Last week, I attended the Banksia Awards dinner in Sydney, hopeful of bringing home the Sustainable Cities Award for our entry Biodiversity Sensitive Urban Design.
Unfortunately, we didn’t win – the gong was taken by 202020 Vision, who have been working towards a target of 20% more green space in Australian cities by 2020. But I thought I’d take a moment to reflect on some of the benefits of the experience, which lies outside of the day-to-day experiences of most researchers.
First, it was fun! We got to dress up in cocktail/lounge wear, which is otherwise pretty much non-existent for conservation researchers.
But jokes aside, although Awards like this are not necessarily recognised by the reward structures we are used to, a number of potential benefits became pretty obvious very early on. The Banksia Awards are held in very high regard by industry and local government. Winning one (and perhaps even being a finalist, as we were) could be very helpful when trying to secure industry partners for research grants. In addition to (or perhaps BECAUSE of) this, recognition by the Banksia Foundation is an indication of the relevance of research beyond academia and therefore helpful in demonstrating research impact. And finally, the Awards attract a large number of applicants and I found it to be a great way of learning about what is going on in my own field OUTSIDE of academia. And there’s a LOT. The Awards dinner was a great opportunity to engage with a different group of people who are potential collaborators, stakeholders and end-users of our research.
Biodiversity Sensitive Urban Design by ICSRG researchers Georgia Garrard and Sarah Bekessy was a Finalist in the Banksia Sustainable Cities Award. We’d like to acknowledge the great work done by other finalists and winners, as highlighted here. We’d also like to thank The Myer Foundation and RMIT’s Centre for Urban Research for supporting our research and application.