Research Priorities for Coastal Geoscience and Engineering: A Collaborative Exercise in Priority Setting From Australia

Hannah E. Power, Andrew W.M. Pomeroy, Michael A. Kinsela, Thomas P. Murray

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

1 Citation (Scopus)


We present the result 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 and Engineering Solutions the lowest scoring 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. Further, the research and application needs identified here will contribute to addressing key practical challenges identified at a national level. CGE research plays a critical role in identifying and enabling social, environmental, and economic benefits through the proactive management of coastal hazard impacts and informed planning to mitigate the potential impacts of growing coastal risk, particularly in a changing climate. The prevalence and commonalities of the challenges faced by coastal communities globally due to increasing pressures from coastal hazards in a changing climate suggest that our findings will be applicable to other settings.

Original languageEnglish
Article number645797
JournalFrontiers in Marine Science
Publication statusPublished - 13 Apr 2021


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