National Centre for Groundwater Research and Training has established itself as a world leader in groundwater research, according to a panel of international experts in the field.

The NCGRT’s International Scientific Advisory Committee, which comprises members from France, Canada and the US, met in Sydney from January 23–26 to review the centre’s progress since it first opened in 2009, and to provide formal, independent advice and recommendations for its future.

In drafting an official report from the meeting, the committee determined that the centre has “established itself as a world-class centre for groundwater research and training”.

“The creation of the centre has now put Australia on the international map, and the centre’s first research results are starting to be known internationally,” the report stated.

“It has undergone rapid growth in terms of faculty and staff and has managed to attract outstanding PhD students and postdoctoral fellows.

“The productivity measured in terms of publications, training and the advancement of science has been exceptional.”

During the four-day gathering, committee members also heard various presentations on the NCGRT’s five research programs – innovative characterisation of aquifers and aquitards; hydrodynamics and modelling of complex groundwater systems; surface water and groundwater interactions; groundwater, vegetation and atmosphere interactions; and integrating socioeconomics, policy and decision support.

NCGRT Director Professor Craig Simmons said he was thrilled with the positive response from the committee, who are “among the top scholars” in hydrogeology and water resources internationally.

“We received some very encouraging feedback, not only on the direction and quality of our research programs and its relevance to Australian and international water resources issues, but also on our ability to train the next generation of groundwater professionals,” Professor Simmons said.

“It’s extremely pleasing to see such a distinguished, respected group of groundwater pioneers have placed the centre and its researchers in such high regard, and I am looking forward to working with them again in what will undoubtedly be another successful year,” he said.

The National Centre for Groundwater Research and Training is an Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence, co-funded by the National Water Commission.

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