Fostering relationships across disciplines and across the community

Published: 19 August 2021
Last edited: 23 August 2021

The University of Wollongong (UOW) Blue Economy projects recognized that building a community based approach requires an investment in relationships. This means that we expended considerable resources in building networks, fostering relationships and giving those relationships time to mature and evolve. This occurred internally, as we got to know the different disciplinary areas that different team members represented within the project. It also involved building collaborations with external partners over time. The most significant demonstration of this the growing role of Aboriginal partners in the research. Aboriginal partners and co-investigators had input into the early stages of the project and over time this relationship grew and evolved to the point that today our partners, the Illawarra Local Aboriginal Land Council, are co-leaders in the project and are co-developing future collaborations with UOW.


Alliance and partnership development
Co-management building
Communication, outreach and awareness building
Education, training and other capacity development activities
Scale of implementation
Phase of solution

Enabling factors

  • Time
  • Regular engagement
  • Active listening
  • Open minds

Lessons learned

Investing time and energy into building relationships is difficult to build into traditional academic and institutional practices. It is important for the relationship to be based on the principles of reciprocity, so that all partners benefit from the exchange of knowledge and information.

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