Cumberland Plain Research

About the Research Strategy

The draft CPCP Research Program Implementation Strategy was developed by a team from Western Sydney University in collaboration with the NSW Department of Planning and Environment to guide the delivery of a 35-year research program that will help achieve the CPCP’s outcomes in Western Sydney.

The Research Strategy will:

  • help to improve knowledge about the area’s threatened species and ecosystems and our ability to manage, restore and monitor plant, animal and ecosystem responses to our efforts
  • deliver the data and new knowledge needed by the different stakeholders who are working to conserve and restore the native plants and animals of the Cumberland Plain.

The Cumberland Plain is the Country of the Darug, Dharawal and Gundungurra peoples while Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples from many other groups also live in, or have care relationships with, the area. The Strategy will also recognise the need to undertake research to support Aboriginal peoples to maintain their distinctive cultural, spiritual, physical and economic relationships with the land and waters in the Cumberland Plain.

The draft Research Strategy proposes research priorities around four key themes:

  1. Supporting Aboriginal connections: Partnering with Aboriginal peoples on research which helps maintain their distinctive cultural, spiritual, physical and economic relationships with their land and waters in the Cumberland Plain.
  2. Engaging with peoples and cultures: Understanding the attitudes and behaviours of the community toward biodiversity and conservation values found in the Cumberland Plain and how these can be positively influenced.
  3. Conserving threatened species and ecosystems: Understanding the ecology, habitat requirements, the geographic distribution and genetic diversity of species and ecological communities and in particular, their likely responses to changing land use and climate.
  4. Restoring and reconstructing ecosystems: Understanding how to successfully restore degraded ecosystems and overcome barriers to enable the reconstruction of functional habitats to enhance the extent and value of conservation areas in the Cumberland Plain.

The strategy identifies research priorities in four key themes to support the Cumberland Plain Conservation Plan, though many priorities cut across multiple themes.

CPCP - 4 Key Themes


The 2024 Cumberland Plain Research Grant

Closing: 4 March 2024, 5pm AEDT

Western Sydney University is excited to announce that applications are now open for the 2024 Cumberland Plain Research Grant, supported by the NSW Department of Planning and Environment.

We have $75,000 available for the 2024 Cumberland Plain Research Grant and can offer grants up to $15,000 each.

Your proposal must address at least one of the four research themes:

Theme 1: Supporting Aboriginal connections
Theme 2: Engaging with peoples and cultures
Theme 3: Conserving threatened species and ecosystems
Theme 4: Restoring and reconstructing ecosystems

For further information, please have a look at the Application Guidelines and Form. Please contact Vera Brinkel ( if you have any further questions.


Aboriginal-identified PhD scholarship

Closing 31 January 2024.

Western Sydney University is offering the Yarramundi PhD scholarship to a highly motivated Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander PhD Candidate to contribute to our project. The successful candidate will receive a tax-free stipend of $50,000 (AUD) per annum for up to 3.5 years to support living costs. We are looking for an enthusiastic and skilled PhD candidate to develop a research program addressing knowledge gaps as identified within the draft Research Strategy objective “enhancing Aboriginal knowledges and practices”.

You can find further information about the scholarship and how to apply here (opens in a new window)

Aboriginal-identified Master of Research (MRes) scholarship

Closing 31 January 2024

The Yarramundi Master of Research (MRes) scholarship presents a unique opportunity for highly motivated Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander individuals to contribute to our collaborative research program. The program aims to enhance Aboriginal practices supporting the Cumberland Plain Conservation Plan in Western Sydney. The candidate will participate in projects addressing knowledge gaps in Aboriginal knowledges and practices, focusing on cultural, conservation, and restoration outcomes. The Yarramundi scholarship provides a generous tax-free stipend of AUD$50,000 per annum for up to 2 years, support for additional costs, and mentoring from leading research institutes.

You can find further information about the scholarship and how to apply here (opens in a new window)


Call for research partners

Western Sydney University has been awarded funding to implement the first four years (Stage 1) of research under the program.

The objectives for Stage 1 are:

  • Strengthening Aboriginal knowledges and practices
  • Prioritising sites for shared cultural, conservation and restoration values
  • Enhancing the health and resilience of ecosystems
  • Improving management of climate change risks
  • Identifying cost-effective management practices to enhance biodiversity.

We are looking for people to engage, partner and conduct research in collaboration with Western Sydney University and the NSW Department of Planning and Environment

Involved Button


Our People

Program LeadPaul Rymer (opens in a new window)
Supporting Aboriginal connections
Engaging with peoples and culturesNeil Perry (opens in a new window)
Conserving threatened species and ecosystemsPaul Rymer (opens in a new window)
Restoring and reconstructing ecosystemsUffe Nielsen (opens in a new window)
Chief InvestigatorsMatthias Boer (opens in a new window); Yolima Carrillo (opens in a new window)Ben Moore (opens in a new window); Rachael Nolan (opens in a new window); Elise Pendall (opens in a new window); Jeff Powell (opens in a new window); Markus Riegler (opens in a new window); Juan Francisco Salazar Sutil (opens in a new window);
Michael Franklin (opens in a new window)
Research Program Co-ordination, Partnerships, and EngagementVera Brinkel (opens in a new window)
PhD Candidates
Barriers to success in ecological restoration: Soil health promoting ecosystem function and resiliencePaola Raupp
Resilience of biodiversity and ecosystem function in relation to vegetation structure in remnant vegetationCaitlin Dagg
Prioritisation of sites through shared social, cultural and conservation valuesEmmanuel Ugwu
Effect of Elevated Temperatures and Drought Stress on Seed Germination and Functional Traits of Seedlings in the Cumberland PlainChaminda Alahakoon
Enhanced ecosystem functioning of threatened ecological communities of the Cumberland PlainsDylan Bristol

Proudly co-funded by the
NSW Government Department of Planning and Environment
and Western Sydney University

CPCP NSW Govt Logo