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Barbara Hardy: The Barbara Hardy Institute

Dr Barbara Hardy AO has led an exemplary public life of advocacy and science devoted to the environment. Her environmental activism has focused on communicating ideas, lobbying decision makers, raising funds and educating the community.

The Barbara Hardy Institute


Barbara Hardy has a long and valued association with the University of South Australia. She was a founding board member of its Institute for Sustainable Systems and Technology from 2006 to 2009 and in 2009 became patron of UniSA's Centre for Sustainable Urban Environments: The Barbara Hardy Centre. Its focus was sustainability of cities, conservation of biodiversity and maintenance of the natural processes that sustain life. Its work is underpinned by community participation and education.

In 2011 The Barbara Hardy Institute was formed through the merger of UniSA's Institute for Sustainable Systems and Technologies and the Barbara Hardy Centre for Sustainable Urban Environments. 

One of the ideas Barbara Hardy has embraced is the concept of Citizen Science, where the community participates in scientific projects, enabling extensive data collection. Examples are Uni SA’s census of frogs, possums and blackbirds, promoted through ABC radio 891. The interaction between scientists and the community, each informing the other group, is an interesting outcome of this concept. Community-gathered information, because it represents the voice of the community, can strongly influence the attitudes and behaviour of individuals, leading to the sort of outcomes Barbara Hardy has been working toward all her life.