The Australian Climate Change Adaptation Research Network for Settlements and Infrastructure (ACCARNSI)

NCCARFThe Australian Climate Change Adaptation Research Network for Settlements and Infrastructure (ACCARNSI) based at the UNSW School of Civil and Environmental Engineering has been established to lead climate change adaptation research for the Settlements and Infrastructure theme as part of the broader National Climate Change Adaptation Research Facility (NCCARF) hosted by Griffith University.

In 2008 the Australian Government committed funding of $10 million over five years to establish eight national research networks investigating the effects of climate change on areas such as water resources and freshwater biodiversity; primary industries; terrestrial biodiversity; human health; emergency management; settlements and infrastructure; marine biodiversity and resources; social, economic and institutional dimensions.

The School’s Associate Professor Ron Cox, Engineers Australia’s Sir John Holland Civil Engineer of the Year in 2008 was appointed as Convenor of ACCARNSI. The aim of the Facility and the Networks is to lead the research community in a national interdisciplinary effort to generate the information needed by decision-makers in government and in vulnerable sectors and communities to manage the risks of climate change impacts and choose appropriate adaptation strategies.

The Network has provided a groundbreaking opportunity to bring together scholars and stakeholders who, hitherto, have largely operated in isolation. Their shared knowledge and expertise will be brought to bear in assessing the vulnerabilities of Australia’s settlements, infrastructure and built environment and developing adaptation responses to predicted climate change.

Research Activities


The Network incorporates broad engineering based research and information networks established through the various committees and panels of Engineers Australia, and the existing Australian Sustainable Cities and Regions Network

which is leading research in urban planning and the built environment.

The aim has been to make research into climate change adaptation in both the physical and human aspects of Australia’s settlements and infrastructure a truly multi-disciplinary enterprise. In this way, the Network prioritises focus on strategies to build adaptive capacity and reduce vulnerability to climate change in key sectors and regions of the country.

Having identified four key research themes within Settlements and Infrastructure, ACCARNSI established nodes for Coastal Settlements on the Gold Coast (led by Rodger Tomlinson, Griffith Uni), Urban Management, Transport and Social Inclusion, the Built Environment (led by Michael Neuman, City Futures UNSW) and Infrastructure (led by Water Research Centre UNSW co-directors Bill Peirson and Richard Stuetz).  Members of the Network played a key role in developing the National (Climate Change) Adaptation Research Plan (NARP) for Settlements and Infrastructure.

Through NCCARF, the Australian Research Grant Program (ARGP) awarded $6 million across fifteen priority research projects for the Settlements and Infrastructure theme. Final Reports are available on the NCCARF website.

In its role promoting dialogue around key climate change adaptation issues with Settlements and Infrastructure, ACCARNSI and each of the four Network Nodes produced Discussion Papers around Coastal Settlements, Urban Management, Transport and Social Inclusion, the Built Environment and Infrastructure.  Discussion Papers were released for comment by Network members before being finalised and made available to the public.  These papers became the basis for subsequent peer reviewed conference and/or journal publications.

ACCARNSI’s Research Nurture program in Climate Change Adaptation has included to date nine very successful Early Career Researcher Forums held across the country as well as an Honours and Masters Research Grant program.  Abstracts from all Early Career Researcher Forums can be found on the ACCARNSI Early Career Researcher Forums page and final reports for each Honours and Masters Research Grant recipient can be found on the ACCARNSI Honours and Masters Research Grant page.

Successful collaborations with the Australian Local Government Association, the Environment Institute of Australia and New Zealand and the NSW Office of Environment and Heritage have led to a Local Government Research Initiative on Adaptation Tools, five Learning to Adapt Forums on Climate Change Adaptation for government and business professionals and three technical papers as part of the upcoming Sydney Adaptation Plan.

ACCARNSI is currently engaged in research activities as part of the NSW Adaptation Research Hub in Coastal Processes and Responses for the NSW Office of Environment and Heritage with its partner the Sydney Institute for Marine Science.  For more information visit

More Information

Convenor:  Associate Professor Ron Cox

Contact details: