Coastal Geoscience and Engineering in Australia: Research Priorities and Emerging Issues

Power H1, Pomeroy A2,3, Kinsela M4, Murray T5

1University Of Newcastle,

2University of Western Australia,

3University of Melbourne,

4University of Sydney,

5Griffith University


This paper will present the results of a collaborative priority setting exercise to identify emerging issues and priorities in coastal geoscience and engineering (CGE). We use a ranking process to quantify the criticality of each priority from the perspective of Australian CGE researchers and practitioners. 74 activities were identified across seven categories: Data Collection and Collation, Coastal Dynamics and Processes, Modelling, Engineering Solutions, Coastal Hazards and Climate Change, Communication and Collaboration, and Infrastructure, Innovation and Funding. We found consistent and unanimous support for the vast majority of priorities identified by the CGE community, with 91% of priorities being allocated a score of ≥3 out of 5 (i.e., above average levels of support) by ≥75% of respondents. Data Collection and Collation priorities received the highest average score, significantly higher than four of the other six categories, with Coastal Hazards and Climate Change the second ranked category.

Of the 74 priorities identified, 11 received unified and strong support across the CGE community and indicate a critical need for: additional coastal data collection including topographic and bathymetric, hydrodynamic, oceanographic, and remotely sensed data; improved data compilation and access; improved understanding of extreme events and the quantification of future impacts of climate change on nearshore dynamics and coastal development; enhanced quantification of shoreline change and coastal inundation processes; and, additional funding to support CGE research and applications to mitigate and manage coastal hazards. The outcomes of this priority setting exercise can be applied to guide policy development and decision-making in Australia and jurisdictions elsewhere.


Hannah Power is an Associate Professor and coastal scientist in the School of Environmental and Life Sciences at the University of Newcastle. Her research interests are focussed around geomorphology and hydrodynamics in the coastal zone and her research covers a wide range of topics from breaking wave hydrodynamics on sandy beaches, to geomorphic change on coral reefs through time, to tsunami inundation modelling.