Young, up-and-coming researchers are meeting at The Cairns Institute at James Cook University this week to develop innovative solutions to the unique challenges associated with global tropical regions.
The tropics are home to half of the world’s population, and host around 80 per cent of global biodiversity.
In Australia, the tropics represent 40 per cent of the country’s landmass, making us the world’s largest high-income tropical country.
Australia has the opportunity to become a world leader in addressing tropical issues, and the young researchers attending the Tropical Research Network (TRN) conference in Cairns this week all bring a passion for research in this field.
Life in the tropics poses challenges that span social, political and natural issues.
Average income is less than $2 per day, and disease and poor health impair quality of life and limit life expectancy.
In addition, rapid biodiversity loss in the past decade has reduced the availability of natural resources critical to everyday living.
The complexity of the tropics calls for expertise from a variety of fields and the TRN has taken on this challenge, bringing together a diverse group of young researchers from Australian universities.
Participants from the natural, social and health sciences are collaborating to take tropical research a big step forward.
“It’s incredibly inspiring to share ideas with people from such different backgrounds and perspectives, and to come up with exciting new approaches to solving real issues in the tropics,” TRN participant Katherine Cure from University of Western Australia said.
The implications of the TRN are global, according to Amazonian archaeologist and keynote speaker Professor Eduardo Neves, from the University of Sao Paulo in Brazil.
“I see this as a great opportunity to establish an international network of tropical research from a perspective connecting the Indo-Pacific and the Neotropical environments and peoples of Latin America,” Professor Neves said.
TRN is an Australian initiative promoting collaborative research. Participating universities include James Cook University, Queensland University of Technology, University of Western Australia, Curtin University, Griffith University, Charles Darwin University, Murdoch University, and Flinders University.
Issued November 6, 2013
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