Desert Knowledge Research Institute


Con­nect­ing researchers in desert resilience to create new opportunities for remote & arid Australia.

Desert Knowl­edge Research Institute’s (DKRI) mis­sion is to recog­nise and grow the val­ue of remote and region­al Aus­tralia through high-qual­i­ty applied research that cap­i­talis­es on the unique char­ac­ter­is­tics and strengths of the sci­en­tif­ic and cul­tur­al knowl­edge of remote, arid, and desert regions.

DKRI’s strate­gic focus areas for 2019 – 2022:

  • Tar­get­ed research pro­grams in areas of peo­ple, place and knowledge
  • Gen­er­at­ing tan­gi­ble research out­puts that are of prac­ti­ca­ble value
  • Pro­mot­ing com­mu­ni­ty-dri­ven research
  • Being self-sus­tain­ing

    Research areas

    DKRI will imple­ment research pro­grams through aus­piced research projects, stand­alone research activ­i­ties and col­lab­o­ra­tions with the research cen­tres of the desert.

    The three focus areas for DKRI align with the strate­gic direc­tion of DKA.


    Land and coun­try is cen­tral to the work of DKA and DKRI. Research can include:

    • Cli­mate change
    • Indige­nous nat­ur­al resource management
    • Renew­able energy
    • Agri­cul­ture and horticulture
    • Inno­va­tion in the built environment


    Abo­rig­i­nal gov­er­nance, lead­er­ship and land man­age­ment is essen­tial to com­mu­ni­ty resilience in remote Aus­tralia. Research can include:

    • Pop­u­la­tion mobility
    • Retain­ing and recog­nis­ing emerg­ing Abo­rig­i­nal leaders
    • Lead­er­ship and gov­er­nance includ­ing local decision-making
    • Capac­i­ty build­ing for employ­ment and pro­fes­sion­al advancement


    The accu­mu­la­tion, trans­la­tion and dis­sem­i­na­tion of knowl­edge is in the DNA of research insti­tutes. For DKRI, this includes the out­comes of the research it facil­i­tates, and its part­ner­ship with DKA who host and pro­tect the many aspects of desert knowl­edge that cur­rent­ly exist. This pro­gram can include:

    • Knowl­edge trans­la­tion from exist­ing accu­mu­lat­ed research into prac­ti­cal application
    • Knowl­edge own­er­ship and commercialisation

    DKRI will focus on pro­mot­ing eco­nom­ic and social devel­op­ment in arid and desert Aus­tralia by advanc­ing Cen­tral Aus­tralian and desert research, gen­er­at­ing knowl­edge and apply­ing the exist­ing knowl­edge of the desert. DKRI will act as a con­duit and facil­i­ta­tor of desert research pro­grams, fund­ing and col­lab­o­ra­tions, work­ing to sup­port exist­ing research as well as to iden­ti­fy and gen­er­ate new research opportunities.

    In Novem­ber 2019, DKRI and Batch­e­lor Insti­tute co-host­ed the third Knowl­edge Inter­sec­tions Sym­po­sium which saw 86 research par­tic­i­pants engage with 28 pre­sen­ta­tion ses­sions at the Desert Knowl­edge Precinct. The Sym­po­sium pro­vid­ed a plat­form for Cen­tral Aus­tralian researchers to con­nect and share their knowl­edge, ideas and expe­ri­ences in desert research, and col­lab­o­rate to work towards a stronger remote Australia.

    Launched as the Desert Knowl­edge Foun­da­tion in 2012, DKRI emerged in 2018 with approved research insti­tute” sta­tus. DKRI is a com­pa­ny lim­it­ed by guar­an­tee and has Deductible Gift Recip­i­ent (DGR) sta­tus. As a reg­is­tered char­i­ty, DKRI can access fund­ing for desert research and is in a great posi­tion to cre­ate con­nec­tions and oppor­tu­ni­ties across remote and region­al Australia.

    DKRI is high­ly moti­vat­ed in pro­mot­ing desert research, and is look­ing for col­lab­o­ra­tions with Cen­tral Aus­tralian research insti­tutes and researchers.

    DKRI can be con­tact­ed at: info@​dkri.​com.​au

    DKRI Board


    Dr Stephen Mor­ton (CSIRO & Hon­orary Pro­fes­so­r­i­al Fel­low; CDU)


    • Mr Jim­my Cock­ing (Chief Exec­u­tive Offi­cer; DKA)
    • Dr Mark Stafford-Smith (Chief Coor­di­nat­ing Sci­en­tist — Adap­ta­tion; CSIRO)
    • Prof Ruth Wal­lace (Dean of the Col­lege of Indige­nous Futures, Arts and Soci­ety; CDU & Direc­tor of the North­ern Insti­tute; CDU)
    • Asso­ciate Prof Kathryn Gilbey (Act­ing Exec­u­tive Dean, Fac­ul­ty Ter­tiary Edu­ca­tion and Research, Batch­e­lor Insti­tute of Indige­nous Ter­tiary Education)

    ACN: 160 498 448


    A campaign to address Alice Springs’ water future

    Feb 18, 2022

    A group of local organisations and independent parties join forces to address the town’s water future.

    Alice Springs conference hosts over 150 participants

    Sept 30, 2021

    The 2021 Knowledge Intersections Symposium witnessed 39 presentations that shared knowledge of benefit to the central Australian community.