In an increasingly interconnected and rapidly changing world, planning for a sustainable future requires future-focused and integrative approaches. Our ability to envision alternative futures, to evaluate between them, and to make adaptive plans and decisions, is crucial for building transition pathways to a future that balances thriving social, financial, and environmental systems.

CSIRO is hosting this symposium to explore environmental prediction and foresighting for Australia and pathways toward future-focused science, policy and investment. It is a research-focussed opportunity for dialogue and sharing of ideas.

Speakers at the Symposium will include Prof. Rob Vertessy (University of Melbourne and Global Change Advisory), Dr Gabriele Bammer (Australian National University), Dr Mark Crosweller (Head of The National Resilience Taskforce), Dr Mark Stafford-Smith (CSIRO) and Dr Beth Fulton (CSIRO).

The Symposium’s focal questions are:

  • How does environmental science and its application look forward with increasing certainty?
  • What integration is necessary to place Australia on pathways to sustainability?
  • What advances in state-of-the-art in environmental prediction science are on the horizon?

Four sequential sessions will explore environmental prediction through the lens of future problem framing, information infrastructure, modelling and science to application. Each session will feature invited speakers, panel discussions and interactive breakout sessions. Efforts will be directed towards sharing experience and expertise, articulating and hearing need, and connecting to support future co-development of environmental prediction and scenario capability for Australia.

The Organising Committee, CSIRO Land and Water: Warwick McDonald, Veronica Doerr, David Lemon, Rebecca Pirzl, Maryam Ahmad, Nicky Grigg, Karel Mokany, Cameron Fletcher, Ruth Palmer and Di Flett.


This is an invitation-only event, please contact us at if you are interested in attending.

Event date: 04Jun 2019

Tuesday 4 - Wednesday 5 Jun 2019

Peninsula Room, National Museum of Australia

  • 9.30am (4 June) to 4.00pm (5 June)

Lawson Crescent, Acton ACT
Get Directions

More information

Getting to the Museum

The National Museum of Australia is located on Acton Peninsula on Lake Burley Griffin in Canberra, just a short drive south-west of the city centre. Access is via Lawson Crescent, Acton. The Museum is also a comfortable 20 minute (1.3km) walk from hotels in New Acton. Walk across Parkes Way at the traffic lights on Edinburgh Avenue and follow the footpath down to the edge of Lake Burley Griffin and continue along the lake’s edge (heading to your right) until you reach the National Museum.


Ample parking is available just outside the main entrance. Parking is $2.90/hour or $14/day. There are also a number of limited free 2hr car parks available on Lawson Crescent. Disabled parking facilities are available close to the Museum’s main entrance.

Please send enquiries to


Time Activity
TUESDAY 4 JUNE 2019 - MC: Rebecca Pirzl
9:30 - 10:00 Welcome to Country
Symposium opening
Speakers: Wally Bell - Buru Ngunawal, Jane Coram, Director CSIRO Land and Water
10:00 - 11:00 Session 1: Opening Plenary
Keynote presentations on key topics in environmental prediction and highlighting the need to direct our science and decisions more explicitly toward the future. Chair: Dr Rebecca Pirzl, CSIRO
Mark Crosweller AFSM - Head, National Resilience Taskforce
Resilience and vulnerability: Two sides of the same coin
Dr Beth Fulton - CSIRO
What an exciting time to be a modeller!
11:00 - 11:30 Morning tea
11:30 - 13:00 Session 2: The need for prediction science
Focusing prediction science efforts to achieve impact and benefit for society requires an understanding of the diversity of actors and their needs, motivations and benefits. Users, beneficiaries and customers of prediction science will provide their perspectives through a number of sectoral lenses.
Format: Three speakers discuss how environmental prediction could help them overcome key challenges. Zeetings session will explore key questions to bring an enduser perspective to symposium science deliberations. Chair: Warwick McDonald, CSIRO
Professor Rob Vertessy - University of Melbourne
Dr Jillian Edwards - National Resilience Taskforce
Beyond Business as Usual
Dr Beth Brunoro - Department of Energy and Environment
13:00 - 14:00 Lunch
14:00 - 15:30 Session 3: Future and problem framing
Diverse approaches for exploring environmental futures, multidisciplinary perspectives on uncertainty and risk, and future ready problem-framing and objective setting.
Format: Three speakers followed by group discussions.
Facilitators: Dr Deb O'Connell and Dr Nicky Grigg, CSIRO
Dr Mark Stafford-Smith - CSIRO
Framing complex social-ecological futures
Professor Gabriele Bammer - The Australian National University
Disciplining Interdisciplinarity and Embracing Unknowns
Dr Michael Dunlop - CSIRO
Environmental prediction through the lens of transformational adaptation
15:30 - 16:00 Afternoon tea
16:00 - 17:30 Session 4: Information infrastructure for prediction science
Assessing the information infrastructure (technical, information and social) needs of prediction science, current capabilities and identifying solutions to fill gaps.
Format: Four short talks on aspects of infrastructure followed by group discussion focused on meeting needs.
Facilitator: David Lemon, CSIRO
Dr Andre Zerger - CSIRO
Connecting data infrastructure with prediction systems - opportunities and challenges
Sarah Richmond - Griffith University
ecocloud: connecting an ecosystem of infrastructure for environmental research and decision-making
Matt Paget - CSIRO
Dr Adrian Burton - Australian Research Data Commons
17:30 - 19:30 Drinks, canapes and networking

WEDNESDAY 5 JUNE 2019 - MC: Veronica Doerr
9:00 - 10:30 Session 5: Modelling for prediction science
Understanding the current modelling capabilities of environmental prediction science both within and across domains.
Format: Three speakers followed by group discussions on focal topics.
Facilitator: Dr Cameron Fletcher, CSIRO
Dr Steven Lade - Stockholm Resilience Centre
Regime shifts and resilience in social-ecological systems
Dr Carmel Pollino - CSIRO
Dr Andrew Rendall - CSIRO
ISAM: At the frontier of integrated modelling capabilities
10:30 - 11:00 Morning tea
11:00 - 12:30 Session 6: From prediction science to application
Building a knowledge base for decision makers and practitioners to support more futurefocused decision-making relies on new science to understand how to link science and application. These include co-design and coproduction of research; the quality of process as well as outcome; strategic decision-making processes that consider multiple criteria and better address uncertainty; and ways to bridge organisational cultures. This session addresses the characteristics of science for impact in the environmental prediction domain.
Format: Three speakers followed by group brainstorming aimed at integrating the solutions to these challenges into all aspects of prediction science.
Facilitator: Dr Heinz Schandl, CSIRO
Louise Freebairn - ACT Health
Co-producing knowledge using participatory modelling for complex, policy questions
Dr Russ Wise - CSIRO
Dr Steve Cork - The Australian National University
12:30 - 13:30 Lunch
13:30 - 15:00 Session 7: Team challenge
Given what we heard at the start of the symposium about the need for prediction science, how would you combine leading-edge science in problem framing, information infrastructure, modelling, and bridging science into application in order to provide new predictive solutions?
Format: Symposium participants will work together across the four themes discussed in the symposium to use what they have learned to develop a plan to meet a specific application challenge. They will brainstorm and then ‘pitch’ their approach to the whole group to vie for a coveted prize.
Facilitator: Dr Veronica Doerr, CSIRO
15:00 - 15:30 Session 8: Symposium synthesis
Reflections on the two days, emphasising what we have learned and what we will take forward.
Facilitator: Dr Veronica Doerr, CSIRO
15:30 - 16:00 Afternoon tea
16:00 Close