New funding rewards Adelaide machine learning capability and the power of citizen science to boost bushfire management across Australia


Story written by Dr Sarah Keenihan, AIML

Working with collaborators at University of the Sunshine Coast (USC), the Australian Institute for Machine Learning (AIML) at the University of Adelaide will apply data collected through a new citizen science app to help predict the likelihood of bushfires in Australia and minimise their devastating effects. 

The new app is called NOBURN (National Bush Fire Resilience Network), and its development was recently awarded an Australian Government Citizen Science Grant of almost $500,000.  

Professor Javen Shi is Director of Advanced Reasoning and Learning at AIML, and AI lead on the project. 

“Machine learning is a type of AI that can capture complex patterns in data, and make predictions based on what it has learned from previous observations,” said Shi.   

“In this project, the citizen science NOBURN app will give us access to more data that can be used to train the AI.”  

“We are delighted this new grant will allow us to continue our already successful collaboration with USC developing new approaches for bushfire management,” Shi said. 

Professor Shi started working with USC’s Professor Mark Brown in 2019 when they initiated the Smarter Regions Cooperative Research Centre bid.  

“We had a number of ideas for AI innovation and applications in forestry scoped with the stakeholders in the forestry sector,” said Shi.  

“And we’ve already had success working together, creating a winning entry as the Fuel and Fire Risk team in the Data Quest 2020 showcase exploring how collaborative research can help solve the bushfire crisis.”     

Adelaide’s Sunday Mail covered the recent funding as part of their story on strategies for bushfire prevention on June 20 2021. 

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