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A ‘very cool’ trip ahead for two Curtin researchers

Media release

— Australian-led Antarctica expedition unites women in science —

Photo credit: April Kleer

Two Curtin University researchers will be among 78 influential women in science to travel to Antarctica as part of an Australian-led expedition focusing on the leadership and planning required to contribute to the recognition of our planet as home.

Dr Amanda Davies, School of Built Environment and Dr Samantha Hall, Curtin University Sustainability Policy Institute (CUSP), will depart Ushuaia, Argentina in December 2016. They will have 18 days of education on leadership, strategic skills and global climate, biological and earth system science, focusing on the role of women in leadership globally.

This trip is the start of a 10 year outreach initiative to build a 1,000 strong international faculty of women in science, aimed at elevating the leadership of women in science and devising future collaborations as women working towards a sustainable future.

Fellow participants will include primatologist and environmental activist Dr Jane Goodall; British documentary film director Franny Armstrong; female entrepreneur and Homeward Bound co-founder Fabian Dattner; and other leading female figures in science from Australia, USA, Canada, South Africa and other countries.

Dr Davies, a geographer and social demographer, said she was particularly interested in looking at the role of local leaders in bringing about sustainable behavioural change.

“Much of my research over the last 15 years has examined how local leaders in rural areas have been steadily reshaping their communities to respond to shifting economic conditions,” Dr Davies said.

“An example of this is where whole towns have gone ‘plastic bag free’ and where industries are incorporating sustainable practices at considerable financial cost.

“These small changes, if applied everywhere, could dramatically improve the condition of our natural environment and I am interested in identifying how to unlock the potential for all communities to change their everyday practices to become more sustainable,” Dr Davies e said.

Dr Hall, a built environment researcher focused on sustainable building, is currently working on the CRC for Low Carbon Living project through CUSP. She was excited to bring her expertise to an international forum and work alongside colleagues from around the world.

“Instead of 78 individuals working alone in climate change science, Homeward Bound allows the opportunity for collective idea building and collaborative work,” Dr Hall said.

“I am particularly passionate about innovation and there is an abundance of research on climate change that needs stronger uptake by industry if we are going to mitigate impacts to our world.

“I think there will be many projects born from this trip that can be applied locally, within Australia and internationally,” Dr Hall said.

More information about the Homeward Bound project can be found on the organisation’s website.

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