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Putting Goyder Institute research in the hands of future generations

Oct 7, 2016
Author: Kathryn Nicholas


The Science Model Warehouse is a service provided by the Water Science Unit of the South Australian Department for Environment, Water and Natural Resources (DEWNR) and the Goyder Institute for Water Research. The Science Model Warehouse provides three services – a secure and central repository for housing numerical models, a website to increase their visibility, and an avenue for research uptake.

Numerical models have become essential tools for water resource management. They require substantial capital investment as they are time-intensive and involve specialist skills and the analysis of extensive scientific data. Both DEWNR and the Goyder Institute have invested significant resources into developing numerical models for groundwater, surface water, water ecology, water quality, simulation and optimisation, statistical and agricultural production systems.

“The research products from Goyder Institute are cutting-edge and the Science Model Warehouse will ensure the best available science underpins our decisions for South Australia,” said Neil Power, Director, State Research Coordination, Goyder Institute in DEWNR.

“The systems and protocols established will result in consistent, logical archiving of numerical models and their associated data.

“We’ve also increased the visibility of research via our website, which displays model domains on maps and provides links to publications associated with each model. It’s also now easier to request the model files for use in publicly-funded projects, however this process will continue to be mediated by DEWNR.”

DEWNR facilitates making numerical models visible and accessible to external parties under the Declaration of Open Data made by South Australian Premier Jay Weatherill in 2013, which provides transparency for evidence-based policy and decision making.

The Science Model Warehouse currently houses around 100 numerical models, including 50 developed through research conducted by partner organisations of the Goyder Institute. To ensure the state government obtains maximum benefit from its investments, DEWNR is in the process of assigning a ‘DEWNR custodian’ to those numerical models who can immediately be used to address questions and issues related to water resource management. The knowledge gained from Goyder and other research projects is transferred to DEWNR’s Science Unit, policy and water managers by the custodians.

This component of knowledge transfer from Goyder Institute research partners to DEWNR is an important part of the Science Model Warehouse as previously there wasn’t a complete package to handover to future generations to use,” Neil said.

“Because numerical models and associated data have become quite powerful in terms of how they inform policy, they’re becoming more prevalent. One central repository helps build our knowledge and in a decade I believe we could have a few hundred models – maybe more – this is really only the beginning.”