Sierra Ison is a PhD student at the University of Tasmania in the Centre for Marine Socioecology. Sierra is one of 25 winners of the German Government’s Green Talents Competition, awarded to young researchers identified as having exceptional potential due to their outstanding achievements in promoting sustainability. The Green Talents program is run by Germany’s Federal Ministry of Education and Research and this year’s winners were chosen from 837 applicants from 97 countries.


Sierra, who’s research uses Western Australia’s Northwest Shelf Flatback Turtle Conservation Program to study how to create conservation outcomes in complex stakeholder systems. She was chosen for the award because of her strong interdisciplinary interest and her comprehensive approach, which includes government, industry, and community as partners in building smart integrative solutions for environmental problems. She also said, “The Parliamentary State Secretary presented us with our awards and called us leading young scientists of our world researching relevant and innovative topics which was very exciting for me.”


In October, Sierra spent two weeks visiting German research institutions, universities and organisations concerned with sustainability science and discussing her project with local experts. She saw increased global interest from top quality institutions in Germany to tackle questions that require interdisciplinary research that links the biophysical and socioeconomic disciplines. “The most interesting and relevant experience whilst in Germany was at the United Nations University Institute for Environment and Human Security. We learnt  the value of cognitive concepts, humans values and norms as integral in pushing forward transformative change in achieving global sustainability.”


The award provided Sierra the opportunity to share her research on the North West Shelf Flatback Turtle Conservation Program to a globally community of experts. “It has been good exposure and networking to broaden my knowledge of different avenues I can take in my career as an interdisciplinary scientist and expand my research expertise.”


In 2020 Sierra will return to Germany for three months for a fully funded research stay at an institution of her choice.