New role to accelerate climate change adaptation

An award-winning human geographer has been appointed to establish Australia’s first a Climate Change Adaptation Lab at La Trobe University, as part of the University’s plan to drive interdisciplinary research in this area.

Professor Lauren Rickards and team will join La Trobe’s School of Humanities and Social Sciences in 2023 to advance large-scale adaptation, action-based learning and peer knowledge exchange on climate change.

Dean of Humanities and Social Sciences at La Trobe University, Professor Nick Bisley, said the establishment of the Lab and Professor Rickards’ appointment comes at an urgent time for communities across the world.

“As we increasingly experience the impacts of climate change, adaptation is critical if we are to protect our families, economies and the environment,” Professor Bisley said.

“La Trobe has recognised the importance of accelerating research in this area and is thrilled to be welcoming Lauren into a research leadership role that will have real impact on communities and livelihoods.”

Professor Rickards said she was excited by the opportunity and congratulated La Trobe on its investment in climate change action.

“This opportunity to establish La Trobe’s Climate Change Adaptation Lab, grow my team, and accelerate interdisciplinary research on the topic is extremely timely,” Professor Rickards said.

“This is an increasingly urgent and complex issue that all communities need to face. At RMIT I have been fortunate to not only do impact-oriented research but to help progress the institution’s approach to research impact, and I look forward to helping develop La Trobe’s own, unique approach.”

Professor Rickards said La Trobe’s commitment to regional communities also drew her to the University.

“Regional Australia is close to my heart and has been a long-standing focus in my professional work. La Trobe’s involvement in the regions exemplifies the sort of place-based orientation contemporary universities need to have and offers so much potential for coproducing research that makes a difference,” Professor Rickards said.

Professor Rickards works with a wide range of partners including governments, the private sector and NGOs and was a Lead Author with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s latest report on climate change adaptation.

She has received funding from the Australian Research Council, the European Commission, Victorian Higher Education Investment Fund, Victorian and Australian governments, and the Canadian Social Science and Humanities Research Council.

Professor Rickards will commence the role at La Trobe in March 2023.

Media contact: Kate O'Connor – k.o', 0436 189 629