CSIRO environmental sustainability grant awarded

Thursday, 06 November, 2008

CSIRO is collaborating with Students in Free Enterprise (SIFE), an organisation that brings together teams of tertiary students who aim to make a positive difference in their community, and have rolled out a series of grants in universities throughout New South Wales, Queensland and Victoria.

The grants will see university teams establish and lead a series of Energymark workshops made up of residents from their local communities. The workshops are held over a period of six months and provide a forum to discuss community views relating to climate change and energy.

Energymark is a concept designed by CSIRO to bring communities together to discuss energy technologies and climate change. The program provides researchers with insights into individual attitudes towards the implementation of energy-smart practices and allows them to track any behavioural changes that occur after the Energymark workshops.

The process gives students the opportunity to develop and deliver an innovative literacy program that identifies and addresses the financial issues associated with sustainable energy practices at a community level.

CSIRO Researcher and Social Scientist Anne-Maree Dowd said the program is paving the way to involving individuals and communities in the decision-making process around energy.

“The Energymark program is effective because it empowers members of the public to address energy and sustainability issues with their peers and within the comfort of their own networks,” Dowd said.

“It also allows researchers to analyse the impact of information on public perceptions, and increases the measurable uptake of change practices, new technologies and approaches at an individual household and community level."

The grants give each university team the opportunity to increase research and project development skills. The program will culminate in a national competition next year, where the results will be judged by a panel of experts in the field of climate change, energy and environmental finance.

Grants have been awarded to SIFE teams at the University of Western Sydney; University of New South Wales; Bond University; Swinburne University; University of Southern Queensland; La Trobe University; Monash University; Victoria University; and Macquarie University.

The CSIRO Energy Transformed Flagship is also partnering with Newcastle City Council’s ClimateCam Team in New South Wales where the Energymark program was launched earlier this year.

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