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Building a sustainable future with Indigenous science

Discover how Indigenous knowledge is shaping contemporary science and creating promising career paths

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people have developed and passed down vast bodies of knowledge over tens of thousands of years, drawing on their deep connection to the land and its ecosystems. 

Australian universities offer a growing number of courses that delve into Indigenous science and knowledge systems. Graduates can work alongside Indigenous communities, in environmental conservation, sustainable agriculture, and more. 

Today, understanding and applying Indigenous science isn’t just about preserving the past; it’s about building a more sustainable future.

A burning question

How the ancient practice of cultural burning is informing modern fire management

For thousands of years, Indigenous Australians have harnessed the power of fire, using a technique known as cultural burning. These deliberately lit, low-intensity fires clear away dead vegetation, breathe life back into soils, create conditions that help specific plants thrive, and establish diverse habitats that can boost biodiversity. Applying cultural burning today can help us reduce the risk of high intensity bushfires and the carbon emissions that come with them. 

Deadly innovation at Monash University

Monash University’s National Indigenous Innovation Challenge connects researchers with Indigenous communities to develop sustainable solutions in areas like land remediation, traditional agriculture and plant conservation. Six Indigenous groups from across the country joined the 2023 initiative, pitching ideas such as ancient agricultural recovery and apps to tackle antisocial behaviour. The challenge merges traditional knowledge with advanced research and aims to build lasting connections between Monash university and Indigenous communities and organisations.

Science + First Nations + Study

Science + First Nations + Jobs

  • Ecologist: $55K–$82K
  • Healthcare consultant: $56K–$114K
  • Park ranger: $38K–$99K*

* Salaries according to

A version of this article was originally published in Careers with STEM: Science.


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