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Dr Emma Woodward

Research Scientist

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I am a research scientist (applied geographer) with Land & Water based in Perth, Australia. My research frequently involves partnering with Australian Indigenous communities to co-develop methods, tools, protocols and guidelines that can facilitate understanding and inclusion of diverse knowledges, values and interests in natural resource planning and management and enterprise development.

I seek to apply my research to support more equitable and sustainable local to international decision-making, and research outputs I have led and contributed to have been adopted by state and federal governments, peak industry organisations, non-government organisations and Indigenous and community organisations across the domains of agriculture, education, health, water and biodiversity.

Over the past 15 years I've particularly enjoyed working to support water resources planning and working with Indigenous partners in the fields of Indigenous ecological knowledge systems, land and sea management, knowledge networking & Indigenous livelihoods, realising impact in water allocation planning in northern Australia; the teaching of Indigenous knowledge systems in classrooms nationally; and influencing the adoption of Indigenous approaches to land management via the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES).

Other Interests

A small team of us at CSIRO have been working intensively with our partners - North Australian Indigenous Land and Sea Management Alliance; Australian Committee for IUCN; and the National Environmental Science Program - to facilitate over 100 Indigenous contributions to the development of a new set of Best Practice Guidelines called: Our Knowledge Our Way in caring for Country: Indigenous-led approaches to strengthening and sharing our knowledge for land and sea management.

Developed over a three year period, and founded on 23 case studies submitted by Indigenous land and sea managers from across Australia, the authors share what is seen as best practice when working with Indigenous knowledge in land and sea management, research and enterprise development.

The Indigenous-led Guidelines highlight how Indigenous knowledge is kept strong through access to Country and Indigenous cultural governance of knowledge. The key guiding principle is that Indigenous people must decide what is best practice in working with Indigenous knowledge. The Guidelines cut across four themes: strengthening Indigenous knowledge; strong partnerships; sharing and weaving knowledge; and Indigenous land and sea networks.

To assist in the virtual launch of the Guidelines in July 2020, a short film was commissioned, which includes perspectives from each of the six Indigenous lead chapter authors and partner representatives. The film and Guidelines can be accessed at:

Current Roles

  • Project lead
    Ningaloo Indigenous Ecological Knowledge project

  • Project co-lead
    ABC/CSIRO Indigenous weather knowledge project

  • Section Lead
    Our Knowledge, Our Way in caring for Country Guidelines, CSIRO & NAILSMA

Academic Qualifications

  • 2019

    PhD -The critical role of network brokers in strengthening Indigenous land and sea management in Australia
    University of Western Australia

  • 2000

    BSc(Env) Hons (Class 1)
    University of Western Australia

Professional Experiences

  • 2008-2012

    College Fellow

Achievements and Awards

  • 2018

    Ruby Payne-Scott Award

  • 2014

    Chief Executive Study Award

  • 2012

    National Finalist
    Fresh Science Awards

Community and Corporate Citizenship

  • 2008-2012

    NCCARF Climate College Fellow

  • 2012-current

    Member - Institute of Australian Geographers