When the Strategic Research Framework 2015-2024 was released in 2014, five future shaping research priorities were defined:
- Healthy people
- Resilient societies
- Prosperous economies
- Secure plant
- Innovative technologies
These themes not only incorporate the world impacting focus our research currently has and will strive to achieve, but the alignment to the goals of sustainability are clear. Utilising the Education for Sustainability framework, an activity was undertaken to map these themes with those defined for sustainability in the curriculum. The result was evident in showing clear alignment to sustainability.
Macquarie University has 65 research centres comprising of world leading researchers, producing world-leading research. Many of these Centres focus on issues pertaining to sustainability, and in particular social sustainability. Only a handful of these centres are included here.
Australian Research Institute for Environment and Sustainability (ARIES)
ARIES is a research, consultancy and education centre that supports change for sustainable development within government, business and the community. 2013 was a particularly busy year for the ARIES team, with the commencement and completion of several projects:
- Habitat Stepping Stones (2013–2014)
A competitive grant received from the NSW Environmental Trust to undertake research and development of an environmental education tool encouraging the residents of Ku-ring-gai to add wildlife-friendly elements to their backyard, balcony, school or community centre. Project website: www.HabitatSteppingStones.org.au.
- Our Place (2013–2014)
A competitive grant received from the Australian Government’s Indigenous Heritage Program to undertake research and development of an online presence for Hornsby Shire Council showcasing Aboriginal stories from the local Hornsby area. ARIES has created three inspiring short films showing Aboriginal elders telling stories that relate to particular locations within the Hornsby Shire, including beautiful footage of rock carvings and paintings that locate the story to the local area.
- Accounting for Energy Efficiency (2011–2013)
A competitive grant from the NSW Office of Environment & Heritage to develop two courses for CPA Australia and one for Macquarie University:
- CPA training for practising accountants who have small-business and personal clients
- CPA training for accountants in large energy users for improving greenhouse gas measurement and reporting
- Macquarie undergraduate and postgraduate units on accounting and reporting for energy efficiency.
This project was successfully completed in 2013 as a partnership between ARIES and the Faculty of Business and Economics.
- Animal Welfare online course development (2011–ongoing)
Direct funded received from the Australian Government Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry to develop an online professional development course about the new Australian Government Animal Welfare Standards & Guidelines, to be delivered publicly and in particular to members of the Zoo and Aquarium Association. The course has been written and developed and is awaiting delivery once the related government legislation is finalised.
- Wildlife Guardians (in design stage)
Direct funding received from the WV Scott Trust to develop a pilot project to assist the Australian Wildlife Conservancy’s reintroduction of endangered species to protected areas of NSW. Productive meetings in 2013 contributed to the project design.
6. ARIES video: Shining a Light on Sustainability
In March 2013 ARIES launched an 18-minute free educational video to introduce the concept of sustainability to the wider international community. By the end of the year it had 7,000 views. The video was also:
- showcased on the front page of the Australian Government’s Learning & Teaching Sustainability website
- featured on the NSW Government’s Education for Sustainability online Professional Learning Hub.
- included in the NSW Office of Environment & Heritage online Energy Teaching Resources / Waste Teaching Resources
- featured in Eco News by the NSW Dept Education & Training
- featured on the TAFE NSW Sustainability Hub
- posted on Facebook by the Commissioner for Environmental Sustainability, Victoria, The Natural Step (Italy), the Australian Marine Environmental Protection Association, The Hapi Sustainable Solutions in Portugal, and The Blue Academy in Belgium.
7. Online course: Sustainability – Get on Board!
This five-hour online course was written and developed by ARIES and will be marketed internationally in 2014.
Centre for the Health Economy
The Macquarie University Centre for the Health Economy (MUCHE) is an applied research centre focused on investigating the Australian health, ageing and disability sectors at the macro level, with particular focus on the interdependencies of the systems with each other, and the broader community.
The primary objective of the Centre is to provide government, business, and not-for-profit organisations with world-leading independent and applied research, which can be used to inform public debate, assist government and business decision-making, and help formulate strategy and policy.
Climate Futures at Macquarie bridges the divide between climate and adaptation research,policy and practice needs, by serving as a hub for interactions between leading climate researchers, governmental decision-makers, non-governmental organisations, businesses and other stakeholders, including vulnerable communities.
Our aim for the Centre is to engage with government and industry partners to develop long term research projects and educational initiatives, building capacity across Macquarie University and beyond.
Centre for Workforce Futures
The Centre for Workforce Futures represents one of the Asia Pacific's leading concentrations of expertise in the fields of: human resource management, employment relations, labour economics, demography, labour law and management strategy. Today's employers, employees, workplace regulators and legislators face very complex workforce challenges. To achieve the best outcomes for individual organisations and for the economy, generally, they need to understand and address a variety of critical issues affecting employee engagement and productivity. These issues include:
- Globalisation, increased competition and migration
- Recruitment, selection and development of employees
- Skill shortages
- Employment relations
- Managing intercultural relationships within and between organisations
- Achieving gender equity
- An ageing workforce
- Work/family balance
- Engaging with social media
- Workplace and workforce development
- Labour supply implications of population pressures on housing, transport and services
All of these modern concerns have a direct and significant impact on employee satisfaction, employer profitability and national competitiveness.
Centre for Environmental Law
The Centre for Environmental Law (CEL)builds on the research strengths and expertise of its academic staff in specific areas including international and comparative law, trade and environment, law of the sea and marine environmental law, water law and governance, sustainable corporate governance and financing, pollution and environmental regulation, Indigenous peoples, customary law and natural resource management, climate change, planning and local government law, natural and cultural heritage.
Risk Frontiers is an independent research centre founded in 1994 to service the specialised needs of local insurance and international reinsurance markets, government agencies, and corporate and utility organisations on rick related issues.
Risk Frontiers’ research and model developments are geared towards:
- Providing tools to promote risk-informed underwriting in relation to natural perils,
- Providing applications of advanced spatial imaging tools and geographical information systems,
- Providing multi-peril Probable Maximum Loss (PML) modelling,
- Providing risk-informed decision making
- Providing an understanding of community vulnerability to natural hazard
- Promotion of the responsible management of risk, and
- Determining the factors which enable and inhibit risk reduction and adaptation at a range of levels