Developing a National Indigenous Environmental Research Network (NIERN)

Project start date: 01/10/2023
Project end date: 30/11/2025
NESP funding: $476,000 (GST-exclusive)

The development of National Indigenous Environmental Research Network (NIERN) is an Indigenous-led strategic initiative to support Indigenous leadership and participation in biodiversity conservation and environmental management across Australia.

Australian Outback Sunset NIERN. Photo Yay Images Adobe Stock
Australian Outback Sunset. Photo: Yay Images Adobe Stock


Currently, a lack of investment restricts the meaningful engagement of local Indigenous organisations in the development and implementation of research. Consequently, national environmental research priorities often lack Indigenous place-based research priorities and fail to fulfill the aspiration of Indigenous land management practitioner.

We’re investigating the models to develop an enduring and transformative entity – NIERN – that will promote Indigenous inclusion in biodiversity conservation and environmental management. It will help guide the relationship between Indigenous organisations, researchers, policy-makers and environmental management practitioners. Guided by an Indigenous participant elicitation process, we will make recommendations for investment in the long-term future of NIERN.

This project was conceived and led by Indigenous leaders from research, academia and the Indigenous land and sea management sector. We aim to improve Indigenous-led research outcomes, and in turn, the effectiveness and efficiency of environmental research and monitoring activities undertaken on Country.


Key research areas

To address these challenges, this project is:

  • supporting Indigenous environmental research needs and priorities
  • enhancing Indigenous-led decision-making in the environmental research and management sectors
  • ensuring mutually beneficial outcomes from environmental, cultural and socio-economic research for Indigenous groups and research providers
  • offering a cultural authority and integrity entity for NESP and other environmental research providers
  • empowering Indigenous Australians to participate in national environmental scientific research, biodiversity conservation and environmental management agendas.

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