This month we farewell three of our BE CRC leaders. Whilst they are stepping down from their official roles within the CRC, we look forward to future collaborations through ongoing research. We also take the opportunity to welcome Prof Evan Gray and Prof Chris Frid as Leaders of the Offshore Renewable Energy Systems and Environment and Ecosystems programs respectively.

Dr Mark Hemer
Program Leader, Offshore Renewable Energy Systems 

It is with mixed feelings that I step away from the Research Program lead role for the RP3 Offshore Renewable Energy Systems program at this time, and embark on new challenges from within CSIRO. I have several highlights from my time in the Blue Economy CRC, but list just a few here:

  • The first annual meeting held in Hobart, where I met many of the CRC partners (some for the first time) and see the excitement, interest and ideas for what could be achieved in the CRC’s life
  • Seeing the relationships, awareness and increasing engagement between partners, and between CRC research programs, during the scoping projects. It was a substantial challenge to do this under COVID enforced constraints, but the progress made despite these challenges reflects the positivity of the CRC partners to the CRC vision.
  • Reviewing the scoping project outcomes, and being a part of the Research Executive that synthesised this to a coherent multi-discipline 10-yr roadmap for the CRC
  • Overseeing the evolution of the RP3 vision, with the support of the CRC and the Board, to encompass broad opportunities for offshore renewable energy systems; to meet needs of offshore industry, to enable growth of new offshore industries, and to contribute towards Australia’s necessary energy transition
  • Having the opportunity to review and help shape some exciting research opportunities for the CRC – some successful and some not. I look forward to seeing future success of several opportunities now commenced or in preparation and will continue to cheer these projects on from the sidelines.

I’d like to thank everyone from across the CRC community that I’ve had the opportunity to engage with, and am hopeful these conversations do not finish here.

I wish the Blue Economy CRC and all within it the best of success.

Dr Beth Fulton
Program Leader
Environment and Ecosystems

It is with a sense of amazement at how fast time has passed and a bit of a heavy heart that after close to 2 years I am saying goodbye to my position as the lead of RP4 Environment and Ecosystems. Getting a CRC bedded in (especially one as diverse as the BE CRC) can be challenging, even without throwing in a global pandemic to spice up the experience. However, as Roosevelt is reported to have said “a smooth sea never made a skilled sailor” and the need to work closely in such a transformational time has created connections likely not possible otherwise.

I’ve learnt a lot over the past two years and met a long list of amazing people. The world is changing fast, especially in the oceans. The Blue Economy as a whole already rivals agriculture, construction and mining in Australia and is growing at a phenomenal rate, with quite staggering potential in terms of its renewable energy resources and seafood products. This is why the BE CRC remains such an important vision for Australia and New Zealand to have.

That vision attracted me to the CRC, where I had the pleasure of working closely with the CRC executive team and a long list of people from many of the CRC partners. A collective “thanks” to you all, I think the roadmap we have drawn up together is an exciting one. While my CSIRO job has me moving on to other (somewhat related) work on climate change and transformational adaptation, I look forward to a continued science connection with the CRC.

In the short term, I will continue to be an active part of the Hazards and Opportunities project – if you are a project participant, you will be hearing from us very soon in preparation for our hazard ranking workshop in October; if you’re not in the project but just want to chat about what you see as hazards or opportunities around any potential Blue Economy development please just drop me a line at Likewise, if you have thoughts on what you think marine industries will look like in 10, 20, 50 years I’d love to hear them. I’ll be sure to share any insights with the CRC, as those visions help us know the science we need now to be ready for what’s needed next.

A final special thanks go to Chris Frid and Remo Cossu, whose cumulative humour brightened every meeting we had. I have picked up a lot of new (mostly good) habits. As Chris is stepping into the lead role for RP4 I wish him and Remo all the best in what I hope they find an exciting and fulfilling experience.

It is always tempting as a marine ecologist to finish a piece like this with So long, and thanks for all the fish! However, as the CRC is so much more than just fish, I think a less whimsical “see you round” might be better as I am keen to stay connected with its research into the future. The vision is a great one and I look forward to seeing it realised.

Dr Leo Dutra
Deputy Program Leader
Sustainable Offshore Developments

I very much appreciated my time as Deputy Program Leader at the Blue Economy CRC. It was a great pleasure to work closely with RP5 Program leaders Prof. Marcus Haward and Assoc. Prof Ki-Hoon on strategic planning and day-to-day activities of the program, interacting with partners and making the connections with the broader Research Executive and BECRC objectives.

I will sure miss all the action and the great people I had the opportunity to work with at the CRC.