Risk literacy for the Blue Economy

Understanding risk literacy in the context of decision-making for a sustainable Blue Economy

Degree type

PhD

Closing date

10 October 2022

Campus

Hobart

Citizenship requirement

Domestic/International

About the research project

The growth of the Blue Economy is seeing novel activities emerge in Australian marine environments to support energy and living resources production systems. This is driven by a potential offshore expansion of aquaculture and diversification of cultured species, and the push to transition to renewable energy, including but not limited to offshore wind and tidal energy. It is expected and preferred these novel activities be sustainable, with environmental, economic, and social implications of new developments considered. To achieve sustainable outcomes, decision-making processes should be comprehensive across stakeholder groups, including non-specialists.

By definition, novel activities are subject to a lack of empirical evidence on performance and the sustainability of their operations, and inherently involve risks. In this context of uncertainty, assessing the sustainability of outcomes is challenging if embedded within an evidence-based decision-making framework. Risk literacy is the ability to evaluate risks when making decisions. Research on risk literacy – and communicating risks of developments to stakeholders – is more common in the fields of public health, medicine, and finance, but less so in marine management for primary industries. The overarching aim of this project is to examine how risks could be best communicated to stakeholders for informed decision-making leading to sustainable outcomes for emerging marine industries in Australia.

This HDR project will 1) conduct a literature review on risk literacy and communications in fields of environmental science and management for primary industries, particularly in the context of making judgements about the sustainability of activities ; 2) propose a conceptual framework connecting sustainability, uncertainty, and risk literacy in the context of marine primary industries; 3) examine how different people, including experts and non-experts, perceive and understand risk, including what factors can influence this understanding; 4) propose approaches or tools to communicate risks with uncertain outcomes to broad groups of stakeholders by considering links between risk literacy and decision-making by individuals and organisations, for example through scenario-based decision-support tools or comparisons with other industries and lived experience.

Primary Supervisor

Meet Dr Myriam Lacharite

Funding

Applicants will be considered for a Research Training Program (RTP) scholarship or Tasmania Graduate Research Scholarship (TGRS) which, if successful, provides:

  • a living allowance stipend of $28,854 per annum (2022 rate, indexed annually) for 3.5 years
  • a relocation allowance of up to $2,000
  • a tuition fees offset covering the cost of tuition fees for up to four years (domestic applicants only)

If successful, international applicants will receive a University of Tasmania Fees Offset for up to four years.

As part of the application process you may indicate if you do not wish to be considered for scholarship funding.

Eligibility

Applicants should review the Higher Degree by Research minimum entry requirements.

Additional eligibility criteria specific to this project/scholarship:

  • Applicants must be able to undertake the project on-campus

Selection Criteria

The project is competitively assessed and awarded.  Selection is based on academic merit and suitability to the project as determined by the College.

Additional desirable selection criteria specific to this project:

  • Experience in social science research and/or knowledge brokering
  • Adequate knowledge of marine primary industries through studies or employment

Application process

There is a three-step application process:

  1. Select your project, and check you meet the eligibility and selection criteria;
  2. Contact the Primary Supervisor, Dr Myriam Lacharite to discuss your suitability and the project's requirements; and
  3. Submit an application by the closing date listed above.
    • Copy and paste the title of the project from this advertisement into your application. If you don’t correctly do this your application may be rejected.
    • As part of your application, you will be required to submit a covering letter, a CV including 2 x referees and your project research proposal.

Following the application closing date applications will be assessed within the College. Applicants should expect to receive notification of the outcome by email by the advertised outcome date.

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