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Dr Stuart Simpson

Research Group Leader


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Dr Stuart Simpson is a Senior Principal Research Scientist in CSIRO Environment, and the Healthy Communities & Ecosystems group leader within the Industry Environments (IE) program.

This group develops threat surveillance and risk forecasting systems to protect Australian communities from acute and chronic shocks, reduce harmful wastes derived from consumption and develop sovereign sustainability options in green resource recovery and for Australia’s problematic wastes.
Teams include:
(i) EcoSurveillance Systems, the develops systems to detect and quantify risks of adverse effects of contaminants and pathogens to communities and ecosystems;
(ii) Green Resource Recovery, that develops pathways to recover metal resources and reduce environment footprint from resource extraction and consumption; and
(iii) Waste Beneficiation & Storage, the develops environmentally safe approaches for storage and repurposing of waste streams to minimise pollution and increase the beneficial reuse and circularity of resources.

Stuart's fields of expertise include (specific research areas/capabilities)
• Water and sediment quality assessment, focusing on the quantification of the form (speciation), behaviour (bioavailability), ecotoxicological effects of chemical contaminants, and the development of guidelines and frameworks for assessing impacts.
• Forms (speciation) and processes controlling fate of contaminants in the environment.
• Bioavailability and effects of contaminants in sediments.
• Environmental analytical chemistry.
• Development and application of sediment ecotoxicology methods.
• Development and application of biosurveillance methods for contaminants and pathogens.

Fields of Special Competence:
Major research interest is sediment quality assessment, focussing on the quantification of the form (environmental chemistry, speciation), behaviour (reactivity, fate and processes controlling speciation, bioavailability), ecotoxicological effects (lethal, sub-lethal, to chronic effects and bioaccumulation) and the development of guidelines for regulating contaminants in sediments.

Current activities
• Development of advanced water and sediment quality assessment tools and frameworks
• Application and validation of sediment quality guideline values
• Preparation of guidance documents for undertaking water and sediment quality assessment
• Development of new sub-lethal (chronic) whole-sediment ecotoxicology test methods
• Establishing cause-effect relationships between contaminants on benthic organisms
• Assessment of impacts of industrial operations on aquatic systems
• Developing new tools for assessing speciation and bioavailability contaminants in waters and sediments
• Evaluating the fate, forms and potential impacts of metals from acidic effluent discharges
• Development of techniques for sampling and ultratrace analysis of metal contaminants in aquatic environments
• Speciation and mechanistic modelling of processes relating to metal speciation and bioavailability.
• Contaminated site assessment in marine and freshwater environments
• Evaluation of acceptability of sediment dredging and dredged sediment disposal
• Wastewater surveillance for human and animal health protection (SARS-CoV-2, animal pathogens, ARGs).

• 2006 Land and Water Australia Eureka Prize for Water Research.
• 2006 CSIRO Medal for Research Achievement, 2006.
• 2015 CSIRO Newton Turner Award (Enabling 30 days of science discussions at research institutes in USA).
• 2020: CSIRO Land and Water, Science Excellence Award for 'Wastewater testing for early community detection of COVID-19 Team'.
• 2021: Finalist (1 of 3) - Sir Ian McLennan Impact from Science and Engineering Medal for 'COVID sewage EcoSurveillance'.
• 2022: Finalist (1 of 2) - Sir Ian McLennan Impact from Science and Engineering Medal for 'SARS-CoV-2 wastewater surveillance team for the detection of COVID-19 in the community'.

Recent Professional Experience
• 2017-2021: Member, Joint Group of Experts on the Scientific Aspects of Marine Environmental Protection (GESAMP) Working Group 42 on ‘Impacts of wastes and other matter in the marine environment from mining operations, including deep-sea mining’ GESAMP advises the United Nations (UN) system on the scientific aspects of marine environmental protection.
• 2017. Member, Independent Peer Review for Latrobe Valley Regional Rehabilitation Strategy (LVRSS), Department of Economic Development, Jobs, Transport and Resources, Victoria.
• 2016-present: Adjunct Professor, University of New South Wales (2019-present)
• 2013-2014: Invited Scientific Committee member of for ECHA (European Chemical Agency) ‘Topical Scientific Workshop on Risk Assessment for the Sediment Compartment'.
1996-present: Member, Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry (SETAC)
• 2011-present: Editor for the journal Environmental Science and Pollution Research (ESPR)
• 2008-present: Committee Member of SETAC Sediment Advisory Group (SEDAG) (2008-present, Chair from 2012-2016)

Author of more than 180 peer-reviewed research papers, ten book chapters and 150 scientific research reports to industry on environmental contamination (pollution-waste) management and mitigation issues.

Recent national 'environmental assessment' report contributions
• 2017 Lead author of National Acid Sulfate Soils Guidance for Dredging Sediments and Dredge Spoil Management (the recently competed for DAWR).
• 2013 Co-led the Revision of Australia’s Sediment Quality Guidelines.
• 2009 Authored the chemical and ecotoxicology assessment components of Australia’s National Assessment Guidelines for Dredging (NAGD).

• 2016 Co-editor and author of the handbook Sediment Quality Assessment: A Practical Guide.

Publons-Researcher ID:

Google Scholar:

Research Gate:

[Note: Several Capability 'Fact Sheets' may be downloaded from near the bottom of this web-page site]

Academic Qualifications

  • 1996

    Doctor of Philosophy in Chemistry from the University of Canterbury, Christchurch, New Zealand

  • 1993

    Bachelor of Science with first class honours from the University of Canterbury, Christchurch, New Zealand

We have publications by Dr Stuart Simpson