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Keith Hayes started his research career with the Institute of Offshore Engineering, Heriot-Watt University, in 1993. Here he developed quantitative risk assessment techniques for the abandonment and disposal of the Unocal Heather platform and the Shell Brent Spar, and calculated the risks of demersal trawl interactions with subsea installations (wellheads and pipelines) of various developments including Shell's Eastern Trough Area Project.

Keith joined the Commonwealth Science and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) in 1997 and completed his PhD in Quantitative Ecological Risk Assessment in 2000. He spent his first 13 years with division of Marine and Atmospheric Research working principally on the ecological risks associated with invasive species, transgenic organisms and major coastal developments. He played an instrumental role in the development of Australia's new National Strategy for the Prevention and Management of marine pest incursions, including the world's first quantitative ballast water risk assessment for Australian domestic shipping, estimated in Regulatory Impact Statements to have an accumulated net benefit of $59-289 million.

Keith now leads a small research team that provide research and consultancy services in three areas:

  1. Quantitative ecological risk assessment for major terrestrial and coastal developments. Keith has provided risk assessment advice and guidance on a variety of major coastal developments including the proposed re-development of the Port of Hastings, the Port of Melbourne Channel Deepening Project, the Chevron-Texaco Gorgon Gas Project, the Victorian Desalination Plant at Wonthaggi and Melbourne Water's Eastern Treatment Plant. The team are currently working on the ecological risks associated with coal seam gas extraction and coal mining, through the Bioregional Assessments programme.

  2. Quantitative risk assessment for genetically modified organisms. Keith is co-editor and author on a United Nation's sponsored book on risk assessment methods for transgenic fish, and has reviewed hazard and risks assessment methods for transgenic plants for federal government agencies. Keith's team are currently working on the ecological and human health risks associated with transgenic methods of controlling malaria vectors, funded through the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation's Grand Challenges in Global Health initiative.

  3. Monitoring and ecological indicators. Keith's research team, together with CSIRO collaborators, developed a new method for identifying ecological indicators in complex systems using qualitative modelling (loop analysis) supported by continental scale maps of ecosystem pressures and valued assets. This method was subsequently adopted, and rolled out nationally, by the Australian federal government following a successful pilot project in the South West marine planning region. Keith has contributed to an integrated monitoring strategy for the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park, was the Theme 1 (National Monitoring) leader for the Marine Biodiversity Hub, tasked with developing a blueprint for a sustained national monitoring strategy for ecosystem health in Australia's Exclusive Economic Zone. He is currently the statistical advisor on the science leadership team for the Marine Biodiversity Hub under the National Environmental Science Plan.

Fields of Research

Academic Qualifications

  • 1990


  • 1992


  • 1995

    Open University Long Associate Course

  • 1996

    Open University Long Associate Course

  • 1999

    Graduate Certificate in Statistics

  • 2000


Professional Experiences

  • 2008

    CSIRO Mathematics and Information Sciences

  • 1996-2008

    CSIRO Marine and Atmospheric Research

  • 1993-1996

    Institute of Offshore Engineering