The Global Centre for Environmental Remediation (GCER) aims to safeguard people's social, economic and physical health and wellbeing by developing innovative, cost-effective and sustainable technologies and solutions that reduce the impact of pollutants on the environment.

Maintaining a healthy environment is central to Australia's health, safety and sustainable prosperity. These are at risk from widespread contamination of soil, air and water caused over the past century, by human activities.

It is estimated that the nation spends over AU$2 billion a year cleaning up contaminated land and water. At the same time, areas of potentially high-value urban land lie unused.

GCER is a leading proponent of risk-based approaches to the clean-up or management of contaminated sites. Traditionally, the mere presence of a contaminant could result in costly and often unnecessary attempts to remove or remediate it, or in the complete disuse of would-be productive land. Risk-based remediation is based on the premise that contaminants only pose a risk if they can be taken up by, and cause harm to, humans, animals, plants and other biota. Thus GCER is leading a more rational, effective and affordable approach to contamination science and actual clean-up, which has been adopted in Australia and worldwide. Risk-based remediation requires the development of bioavailability measurement tools, toxicity assessment models, geo-hydrological prediction models, bioavailability-based health hazard assessment models, remediation technologies, policies to manage contaminated sites, and methods for safer management of the environment.

We also focus on in situ remediation – cleaning up contamination where it lies, rather than the traditional 'dig and dump' approach that has led to an unsustainable growth in landfills in Australia and worldwide. Together with a risk-based approach, this potentially saves industry millions, if not billions, of dollars annually and makes clean-up far more feasible and attractive.

In addition to research, GCER offers a PhD (Environmental Remediation). Our candidates graduate ready to take up challenging positions in the field of environmental risk assessment and remediation of contaminated sites. We also conducts hands-on workshops and vocational training courses on risk assessment and remediation techniques for environment management professionals.

Organisations dealing with contaminated sites are welcome to contact GCER about our external consultancy services.

Our Mission

World-leading environmental remediation research that enhances Australia's economic, environmental and social wellbeing and boosts its international competitiveness.

Our Expertise

GCER has expertise in the following areas:

  • Risk-based land management
  • Contaminant life cycle assessment
  • Waste characterisation
  • Speciation and toxicity assessment
  • Ecological and human health risk assessment
  • Bioaccessibility/bioavailability assessment
  • Innovative remediation methods for contaminated soil and groundwater
  • Risk communication
  • Specialised analytical testing
  • Remediation treatability studies.

Read about GCER's work and achievements over its first 4 years (PDF)

The University of Newcastle acknowledges the traditional custodians of the lands within our footprint areas: Awabakal, Darkinjung, Biripai, Worimi, Wonnarua, and Eora Nations. We also pay respect to the wisdom of our Elders past and present.