ILWS - Charles Sturt University
ILWS - Charles Sturt University


OUR MISSION: "to undertake internationally recognised integrated environmental, social and economic research for rural and regional areas."

ILWS Research Strategic Plan pdf

Who We Are

Established in 2005, the Institute for Land, Water and Society (ILWS) has substantial research and networking capacity to influence the governance and management of regional scale issues. It seeks to facilitate trans and multi-disciplinary approaches, underpinned by integration of social, environmental and economic research aims and practices, to address local, regional, national and global issues systemically.

The Institute is one of four designated Research Centres at CSU. These centres concentrate research expertise in line with the University's mission and Research Narrative.

ILWS combines research strengths in biophysical, social and economic research and has well-established partnerships with state and federal government departments, agencies and other tertiary institutions in Australia and overseas. It is an important contributor to policy-making and management decisions that contribute to ensuring a sustainable future.

The Institute's focus on facilitating systemic research has positioned it to address the issues that arise when managing social ecological systems that are characterised by uncertainty and complexity.

What We Do

The Institute undertakes research at the international, national, regional and local level; research made possible by significant financial and in-kind investment from CSU, funding bodies, government departments and agencies.

Our researchers are involved in individual, collaborative and commissioned work around Australia and the world, providing opportunities to influence local, regional, national, and, academic communities. Research is undertaken within four thematic (not mutually exclusive) areas:

Our research is made possible by significant financial and in-kind investment from CSU, funding bodies, government departments and agencies.

We communicate the important findings and messages from our researchers' work and engage with the community and our stakeholders in a number of ways including social and traditional media and hosting events such as public forums and seminars.

Our members publish the outcomes of their research in journal papers in a variety of leading academic journals in their respective fields, books, book chapters and technical reports and present at conferences across Australia and overseas.


Internationally-recognised wetland ecologist Max Finlayson, Professor for Ecology and Biodiversity, and Ramsar Chair for Wise Use of Wetlands has been the ILWS Director since 2007. Environmental sociologist Associate Professor Catherine Allan has been Associate Director since 2015.

"We respect the need for regional communities to be well informed as they address the many issues that need to be considered when seeking sustainable and integrated actions."  Professor Finlayson

Our Members

ILWS is a multi and trans-disciplinary research centre, with members working in and across a range of fields including the arts, aquatic science and management, biodiversity, communication, cultural heritage, economics, eco-agriculture, ecology, education, environmental management, modelling, natural resource management, regional entrepreneurship and development, social science, and tourism.

Our 'critical mass' comprises around 92 researchers, including post-doctoral fellows. While some are employed directly by the Institute, many more come from CSU's three faculties - Faculty of Arts and Education, Faculty of Business, Justice and Behavioural Sciences and Faculty of Science, and 11 of its schools.

As well, there are 50 Higher Degree Research (HDR) student members in the Institute whose research topics are congruent with the mission of the Institute. Our adjunct researchers, who may be based at other universities, institutions and government agencies, have specific areas of expertise and research interest that add to our diverse research capacity and productivity.

Background history