The discovery of leech eggs in oyster shells set a young Charles Darwin on a stellar path in 1827(1). Had he been able to apply for a research exchange scholarship and jet over to the east coast of an upstart America, he could have gone straight to the Chesapeake Bay where his hosts might have been Prof Bill Dennison's predecessors at the Integration & Application Network (IAN)(2) of the University of Maryland's Center for Environmental Science (UMCES). Instead, Darwin set sail for Australia, became fascinated with barnacles(3), and (reputedly) laid the intellectual antecedents for a new tropical research institute in the Northern Territory (RIEL)(4).
Fast forward a few funding cycles and publication credits to the end of 2012 and we see our colleagues Prof Michael (Dougo) Douglas and Dr Samantha (Sam) Setterfield wrapping up a six-month sabbatical with colleagues at IAN. They return to CDU with a commitment to nurturing a "Darwin-IAN" approach to education and information processes in the context of responsible stewardship of water resources and northern Australian landscapes.
IAN's mission is to inspire, manage and produce timely syntheses and assessments on key environmental issues. Dougo and Sam developed literature reviews in the area of transdisciplinary science and actionable research. The overarching goal of their work was to survey and critique current strategies to increase the influence of science in policy and practice.
Read more about the Darwin-IAN initiative in Bill Dennison's blog and check out Dougo's seminar presentation: Northern Australia and Chesapeake Bay: Worlds apart, similar challenges?