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The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority has a long history of working collaboratively with science and knowledge providers and basing our management on the best available science.

Every few years we reflect on our knowledge gaps, particularly following our five yearly Outlook Reports, and identify priority needs.

Scientific information is a critical part of evidence-based decision making and reporting. An increasing knowledge base about the Great Barrier Reef is supported by a wide range of science and knowledge providers including research institutions, government agencies, universities, Traditional Owners, industry and the Reef community.

We value these partnerships and will continue to support cutting edge science and monitoring on the Great Barrier Reef that align with our priority needs.

Our science and knowledge needs

Our Science and Knowledge Needs for Management set out the Authority’s priority information needs. It has a focus on elements that will help improve our management and protection strategies over the long term.

  • Our priority science and knowledge needs span four key themes:
  • What is the condition and trend of key values?
  • How can we optimise our management impact
  • How is the Reef used?
  • How can we improve our management through innovation and technology?

These themes support a series of priority questions to guide science and knowledge programs and clearly articulate what is needed by management. These can be explored in more detail on our interactive Science Needs webpage within the Reef Knowledge System.

How we use the information

Obtaining robust information that address priority needs will support evidence-based reporting, enable ecologically sustainable use, increase the capability and effectiveness of our management responses and better protect the Reef for future generations.

  • Specifically, we use science and knowledge to support:
  • Identifying emerging risks to the Reef
  • Setting and monitoring triggers for management intervention
  • Developing policies, planning and management strategies
  • Providing expert advice to government and stakeholders
  • Making decisions (for example permits and environmental impact assessments)
  • Adaptive management and incident response
  • Developing community partnerships based on shared understanding
  • Preparing the Outlook Report.
Diver monitoring the Reef for science - Australia -  © Victor Huertas

How to collaborate with us

The Reef is one of the most well researched and monitored ecosystems in the world. This is due to sustained investment in science and long-term partnerships with dedicated and committed research providers. These efforts are enhanced by ongoing involvement of industry (including tourism, commercial fishing, and ports), Traditional Owners, and a growing community contribution through citizen science programs, particularly the Authority’s Eye on the Reef program.

The Authority is focussed on brokering the exchange of knowledge between science providers and those that will use and act on the findings – including government, Traditional Owners, industry, or the community.

The Authority’s preferred approach to harnessing science and knowledge for evidence-based policy, programs and decisions is based on co-design, co-production and sharing of knowledge.

  • Benefits of collaborating with the Reef Authority
  • Maximise and demonstrate direct application of science and knowledge into decision making processes 
  • Broader communication and promotion of your work through government and partners 
  • Opportunities to strengthen co-management and information exchange with Traditional Owners 
  • Opportunities to discuss research design in advance to understand permission requirements and timeframes 
  • A productions and better managed Great Barrier Reef
  • Collaborate early
  • Shared understanding of science priorities 
  • Relevant partners, Traditional Owners and stakeholders are identified
  • Co-development of research questions where relevant 
  • Reef managers can consider future application of project outcomes to management 
  • Identify pathways to impact 
  • Communicate often 
  • Existing information and knowledge is leveraged rather than duplicated 
  • Awareness of emerging needs and issues 
  • Identify and broker additional partnerships and support for your project 
  • Proactively share information and stay connected 
  • Work together on projects
  • Deliver impact together 
  • Collective communication and promotion of findings 
  • Data, information is discoverable, accessible, understandable and useable 
  • Findings can be incorporated and applied to decision making 
  • Ongoing partnerships forged to maximise the effectiveness of updated and outcomes
  • Future partnerships

Science for Management report - Commonwealth of Australia (Reef Authority)

For more information on collaborating with the Reef Authority, contact our science team at
Updated 13 Dec 2022
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