Meet Melanie, QWMN Fellow

In 2018, Dr Melanie Roberts was appointed as the first Queensland Water Modelling Network Fellow. Based in the Australian Rivers Institute at Griffith University, the three-year fellowship is focused on developing novel mathematical models of gully erosion in Great Barrier Reef catchments. The outcome of this work will help target on-ground interventions in a bid to reduce sediment runoff – a significant threat to the Great Barrier Reef.

Dr Roberts’ work reflects broad consultation with research experts, policy makers and land managers in Queensland to understand and model complex scientific processes. This includes the influence of different land uses, climate change, and other policy interventions to sustain the Great Barrier Reef.

Receiving her PhD from the University of Western Australia in applied mathematics, Dr Roberts’ expertise is in the development of mathematical models to aid decision making. Prior to joining Griffith University, Dr Roberts worked with IBM Research. Here, she focussed on applications of mathematics to aid decision-making in emergency management, insurance and agriculture.

She was drawn to this fellowship by the opportunity to apply her skills to an area of significant environmental and societal importance, where the tools developed would   have direct impact.

In addition to conducting research, Dr Roberts has welcomed opportunities to present to national and international audiences to raise the profile of her work. Conference presentations have included the 8th International Symposium on Gully Erosion, the River Basin Management Conference in Spain, and the upcoming 23rd International Conference on Modelling and Simulation (MODSIM, December 2019). Melanie has also been selected to represent the Australian Mathematics Society at Science Meets Parliament in Canberra from 26-27 November 2019.

To find out more about this project, contact Dr Roberts via her Griffith University research profile, or QWMN@des.qld.gov.au.

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