QUT appoints sustainability Pro Vice-Chancellor

QUT has appointed Professor Kerrie Wilson as Pro Vice-Chancellor (Sustainability Strategy) to provide whole-of-university academic leadership of sustainability initiatives.

Professor Wilson will provide strategic leadership and advice on embedding sustainability into QUT’s strategy, policy, research and education.

QUT Vice-Chancellor Professor Margaret Sheil said the university was already doing a great deal to promote sustainability, but the PVC office would help to integrate and elevate these efforts.

“Professor Wilson will make connections across and beyond the university, so that our sustainability research and partnerships inform our education programs and campus operations and vice versa,” Professor Sheil said.

Professor Wilson said sustainability is about seeking a harmonious relationship between people and the planet.

“Sustainability means acting thoughtfully and responsibly, always considering the impact of our decisions on other people, other species and future generations,” she said.

“Sustainability affects every aspect of our lives – food, water, clothing, buildings, energy, transport, waste. It needs to be a priority for every individual, every organisation and every country.”

Professor Sheil has also launched the QUT Sustainability Action Plan, which sets out the activities that will enable the university to become carbon neutral by 2030 and links QUT activities to the 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

“The QUT Sustainability Action Plan includes actions ranging from new ways to reduce waste, ensure irrigation and external cleaning uses 100% non-potable water, encouraging the use of sustainable transport options, to actions around climate response in the form of adaptation and resilience to extreme weather events,” said Geoff Dennis, Executive Director of QUT Facilities Management.

“QUT also has a contract in place to ensure 50 per cent of energy will be sourced from the Columboola solar farm as part of our strategy to reach carbon neutrality.”

QUT Blueprint 6, released in 2019, made Sustainability and the Environment one of QUT’s seven strategic priorities, sending a clear signal that the university wants to play a significant role in shifting Queensland, Australia and the world onto a sustainable path.

QUT is the only university in Australia with a Pro Vice-Chancellor role dedicated to sustainability. QUT also has a Sustainability Manager in its Facilities Management department and a wide network of academic and professional staff implementing different aspects of its Sustainability Action Plan.

Professor Kerrie Wilson is one of Australia’s leading environmental scientists. Her research has been published in high impact journals such as Nature and Science and she has received numerous national awards, including the Prime Minister’s Prize for Life Scientist of the Year, the Australian Academy of Science Nancy Millis Medal for Women in Science and an Australian Museum Eureka Prize for Outstanding Young Researcher.

Before joining QUT in 2019, Professor Wilson was the Director of the Australian Research Council (ARC) Centre of Excellence for Environmental Decisions (CEED) and an ARC Future Fellow at the University of Queensland.

QUT has several interdisciplinary research centres tackling environmental sustainability problems, including centres focused on agriculture and the bioeconomy, clean energy, the environment, waste, robotics, materials science, data science and future enterprise.

These centres are supported by research facilities, pilot plants and field sites that undertake environmental monitoring, analysis and modelling and develop and trial cutting-edge technologies and processes. Other research centres and groups at QUT are investigating the environmental, social, economic, legal and political dimensions of sustainability.


This article has been reproduced courtesy of Queensland University of Technology’s media team. It was originally published on the QUT website on 10 March 2021. You can find the original here.