About the Climate Change Cluster
To be globally renowned for transforming society through scientific discovery, by delivering meaningful innovations to Australia's bioeconomy.
The Climate Change Cluster (C3) undertakes an integrated and interdisciplinary research at the intersection of the Physical and Life Sciences. The institute produces new insights into problems facing ecosystems around the world, to support the wellbeing of the animals, plants and communities that rely on them. C3’s research therefore, serves to address the biggest environmental and societal issues facing Australia and other countries in a changing climate: food and energy security; sustainability and ecological resilience; and global health.
C3 has been delivering research excellence in catagory-1 grants since 2008 and has now reached the size and scale to be a nationally recognised research cluster with sufficient breadth of skill to enable it to expand into areas with an industry focus, in particular to support Australia’s emerging bio-economy.
C3 aims to take a leadership role in the elimination of Single Use Plastics, advocating for legislative change, and influencing and enabling responsible consumption practices for the UTS community.
Professor Peter Ralph: C3 was founded in 2008. We were originally a research institute that monitored and measured the impact of climate change on aquatic ecosystems. In the last decade, we’ve brought in a whole range of new teams and these new teams are working on whole ecosystem responses all the way down to cellular processes. So, we’re a much bigger team and we’re cross-disciplinary now.
In C3, we have a range of research topics that go from climate adaptation through to mitigation. A lot of our teams are developing solutions to help society understand how they’re going to respond to changes in the climate. Other parts of the team are developing solutions that are going to actually remove carbon from the atmosphere. That’s very rare for a research institute to have both those types of research in one institute.
Professor Martina Doblin: The C3 is a really unique research environment and it’s really through the provision of research infrastructure and technical skills that allow us to really accelerate our research outcomes. It’s also a fantastic environment for students and early career researchers to learn from one another – there’s an enormous scholarly and intellectual input that people have and a wonderful sense of emotional support as well to accomplish their research goals.
Associate Professor Dave Suggett: By being a research-intensive institute, we have conversations with biologists, ecologists, modellers – all of the tools that can really transform our research from being just pure question-driven science into more applied-driven outcomes.
Professor Peter Ralph: Some of the opportunities at C3 that really elps us work differently is our cross-disciplinarity. We’ve got a range of people that we call ‘integrators and they work across teams as opposed to being in a team. This gives the teams the ability to move into different areas that they’re not usually able to move in.
Professor Justin Seymour: Working in C3 is great because of the diversity of expertise amongst the people working in the institute, so that really opens up opportunities for collaborations in new area of research.
Professor Peter Ralph: C3 has a wide range of industry connections. What we’re trying to do is understand what industry has as a specific problem and match parts of our research to those problems, so we’re solving real-world industrial problems and providing an opportunity to translate our science into industry. Given the climate emergency that the globe has now recognised, C3 has solutions to climate problems. We need to work with new students, industries, government, to make these solutions real.
We have an inclusive culture that embraces differences and values people. We are collegial, supportive and respectful while nurturing optimum research performance and career development in an intellectually stimulating environment.
History: University research strength in the Faculty of Science, established in 2008.
Alignment with UTS research theme: Sustainability
Interdisciplinary expertise: biochemistry, bio-informatics, cellular biology, chemistry, ecological and biogeochemical modelling, ecology, engineering, microbiology, molecular biology (proteomics, genomics, metabolomics), oceanography, photobiology, physics (bio-optics), plant genetics, plant physiology, remote sensing.
Staff and student numbers: C3 has quadrupled in size over the last 8 years to 77 members: 4 teams, 23 research fellows/associates, 50 PhD students and 4 honorary appointments.
- Algal Biosystems and Biotechnology: Prof. Peter Ralph
- Future Reefs: A/Prof. Dave Suggett (ARC Future Fellow)
- Ocean Microbes and Healthy Oceans: Prof. Justin Seymour (ARC Future Fellow)
- Productive Coasts: Prof. Martina Doblin (ARC CoE BSB panel member)
- Seagrass Health: Prof. Peter Ralph