Safer, cheaper offshore pipelines for oil and gas production

UWA researchers have developed cheaper and safer offshore pipelines to reduce the cost of building and maintenance in oil and gas infrastructure. This has been achieved via the delivery of new design paradigms that have been adopted by operators and verifiers worldwide, and which now feature in international standards for pipeline design.

Folate fortification reduces neural tube defects

Maternal dietary folate deficiency in the first weeks of life carries a higher risk that the fetus’ neural tube will not fuse, leading to the development of either spina bifida or anencephaly. For two decades Bower et al. followed a dedicated pathway to impact by lobbying the Australian Government’s Health portfolio’s statutory authority, Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ), to introduce mandatory fortification of wheat flour. In 1995 voluntary fortification was allowed and in 2009 fortification of wheat flour with folate became mandatory. From 2011 to 2016, NTD births dropped, regardless of mother’s culture, age, educational attainment or choice of hospital system.

INFFER – applying economics in environmental management

The Investment Framework for Environmental Resources (INFFER) is a set of tools and frameworks that has redirected investments worth tens of millions of dollars by methodically demonstrating the value for money, or lack of it, in environmental project options. Since 2011, 20 of Australia’s 56 regional environmental management bodies have undertaken training in INFFER and are now using it to develop, evaluate and prioritise environmental projects. INFFER helps managers assess and rank environmental and natural resource projects and provides a framework for economic thinking in the decision processes. Impacts have been seen in greater environmental benefits through better design and prioritisation of environmental projects in publicly funded programs.

Fixing a leaky Fixing

UWA research uncovered a price bias and an exploitable trade advantage in the 100 year old mechanism used to set the daily benchmark price of precious metals globally. The London Fixing, which had been run by a handful of “member” banks, formed an integral part of a US$30 trillion dollar annual market, impacting metal prices, financial instruments and contracts. Following publication of the research, multiple civil and criminal trials were launched against the banks. Regulatory investigations began and fines were issued. Benchmarking regulations were overhauled and manipulation was criminalised. The research has led to the London Fixings being replaced with modern electronic auctions that provide fairer and more transparent systems of commodity price benchmarking.

Enhancing Policy-Making and Public Dialogue on the Future of Cities

The University of Western Australia (UWA) has played a critical role in enhancing policy-making, public debate and progress on the future of Perth and Australian cities. An important part of this has been an innovative, longstanding partnership with the Committee for Perth. This partnership has focused on major urban policy concerns related to globalization, economic development, demographic change, urban liveability and social equality. This research stimulated debate across business, community, government and individuals about the future of cities. The partnership draws on an active and ongoing strategy of engagement with stakeholders. In addition, the partnership actively seeks to inform policy by improving the quality of evidence used by urban decision-makers.

Guiding Principles for states displaced by climate change

The Peninsula Principles on Climate Displacement Within States is a policy framework designed to assist governments worldwide in dealing with people displaced by climate change. In addition to being the subject of books, articles and reports, the Peninsula Principles have been used to guide governmental and UN policy development on addressing climate displacement, provided an organising tool for community-based organisations and further influenced international actions on planned relocation for climate displaced communities.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities: health, wellbeing and suicide

Indigenous suicide is a significant population health challenge for Australia. Suicide is a major cause of Indigenous premature mortality and is a contributor to Indigenous health and life expectancy gaps. Two national projects undertaken by UWA researchers – the National Empowerment Project (NEP) and The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Suicide Prevention Evaluation Project (ATSISPEP) – have contributed significantly to the knowledge base on how to address this health challenge and have influenced Government policy. These projects have increased awareness in community based and Indigenous led solutions, as well as informing policy changes at the Federal level.