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Planned activities

Potential activities in CoastRI align with three major categories:

  • Observing coastal processes
  • Cross-sector modelling and prediction
  • Data identification, management, and integration

The program of work is intended to include marine, estuarine, terrestrial, subsurface, modelling and analytical elements culminating in a step-change in our understanding of coastal conditions and support risk management strategies.

CoastRI will be established via a two-stage approach

CoastRI Timeline – Stage 1

Stage 1

Stage 1 includes a number of elements which were funded in the 2023 NCRIS funding round including:

A consultation process to explore research, stakeholder, and end-user coastal data needs, impact pathways, First Nations co-design program partners, program governance and synthesis, and co-investment opportunities. The consultation will be managed by IMOS, with engagement from all participating NCRIS projects.

Consultation activities will include surveys, workshops, and online meetings with stakeholders across the entire coastal observation value chain to ensure the development of a program tailored to meet the needs of the community and create societal benefit. Input from the consultation stage will inform the scope and scale of the proposed program for the 2024 NCRIS funding round. Prior to submission, an independent scientific committee will assist in reviewing and endorsing the proposed CoastRI framework and program of work.

A suite of initial, multi-year investments (2023-2027) to establish the program and demonstrate the scope and intent of CoastRI, to help leverage and attract capability and co-investment. These investments include observing, data collection, data management, and modelling activities that are known gaps identified from previous consultation and can commence immediately.

Initial Funding Investments

Coastal Ocean Modeling Commons (Australian Earth-System Simulator, ACCESS-NRI; AuScope; National Computational Infrastructure, NCI): Encompasses a 2-year pilot program aimed at assessing the viability of establishing a coastal ocean modelling commons in partnership with the University of New South Wales (UNSW). The program also focuses on enhancing Australian ice sheet modelling capacities, with the ultimate aim of integrating ice sheets into the ACCESS framework.

 Coastal waves and estuarine conditions (Integrated Marine Observing System, IMOS): IMOS is establishing observing capability to monitor coastal waves and estuarine water quality to improve understanding of processes and conditions directly related to inundation and other coastal risks. These observing platforms will provide baseline data to understand conditions and trends in key coastal areas.

Improving the availability of coastal marine biodiversity data (Atlas of Living Australia, ALA): The Atlas of Living Australia is Australia’s largest biodiversity database, containing over 130 million observations from over 800 data providers. This project will quantify hotspots and gaps in open-access datasets of coastal marine biodiversity with an initial focus on fish. It will work with new and existing data providers to address those gaps and optimize information flows to ensure open data is consistently and readily available through the ALA, and our partner data infrastructure, including the Global Biodiversity Information Facility.

Monitoring sea level impacts on coastal ecosystem resilience (Terrestrial Ecosystem Research Network, TERN; AuScope): The TERN-enabled OzSET network of 289 portable mechanical leveling devices benchmarks and measures the relative elevation change of wetland sediments at 31 site locations in 5 Australian states and territories. Additionally, with AuScope’s drones, TERN plans to examine how integration of remote sensing combined with LiDAR can provide meaningful information about wetland vegetation characteristic in conjunction with Surface Elevation Table measures.

Planet Research Data Commons (Australian Research Data Commons, ARDC): Comprises the Trusted Environmental Data and Information Supply Chains program, focusing on the necessary infrastructure for environmental prediction, trusted data spaces, and models, and data sharing between sectors. It also includes the Modelling, Analytics and Decision Support program, focusing on supporting data and modelling platforms for research and decision making, the Machine Observation program designed to provide national facilitates for data storage, data synthesis activities, and processing pipelines, and the Governance of Indigenous Data program, enhancing the capability and capacity of facilities for the development of learning partnerships for governance of indigenous data and processes.

Underground infrastructure in critical coastal areas (Australian Urban Research Infrastructure Network, AURIN): AURIN will contribute curated data, training, expertise, and understanding relevant to urban coastal assets to allow modelling of the risk and impact of coastal inundation from storm surge and sea-level rise. This includes access to AURIN’s current repository of curated coastal population and demographic data, derived data, and historical data to allow time series analysis. Acquiring access to currently unavailable and hard-to-get urban infrastructure data assets, such as subterranean utilities, is a key priority for AURIN and its users. Data pertaining to the urban environment is critical to understanding the economic and human well-being impacts of coastal inundation.

Shoreline observing (AuScope, TERN, IMOS): Drone and fixed monitoring infrastructure will provide a vital bridge between satellite, ground and marine characterisation for the nation.  The infrastructure will capture information with emerging scientific-grade, remote sensing instruments (hyperspectral, terrestrial and bathymetric LiDAR, thermal, photogrammetry).  The fixed camera/LiDAR stations offer continuous coverage at strategic locations of national priority, while drone deployments enable flexibility for high-resolution and rapid-response surveying. It opens new avenues for change detection and monitoring, over sites of strategic interest, validation sites, areas impacted by extreme events and inundation, or locations of key coastal management interventions. There are innovative citizen science and outreach components, providing complimentary, low-cost observations and critical community engagement.

Stage 2

Stage 2 will involve implementation of CoastRI informed by user needs (defined in Stage 1) to maximise impact. Stage 2 will build on elements of Stage 1, which may include expansion of these elements if required as well as inclusion of additional activities.


The NCRIS consortium is currently conducting a consultation process with end-users to understand their priorities and needs concerning coastal infrastructure. This nationwide consultation aims to identify common data and information gaps, discover new data streams, identify areas of need, and explore opportunities to enhance or leverage existing programs and products.

Initial online consultation took place in April 2023 through a survey, and a summary of the results can be found here.

The consultation process is ongoing and will involve stakeholders across the entire coastal observation value chain. In addition to the analysis of end-user needs, scientific meetings will be held to explore how the identified needs can be met and how benefits can be created at regional and national scales.