Desert Knowledge Research Institute


Con­nect­ing researchers and cre­at­ing oppor­tu­ni­ties in remote and region­al Aus­tralia.

Desert Knowl­edge Research Institute’s (DKRI) mis­sion is to recog­nise and grow the val­ue of remote and region­al Aus­tralia through high-qual­i­ty applied research that cap­i­talis­es on the unique char­ac­ter­is­tics and strengths of the sci­en­tif­ic and cul­tur­al knowl­edge of remote, arid, and desert regions.

DKRI’s strate­gic focus areas for 2019 – 2022:

  • Tar­get­ed research pro­grams in areas of peo­ple, place and knowledge
  • Gen­er­at­ing tan­gi­ble research out­puts that are of prac­ti­ca­ble value
  • Pro­mot­ing com­mu­ni­ty-dri­ven research
  • Being self-sus­tain­ing

    Research areas

    DKRI will imple­ment research pro­grams through aus­piced research projects, stand­alone research activ­i­ties and col­lab­o­ra­tions with the research cen­tres of the desert.

    The three focus areas for DKRI align with the strate­gic direc­tion of DKA.


    Land and coun­try is cen­tral to the work of DKA and DKRI. Research can include:

    • Cli­mate change
    • Indige­nous nat­ur­al resource management
    • Renew­able energy
    • Agri­cul­ture and horticulture
    • Inno­va­tion in the built environment


    Abo­rig­i­nal gov­er­nance, lead­er­ship and land man­age­ment is essen­tial to com­mu­ni­ty resilience in remote Aus­tralia. Research can include:

    • Pop­u­la­tion mobility
    • Retain­ing and recog­nis­ing emerg­ing Abo­rig­i­nal leaders
    • Lead­er­ship and gov­er­nance includ­ing local decision-making
    • Capac­i­ty build­ing for employ­ment and pro­fes­sion­al advancement


    The accu­mu­la­tion, trans­la­tion and dis­sem­i­na­tion of knowl­edge is in the DNA of research insti­tutes. For DKRI, this includes the out­comes of the research it facil­i­tates, and its part­ner­ship with DKA who host and pro­tect the many aspects of desert knowl­edge that cur­rent­ly exist. This pro­gram can include:

    • Knowl­edge trans­la­tion from exist­ing accu­mu­lat­ed research into prac­ti­cal application
    • Knowl­edge own­er­ship and commercialisation

    DKRI will focus on pro­mot­ing eco­nom­ic and social devel­op­ment in arid and desert Aus­tralia by advanc­ing Cen­tral Aus­tralian and desert research, gen­er­at­ing knowl­edge and apply­ing the exist­ing knowl­edge of the desert. DKRI will act as a con­duit and facil­i­ta­tor of desert research pro­grams, fund­ing and col­lab­o­ra­tions, work­ing to sup­port exist­ing research as well as to iden­ti­fy and gen­er­ate new research opportunities.

    In Novem­ber 2019, DKRI and Batch­e­lor Insti­tute co-host­ed the third Knowl­edge Inter­sec­tions Sym­po­sium which saw 86 research par­tic­i­pants engage with 28 pre­sen­ta­tion ses­sions at the Desert Knowl­edge Precinct. The Sym­po­sium pro­vid­ed a plat­form for Cen­tral Aus­tralian researchers to con­nect and share their knowl­edge, ideas and expe­ri­ences in desert research, and col­lab­o­rate to work towards a stronger remote Australia.

    Launched as the Desert Knowl­edge Foun­da­tion in 2012, DKRI emerged in 2018 with approved research insti­tute” sta­tus. DKRI is a com­pa­ny lim­it­ed by guar­an­tee and has Deductible Gift Recip­i­ent (DGR) sta­tus. As a reg­is­tered char­i­ty, DKRI can access fund­ing for desert research and is in a great posi­tion to cre­ate con­nec­tions and oppor­tu­ni­ties across remote and region­al Australia.

    DKRI is high­ly moti­vat­ed in pro­mot­ing desert research, and is look­ing for col­lab­o­ra­tions with Cen­tral Aus­tralian research insti­tutes and researchers. DKRI can be con­tact­ed at: info@​dkri.​com.​au.

    DKRI’s Board mem­ber­ship includes:

    Dr Stephen Mor­ton – CSIRO & Hon­orary Pro­fes­so­r­i­al Fel­low; CDU
    Dr Dan Tyson – CEO & Inno­va­tor in Res­i­dence; DKA
    Dr Mark Stafford-Smith – Chief Coor­di­nat­ing Sci­en­tist — Adap­ta­tion; CSIRO
    Prof Ruth Wal­lace – Dean of the Col­lege of Indige­nous Futures, Arts and Soci­ety; CDU & Direc­tor of the North­ern Insti­tute; CDU

    ACN: 160 498 448