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Budding scientists build better maps

Winter 2016

TERN’s infrastructure continues to be used by Australia’s leading universities. We look at our Geo-Wiki crowdsoucing infrastructure that’s delivering mutual benefits for next generation scientists and the Australian research and management communities.


Practical training in rangeland monitoring a success in the Northern Territory

Current and next generation ecosystem science researchers and land managers from around Australia were recently trained in the AusPlots Rangelands Field Survey Protocols, acquiring skills and practical inspiration that will enable better monitoring, understanding, and management of our vast and vital rangeland ecosystems.

Collaboration between traditional knowledge and contemporary science

A new collaborative project is further strengthening the management capacity of the Birriliburu Indigenous rangers in central WA though knowledge exchange and skills training. The project is utilisting the AusPlots rangelands survey methodology as a way of monitoring the land and documenting fauna and flora.


Strategic investment in education is obviously fundamental for any government with a long-term interest in a smarter, better, more productive Australia. Done well, it can also deliver more immediate returns for the economy. For example, did you know that education services were Australia’s fourth largest export earner in 2012, behind coal, iron ore and gold? Much of the earnings are driven by overseas students attracted to Australia because of the quality of our higher education, which is in turn reliant on the world-class research being undertaken at these institutions.

Federal investment in TERN is bearing fruit for Australia’s higher education sector. TERN’s infrastructure is relevant to 95% of the 39 members of Universities Australia. Seventeen have been directly involved in TERN’s planning, construction and implementation. A further 13 have participated indirectly, and another seven stand to benefit from TERN’s infrastructure because they run undergraduate or postgraduate courses in ecosystem science.

TERN's infrastructure and data products are being used by some of Australia’s most successful ecosystem scientists, spread across many universities and institutions. How do we know? More than $3 million worth of the ARC Discovery projects funded in November 2013 rely on components of the collaborative research infrastructure delivered through TERN.

On this page you will find regularly updated links describing the efforts of TERN and our many partners to realise TERN’s strategic potential in an Australian educational context.


TERN enjoys strong support from 95% of Australia's universities


  • Nation-wide SuperSites support next crop of ecosystem scientists. How is TERN’s infrastructure being used to improve the quality and cost-effectiveness of education? From school field trips to postgraduate research, we explore the many ways in which the infrastructure of just one TERN facility is enabling rich and diverse training opportunities for the next generation of ecosystem scientists.
  • People using TERN: Phil Gibbons. A senior ANU researcher is using TERN’s long-term ecosystem monitoring sites to inspire students
  • TERN sample collections empower Australian science. The extensive sample collections generated by TERN’s Australian Transect Network and AusPlots facilities are empowering new science across Australia. Researchers are already taking advantage of the thousands of samples available to enable new research projects and collaborations.
  • A strategic future for Australian higher education. What’s the future of higher education in Australia? We spoke to two of TERN’s biggest university partners – the University of Adelaide and the University of Queensland – about how the collaborative research and data infrastructure we’re delivering underpins their strategic vision.
  • Universities turn to TERN for undergraduate curriculum. How is TERN’s infrastructure being used to improve the quality and cost-effectiveness of undergraduate education? We look at specific courses being delivered in very different parts of the country by Charles Darwin University and Macquarie University.
  • Smile, landscape, you’re on candid camera! Are you a citizen scientist armed with a smart phone, and have an interest in the impact of controlled burns and how ecosystems recover from fire? Join our research project kicking off now in Cleland Conservation Park near Adelaide.
  • Students at all stages of their studies have not only enjoyed the educational, capacity-building and mentoring benefits of involvement in every single one of the synthetic working groups formed through TERN’s ACEAS facility – their participation is important to the success of the group. Click here to read the full article.
  • Education is a two-way conversation. TERN-associated scientists working on long-term projects in remote parts of the country form a strong connection with local communities, which is at least as educational for the scientists as it is for the locals.
  • Future ecosystem scientists get hands-on in FNQ.

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