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Professor Richard Bush

Interim Pro Vice-Chancellor

Office PVC - Science and Information Technology (Earth Sciences)

From the ground up

Prominent Australian Geoscientist Professor Richard Bush is the Global Innovation Chair at the International Centre for Balanced Land Use.

Based at the University of Newcastle's Newcastle Institute for Energy and Resources (NIER), the Centre is a joint partnership with the New South Wales Department of Industry through the NSW Department of Primary Industries and the Division of Resources and Energy.

“We aim is to harness the expertise of researchers across the University of Newcastle and the NSW Government to address the food, water and energy security challenges we face nationally and internationally. Most importantly, we are investigating issues of critical importance to the economic growth and sustainability of NSW,” Richard says.

The collaborative framework of the Centre provides a practical, independent, and multidisciplinary platform to directly inform policy and address complex issues related to economic, environment, and social balance in regional communities.

“Our research will help in decision making processes by taking into account the needs of industry and community to inform policy, inform investment, and inform productivity of the various industry sectors,” he says.

As a specialist in the area of land and water management, natural resource assessment, land use planning and geoscience based technologies, Richard Bush will be leading strategies to:

  • Enhance community support for key regional industries;
  • reduce the impacts of agriculture and industry development on air, land, soil and water resources. This includes technologies and systems to rehabilitate land to highly productive uses for food production;
  • increase biodiversity offsets and improve water management.

The health and wellbeing of regional communities and their economies is an important focus for the Centre.

Current research efforts examine:

  • How communities can collectively stimulate regional economic growth;
  • the facilitation of multi-industry collaboration;
  • promotion of regional investment in education and infrastructure;
  • enhancement of health safety and environmental outcomes of regional workforces and communities.

Interdisciplinary Innovation

A specialist in the area of soil science and soil water interactions, Richard has published over 200 scientific reports and won in excess of $6 million dollars of competitive funding in the past five years.

Richard was a founding Director of Southern Cross GeoScience - a Special Research Centre of Southern Cross University with a focus on environmental and water systems.

With extensive experience gained from overseeing the large interdisciplinary Southern Cross team, Richard has a clear idea of how the new UON Centre will contribute to balanced land use outcomes.

“Genuine interdisciplinary research tackling significant, substantial or complex problems hopefully leads to innovation.”

Building a team

The Centre will have strong synergies with several UON research groups including:

“We see great benefit in bringing people together around shared objectives. Critical to our success will be exploring potential projects with government and industry partners.”

Impacting on policy

Collaborating directly with state government departments gives the International Centre for Balanced Land Use very clear connection to the research expertise in NSW government agencies and departments.

“We aim to work collaboratively to inform strategic decision making about how we balance critical resources like land, energy and water, Richard says.

“It's the capacity to sustain industry and at the same time protect the environment to balance quality of life with the capacity to produce.”

Learning from China

In 2016, Richard was awarded a fellowship with the Chinese Academy of Science, where he will be collaborating with the Academy’s Research Institute for Ecology and Water Quality. Richard will be studying the impacts of the Three Gorges Dam project.

“Studying another society with land and water challenges would be very helpful, particularly as our Centre and research mission is as much international, as national,” Richard says.

“Regional communities in Australia are in transition. There is increased opportunity for innovative intensive agriculture and a need to diversify resource intensive regions into more dynamic and innovative economies.”

“We can learn from the vitality and the tenacity of China to bring about change, to see what works for them and what doesn’t.”

From the ground up

Professor Richard Bush is heading UON's International Centre for Balanced Land Use.

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Professor Richard Bush


Interim Pro Vice-Chancellor
International Centre for Balanced Land Use
Office PVC - Science and Information Technology
Faculty of Science and Information Technology

Focus area

Earth Sciences

Contact Details

Phone (02) 4033 9229
Mobile 0428268587


Room NIER C, Block 131
Building NIER
Location Callaghan
University Drive
Callaghan, NSW 2308