Transdisciplinary research for the Fitzroy River catchment

8 November 2021

Transdisciplinary research aims to address real-world sustainability challenges by facilitating collaboration between researchers from multiple disciplines and research users. 

Four Northern Australia Hub projects in Western Australia’s Martuwarra (Fitzroy River) catchment worked together in a transdisciplinary approach to create knowledge around water resource management. Research users such as governments, Traditional Owners, industry and environmental groups were crucial members of the research teams. 

This project, led by researchers at The University of Western Australia, evaluated the use of a transdisciplinary approach, contributed to water management in the Fitzroy catchment by facilitating co-production and integration of knowledge generated by the 4 projects, and contributed to addressing complex sustainability issues in northern Australia and beyond by designing an evaluation framework that can be used in future research. 

Read more about the outcomes from this research, including the final report, on the project page


Fitzroy transdisciplinary project links image. Project connections described in caption.

Four projects collaborated in a transdisciplinary approach in the Fitzroy River catchment, Western Australia. Each circle represents a project and the corresponding question it answered: 1. Environmental water needs, 2. Indigenous water needs, 3. Multi-objective planning, and 4. Showing and sharing knowledge. The central circle represents the issue of water management planning in the Fitzroy catchment, around which the projects collaborated using a transdisciplinary approach. 

Simplified theory of change diagram, textually explained in the caption.

Simplified theory of change describing the pathways through which the research projects aim to achieve the long-term outcome of a credible water allocation plan, with fair allocations of water, and a good regulatory framework. The outcomes below the dotted line can be influenced directly via research, while outcomes above the line include factors beyond the control of the research projects. 

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