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Welcome to

Research Institute for the Environment and Livelihoods

Why choose RIEL?

  • 'Outstanding performance' in environmental science and management​, and ecology​

    2018 Excellence in Research for Australia (ERA) ranking: 5

  • Performance above world standard in ecological applications

    2018 Excellence in Research for Australia (ERA) ranking: 4


  • RIEL is ranked ‘High’ in engagement, impact and approach to impact

    2018 Engagement and Impact assessment (EI)​ ranking: High



Postgraduate study

Consultancy services

Sam Banks, head and shoulders, with green vegetation behind
Professor Sam Banks

Director's message

Welcome to the Research Institute for the Environment and Livelihoods. We host and offer internationally significant research initiatives, postgraduate study and consultancy services related to natural and human systems in northern Australia and neighbouring regions.

Our teaching and research excellence, collaborative approach, and dynamic staff and students are making a RIEL difference across the region.

I feel privileged to be supporting such achievements at this important time for the north and hope to work with you soon.

- RIEL Director, Prof. Sam Banks

Find out more about RIEL (PDF, 858.17 KB)

Our research areas

Biodiversity conservation

Communities and livelihoods

Savanna and arid ecology

Water and catchments

Undergraduate study

Many of our world-class researchers also teach into the Environmental Science bachelors degree and other programs. If you are interested in studying environmental science as an undergraduate or honours student, watch this video and then find out how to apply for CDU's Science, Environmental Science and Management courses.

How to apply

RIEL news

  • An international team of researchers have joined a collaborative fieldwork program in the Riau Islands of Indonesia to learn more about the critically endangered Clown Wedgefish. Photo Credit: Zaidi

    Researchers help to learn more about critically endangered fish

    A multi-national research team from Indonesia, Australia, and the United States, are hunting to find the home of one of the world’s most endangered fish, the Clown Wedgefish, a fish so elusive that it has only ever been recorded at fish markets.

    Read more
  • Researchers at Charles Darwin University’s (CDU) Research Institute for Northern Agriculture (RINA) will conduct a study into biting midges, an insect of concern, which can carry potentially deadly diseases that can affect Australian livestock

    CDU investigating the biosecurity threat of disease carrying midges

    Researchers at Charles Darwin University (CDU) will soon be on the frontline of protecting Northern Australia against potentially severe animal blood borne diseases with a new project looking into the biting midges, an insect of concern for its potential to carry disease that could damage the Australian livestock industry. 

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  • A review led by Charles Darwin University (CDU) on Australia’s environmental challenges calls for increased efforts to combat national biodiversity loss, before it is too late.

    Experts say radical shift needed in our relationship with the environment

    A radical shift in our relationship with the environment is needed and it is time we intervene in the extinction crisis, experts say.

    Read more
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