CBA annual conference: The interface of evolutionary biology and policy impact

Date & time

6–7 September 2016


ANU Commons, Canberra


 Claire Stephens


A two-way engagement workshop for researchers, policy makers and managers.

Innovative capabilities in biodiversity science are rapidly emerging at the boundaries of evolutionary biology, genomics and spatial ecology.

These new concepts and tools have been heralded as having considerable potential to assist with many of the complex issues confronting policy and management such as:

However, there is often a distinct gap between academic research, where the majority of this new biodiversity data is being generated, analysed and interpreted; and the current, and future, needs of practical policy development and real-world management.

Closing this gap will begin to address two current policy priorities - for academia, research engagement and impact; and for policy-makers, transparency, citizen engagement and evidence-based policy making.
This meeting will also consider the 'push and pull' dilemma that often shapes the relationship between researchers and policy makers: the later 'pull' information fragments useful for their needs, while the former 'push' their, often complex, findings towards policy-makers and managers.

The meeting aims to transfer knowledge, perspectives and challenges amongst scientists and policy makers and find ways to effectively engage into the future.

Accordingly, it will have a different format to previous CBA conferences. Rather than sessions of traditional conference talks (e.g. science ‘push’), the meeting will be in the form of a two-dayengagement and dialogue workshop (see draft schedule here).


Questions / themes

  • What does the interface of science and policy currently look like? What are the key issues that will need to be addressed into the future? 
  • What do policy-makers and managers want and need (problems) from biodiversity scientists?
  • What sorts of information can evolutionary biology and spatial ecology (concepts) and new genomic technologies and bioinformatics (tools) provide to real-world policy and management? 
  • What are the most useful approaches to transfering these knowledge and needs? What are the best processes of engagement and how can a dialogue be maintained?


Invited speakers include

  • Sam Banks (ANU)
  • Margaret Byrne (WA Dept. of Parks and Wildlife)
  • Dave Coates (WA Dept. of Parks and Wildlife)
  • Sue Fyfe (Parks Australia)
  • Ary Hoffmann (U Melbourne)
  • Peter Latch (Dept. Environment)
  • Adrian Manning (ANU)
  • Craig Moritz (ANU)
  • Dan Rosauer (ANU)
  • David Salt (ANU)
  • Cameron Slatyer (Australian Museum)
  • Andrew Weeks (U Melbourne & cesar Pty Ltd)
  • Judy West (Parks Australia)
  • Kate Wilson (NSW Office of Environment and Heritage)

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