December 2, 2020
Well-known climate researcher Roger Stone – and head of the USQ’s Centre for Applied Climate Sciences at Toowoomba – received a national award on Tuesday night recognising his leadership in outreach to the community.
Prof Stone received the award for “Outstanding Leadership in Engagement” at the Engagement Australia Excellence Awards.
He has 35 years experience conducting and co-ordinating research into climate systems and its impact on agriculture and disaster risk management.
His award nomination cited the fact he had made it a priority to link his climate science research to real-world practice and engagement, including a major project with Meat & Livestock Australia, and training local community members so they can work with businesses and their community in management decisions.
“Climate scientists need to move out from behind their desks and their labs, and speak about climate risk with the community – especially in regional and rural Australia,” Prof Stone said.
“The issues associated with climate are so massive, they are so huge, we have to get out there and start talking to famers about their work.
“Knowing when drought is developing so that we can prepare them for what’s to come is vital to keeping food on the table.”
Professor Stone has dedicated half his life to climate research.
His research into climate risk management has led him to become internationally renowned in his field.
He has helped farmers in Australia, India and south-east Asia manage risk.
In 2018, he was elected President of the United Nations’ World Meteorological Organisation Commission for Agricultural Meteorology.
“We set up a drought management and research program as well as food security programs within the United Nations,” Prof Stone said.
“We’re now starting to utilise a lot of the knowledge we’ve gained in Australia with countries around the world, especially in developing countries.”
He said drought would continue to be one of the biggest challenges Australia faces into the future – but there was hope.
“We can get ready for it and plan accordingly, ensuring future growth and success,” he said.
“We can help communities become much better able to withstand the complexities of droughts and build resilience to deal with the shock that comes through the system.
“And when the drought starts to break, we can help them capitalise on the opportunities that come with the return of rain.”