People and ecosystems

Understanding of the links between coral reef ecosystems, the goods and services they provide to people, and the wellbeing of human societies.


Ecosystem dynamics: past, present and future

Examining the multi-scale dynamics of reefs, from population dynamics to macroevolution


Responding to a changing world

Advancing the fundamental understanding of the key processes underpinning reef resilience.

Coral Bleaching

Coral Bleaching

Coral Reef Studies

From 2005 to 2022, the main node of the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies was headquartered at James Cook University in Townsville, Queensland (Australia)

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The Australian Department of Education and Training and others report that women are underrepresented at senior levels of academia. The problem is most pronounced in science, technology, engineering, mathematics and medicine (STEMM), although it also exists in the social sciences. Science in Australia Gender Equity (SAGE) is addressing this problem via a program of activities designed to improve gender equity and diversity and the promotion and retention of women. Members of the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies are active participants in the implementation of SAGE’s Athena SWAN pilot program across our four nodes. The pilot program runs training workshops on gender equity and provides gender equity accreditation for participating organisations.

The Centre is committed to improving gender equity and diversity and the promotion and retention of women across our four nodes. To achieve this commitment, the Centre endorsed a policy in 2017 to codify the multiple actions we use to support, encourage and facilitate gender equity and diversity. You can access the Centre’s policy here and below.

Members of the Centre have also formed a Justice Equity Diversity and Inclusion (JEDI) Committee to further promote and works towards gender equity and diversity. You can find out more about the JEDI Committee here.


ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies – Gender Equity Policy


This Policy applies to all positions of employment funded by the Centre.


Recruitment & Retention


All positions within the Centre will be offered with a part‐time option, subject to any constraints relating to visa requirements.

Flexible Terms   

Terms of employment, including full-time or part-time status, will be confirmed at the time the job offer is made and will be included in the employment contract. Job applicants do not need to provide a case for their decision to work full‐time or part‐time.

Amendments to terms  

Applications to amend the terms of employment from part‐time to full‐time or full‐time to part‐time will be actively considered on an individual basis subject to budget considerations and University policies.

Recruitment panels        

All recruitment panels will aim for 50:50 representation of men and women.

Recruitment outcomes 

The Centre will aim for 50:50 recruitment of men and women to research fellowship positions, as specified in our Key Performance Indicators.

Parental leave  

All eligible Centre members are actively encouraged to draw on parental leave when required, subject to each University’s human resources policy.

The Centre member taking parental leave will receive 50% of their normal research allocation during a 6 month full-time or equivalent parental leave, or a prorated allocation for parents who are sharing parental leave.

The employment contracts of Centre members will be extended by the length of their parental leave (up to six months full-time or equivalent), subject to each University’ human resources policy.

Equal pay           

The Centre is committed to equal pay for men and women. This applies to all staff including postdoctoral researchers, tenured positions, professional staff and PhD support for students.

Meetings & Events

Core meetings  

All core Centre meetings will be held between the hours of 10am and 2pm, with specific consideration given to Western Australian participants.


The Centre will attempt to record Centre meetings and seminars and make them available via YouTube, where this is practical.

The Centre will endeavour to arrange child care options for the Centre’s Annual Symposium and Program Retreats.

The Centre will provide financialprofessional development activities of its Women in Science group.

The Centre’s seminar series, Annual Symposium and workshops will aim for an equal gender distribution of speakers and participants.

Annual sponsorship will be provided for at least one woman to attend a research leadership course

Travel support  

Dependent on individual University policies, members with pre-school-age children can apply to the Centre for funding to support at home or on-site child care during conferences, workshops or field trips in Australia.

Research leadership       

Each Research Program will include at least one woman as Program Leader and at least one woman employed at Level D or above.

Workplace Environment


Subject to University policy, children are welcome in the workplace, including on field trips, especially during the School Holidays. Children are also permitted in meetings where practical.

Working from home      

The Centre encourages members with family responsibilities to propose flexible working hours. Subject to University policy, the Centre supports working from home during working hours to accommodate family commitments.

Personal information    

The use of a member’s personal information, such as parental status in reference letters, introductions and press coverage is strongly discouraged. All members must carefully consider the National Privacy Principles and should not disclose personal information.

Social stereotypes           

The Centre recognises that societal, cultural and psychological issues reinforce social stereotypes and affect the status of women in the workplace. All Centre members should be aware of conscious prejudice or unconscious bias in their decision making.


The Centre will monitor the gender process and outcomes of recruitment and promotion, and report on gender balance across its four nodes in its Annual Report.

Other recommendations

Beyond this policy, the Centre will advocate for gender equity for any activity or policy that has implications for Centre members.


As the Centre is a collaboration of a number of Australian Universities, please be aware that University Policy will always override Centre policy where there is inconsistency.

This policy was developed from a policy provided by the ARC Centre of Excellence for All-sky Astrophysics (CAASTRO).


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Coral Reef Studies