Go to top of page

Research in Kakadu

Kakadu National Park is a Commonwealth reserve under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act). The reserve includes Aboriginal owned land and is jointly managed by the Director of National Parks and traditional owners of the land in the park. You will need to apply online for a permit and ensure that you read and comply with the Research Guidelines for collaboration between researchers and Bininj/Mungguy (Aboriginal people) of Kakadu National Park to carry out scientific research in the park.

Purpose of the online application form

The online application form can be used to apply to:

  • conduct scientific research in a Commonwealth reserve
  • take native biological material/specimens from a Commonwealth reserve

Depending on the location, nature and the type of research you may need additional permits. More information on permit requirements is located at http://www.environment.gov.au/resource/researchers.

Do not use this form for research in

  • state/territory reserves or waters. Contact the relevant state or territory government agency regarding their application requirements.

Apply well in advance

Kakadu National Park receives a significant number of permit applications and needs to consult traditional owners on all proposed research. Due to this, you will need to submit your application by the dates set out in following table and at least three months before your research is proposed to start. Applications received outside these dates will be considered in the next round.

Submit application by: for research commencing on or after:
1st February 1st May
1st May 1st August
1st August 1st November
1st November 1st February

If you have an existing research permit and need more than the permitted time to complete the research, you will need to reapply for another permit at least 4 weeks before your permit expires.

Application assessment

The assessment process for permit applications includes consulting traditional owners, and takes into account the following factors:

  • the reserve’s research and monitoring priorities – these priorities are in Section 10.12 (page 181 and 182) of the Kakadu National Park Management Plan
  • the usefulness of the research to reserve management
  • whether traditional owner concerns are satisfactorily addressed
  • whether the activity threatens the conservation status of a species or ecological community
  • whether the activity can reasonably be done outside of the reserve
  • the level of impact on the reserve’s natural and cultural sites and values
  • the scientific merit of the activity
  • the level of logistical, community and funding support required from the reserve management
  • ecological sustainability (where applicable)
    Removal of native animals or plants from the wild must be ecologically sustainable (not threaten the species viability in the wild, or threaten rare, restricted or localised populations). Research involving the removal of native species will involve closer scrutiny than where collection of specimens is not required.
  • institutional ethics approval (where applicable)

Animal Ethics Committee approval is required for any research involving death or any form of handling of vertebrate animals. Human and Behavioural Research Ethics Committee clearance is required for any research which may impact upon people. University based researchers will normally seek clearance through their University’s ethical approval procedures. Independent researchers must arrange to obtain comparable ethics approval.

Successful applicants are issued with either a permit or an approval, depending on the management arrangement for the reserve. Unless noted otherwise, the information on permits in this application is the same for approvals.

Consultation with traditional owners

Before completing this application form, please read and be familiar with the Research Guidelines for collaboration between researchers and Bininj/Mungguy (Aboriginal people) of Kakadu National Park. Traditional owners are consulted about all proposed research activities including the activities’ potential benefits to, and impacts on, park management and traditional owners. Successful applicants are required to offer traditional owners opportunities to be involved in the research project. You may need to ensure your research funding encompasses this involvement (e.g. the employment of traditional owners as field assistants or advisors). The Research Guidelines for collaboration between researchers and Bininj/Mungguy (Aboriginal people) of Kakadu National Park can be found at http://www.environment.gov.au/resource/researchers.

Conditions and reporting requirements

Please ensure you and any research participants understand and will be able to meet your obligations under the Kakadu National Park Research Guidelines for collaboration between researchers and Bininj/Mungguy; the permit or approval conditions set out in the next section; and Part 3 and Part 5 of the application form. We will contact you if further permit conditions need to be added following assessment of your application. Failure to abide by these conditions may lead to your permit being suspended or cancelled, or your approval being revoked, and may affect future applications.

To conduct research in a Commonwealth reserve, you will also need to meet certain reporting requirements. Details of these requirements are outlined in Part 3 and Part 5 of this application. For all research conducted in Kakadu National Park, you are required to:

  • provide copies of all reports, scientific publications, data etc arising from the research, and any recommendations for management or future research within 1 month of finalisation or publication; Research data must meet the specified formats and quality standards set out in Research Data Requirements. Please contact the park for further details;
  • provide a brief overview of park related research outcomes after each major project milestone, and within 3 months of completing the research. This can be a plain English pictorial report and/or a short film. Short films are preferred because they offer a visual perspective of the research that can be made available to relevant traditional owners and park staff. Please contact the park for examples;
  • provide a list of all specimens taken in the course of the permit or approval, including the name of the organism/sample, location, date and quantity of each specimen taken at each location as soon as possible, and no later than one (1) month after the date of expiry of the permit;
  • if collecting samples/specimens:
    • offer duplicate samples of biological material collected to an Australian public institution that is a repository of taxonomic specimens of the same order or genus as those collected, for permanent loan.
    • for any newly described species, the researcher should lodge a specimen with an Australian museum or herbarium of the state or territory in which the species was found, or with an Australian museum or herbarium that is the leading authority on the genus; or
    • provide a detailed list geological specimens, if applicable, including numbers and sizes of all specimens collected, with accurate location details.

Work health and safety

The Director of National Parks ('the Director') is committed to and has an obligation under the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 to provide and maintain a safe and healthy workplace for all of its employees and visitors. It is a permit condition that you take all reasonable steps to ensure the safety of your team when conducting research, and ensure that your activities do not adversely affect the health and safety of others.

In the application you must specify measures you will take to minimise risks to safety, for example having protective equipment or an emergency plan. You must also attach a copy of your institutions’ safety procedures/risk assessment plan (if any) or complete and return the Risk assessment for remote fieldwork template provided by the reserve (if applicable).

Further information

If you would like further information, you can find out more by:

Apply Register