Sally Thompson Photo
Associate Professor Environmental Engineering The University of Western Australia & Editor-in-Chief, The Journal of Hydrology

Sally received her undergraduate degrees (in Environmental Chemistry and Environmental Engineering) from the University of Western Australia.  She worked as an engineering consultant for several years, before starting her PhD with the support of a General Sir John Monash Award at Duke University in 2006.  Upon graduating in 2010, Sally worked as a postdoctoral scholar at Princeton and Purdue Universities.  She was appointed Assistant Professor of Surface Hydrology at the University of California, Berkeley, in 2012, and promoted to Associate Professor with tenure in 2017, at which time she was also appointed the inaugural Claire and Hsieh-Wen Shen Distinguished Research Chair.  Sally began work at the University of Western Australia in 2019.  Sally is also the recipient of the US National Science Foundation CAREER award, the American Geophysical Union Early Career Award in Hydrology, and the European Geophysical Union Jim Dooge Award for "best paper" in Hydrology and Earth System Science.

Presentation synopsis:

Digital Water: A new ecosystem of opportunities for Australian water researchers, managers and industries.

Digital water presents broad opportunities for water scientists and hydrologists in Australia.  What can we learn from the experiences of other organisations, industries, institutions and Governments around the world who have already started to explore these opportunities?  A lot!  I will illustrate some of these learnings by reflecting on variety of experiences in my career so far.  On the small scale, I'll describe how bringing start-ups and NGOs together in India lead to the sharing and design of low-cost sensing and citizen science technologies.  At the other extreme, I'll introduce some of the community platforms produced by US Government laboratories like NCAR, which attempt to facilitate cutting edge approaches like data assimilation, inter-model comparison, and national model benchmarking.  In between, I'll look at how a collaboration between universities who support hydrology programs has enabled some of the nicest data-sharing and data-access platforms for hydrological data I've seen anywhere worldwide, and discuss how partnering with commercial software developers has helped my researc group take our results out of the lab and hopefully to practicing engineers.  I'll finish by considering how Australian professionals can take advantage of existing international resources, and whether there we should be considering the creation of our own digital water tools.