Next Generation Engagement Project

The Next Generation Engagement Project aims to identify and address the key challenges, knowledge and skills gaps in engagement, social risk management and social license for Australia’s infrastructure sector. 


Community opposition has been a factor in the delay, cancellation or mothballing of more than $20 billion in Australian infrastructure projects over the past decade, so, with an unprecedented $100 billion in infrastructure projects currently under development, The University of Melbourne has embarked on a project to identify and address the key community engagement challenges for infrastructure delivery. We call it the Next Generation Engagement Project.

Together with our partners from across the infrastructure sector, we've started to map these challenges.

We've made some assumptions, raised what we believe are key questions and outlined what we believe are the key next steps to support efficient infrastructure delivery and improved community outcomes - and now we need you input.

You can vote, comment and add your own ideas for each of the topics set out below and for more information you can visit the main site.



  • National Consultation: MEASUREMENT - do we need new measures to support best practice?

    Participants consistently emphasised that the value propositions and evidence bases used to support engagement-related activities need to be better understood and accepted. By researching the theme of MEASUREMENT we would aim to develop better measures and understanding of socio-cultural risks to employ alongside traditional risk measures, supporting sound investment decisions and more accurate contingency pricing. Do you see this as a priority?

  • National Consultation: Does REGULATION AND POLICY need to change for us to achieve better outcomes?

    ‘Regulatory and planning issues’ are seen as the second-most influential contributor to project delays, mothballing or cancellations, closely following ‘stakeholder and community pressure’. Workshop participants saw these issues as closely intertwined and cited policy uncertainty and election cycles as critical factors in triggering ‘declare and defend’ mode. Through future Next Generation Engagement research we would aim to achieve REGULATION AND POLICY that is efficient and supports the integration of best practice community engagement into project selection, planning and delivery, to a similar degree as safety (in-reach). Would this help you to achieve better results for communities and your projects? Take a look at the detail and let us know what you think.

  • National Consultation: Would PROFESSIONALISATION of engagement as a discipline be a game changer?

    Work related to this theme will offer evidence, curriculum development, education and training to achieve recognition of community engagement as a profession, supported by tertiary and other qualifications and a rigorous evidence base to support decision making. Is this important to you? Let us know.

  • National Consultation: Should VALUE be a top research priority?

    After meeting with hundreds of leaders in infrastructure delivery VALUE has emerged as one of the top priorities for research - both in terms of how we express the value that engagement can deliver and the value we place on engagement and community outcomes. The objective of research in this area would be for community engagement to be better understood and more valued by project proponents and policymakers, including its potential to contribute to community resilience and to realise broader project and community benefits (outreach). Take a look at the key challenges, opportunities and questions that your colleagues have nominated in this theme and tell us what you think.

  • National Consultation: Are TIMING AND APPROACHES a key engagement knowledge gap?

    After meeting with hundreds of leaders in infrastructure delivery TIMING AND APPROACHES has emerged as one of the top priorities for research. Through this research we aim to align community engagement approaches and timing with project types and risks, supporting the incorporation of community engagement into business case assessment and contingency pricing. Take a look at the detailed challenges, opportunities and priority questions for this topic. Would answering these questions help improve community and project outcomes?

  • There are no previous challenges