Ian Wright
Western Sydney University

Ian wright profile imageProfessor Ian Wright

Hawkesbury Institute of Environment, Western Sydney University

See Professor Wright’s full research profile here.

E: i.wright@westernsydney.edu.au

Research outputs linked to policy change and decision-making

  • From 2005–2009, Professor Wright was deputy convenor and member of the scientific advisory board for the Australian Research Council (ARC) Australia–New Zealand Research Network for Vegetation Function. The primary goal of the network was to encourage high-impact research via funding working groups that tackled topics spanning from genomics through ecophysiology to agriculture and global change. As deputy convenor, Professor Wright was involved in administration, decision-making and financial delegation; in program development, advising working group leaders, job searches and staff supervision. As a scientist, he participated in some of the working groups (especially early on), and provided data to many. As a member of the scientific advisory board, he provided strategic direction and made decisions about funding working groups. Annual surveys of working group participants indicated that the network had a substantial effect on many researchers, who reported shifting their attention to questions of larger scope, forming new collaborations that stretched more widely across disciplines and continents, beginning to target their work to higher-impact journals, and building better links between researchers and policy-makers.
  • Currently, Professor Wright is a node leader, chief investigator and member of the executive group of the new ARC Centre of Excellence for Plant Success in Nature and Agriculture (2020–2027). The centre will develop new understanding of plant adaptations to heatwaves and drought, at ecological, physiological and genetic levels, with views towards crop improvement and also improving conservation outcomes. A key focus will be on understanding the heat- and drought-adaptations of Australian wild relatives to economically important crops such as sorghum and rice. These native species are concentrated in northern WA, NT and Queensland. Looking outwards, the centre will work to ensure that scientific outcomes are understood and valued by broader society. The centre will partner with leaders in the fields of education, communication and social engagement to establish a strong presence in the community, where impact and uptake of ideas can be maximised.
  • Professor Wright is in the leadership group for the incipient NSW species discovery and resilience network, a collaboration between the Australian Museum, Royal Botanic Gardens, NSW Dept of Primary Industries, Macquarie University, University of NSW, Australian Proteome Analysis Facility and BioPlatforms Australia. This alliance is working to position ourselves as research providers of choice to the NSW Government, for issues related to broad-scale taxonomic surveys, and threats to species/ecosystem resilience from increasing frequency and severity of heatwaves and drought.

Current academic employment and positions

  • 2021–present: Hawkesbury Institute of Environment, Western Sydney University
  • distinguished professor, Macquarie University (previously professor, associate professor, senior lecturer: 2009–2021; and deputy-associate dean of research, Faculty of Science and Engineering: 2017–2019).
  • 2020–2027: node leader, ARC Centre of Excellence for Plant Success in Nature and Agriculture.

Highest qualification

  • 2002: PhD, Macquarie University.

Major prizes, medals and honours

  • 2019: elected Fellow of Australian Academy of Sciences (AAS)
  • 2015: awarded Fenner Medal for research in biological sciences (AAS mid-career honorific award)
  • 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019 named as a Thomson Reuters/Clarivate Highly Cited Researcher (10-year running average) in two categories: environment/ecology, and plant and animal sciences.

My Projects

Current projectCompleted project
NESP RLH, 2021-2027NESP, 2015-2021NERP, 2012-2015TRaCK, 2005-present