Research strategy and framework

Research strategy and framework

Macquarie University has established an enviable reputation for research excellence, despite our founding only 50 years ago.

Our strategic research framework, World-Leading Research; World-Changing Impact, charts an exciting course for our research over the next 10 years and is aimed at accelerating and propelling our research performance to even greater heights.

The framework identifies four key objectives that will guide our research in areas where we’ll have the most impact and where the need for research and discovery is greatest.

Our Objectives

Accelerate world-leading research performance

  • Increase the number and proportion of research staff
  • Build on disciplinary areas of current and emerging research, and enhance cross-disciplinary capability
  • Grow external research investment
  • Improve policies, processes and systems that support research excellence and integrity
  • Secure world-leading research infrastructure, facilities and equipment

Prepare world-ready higher degree research candidates

  • Attract high-potential higher degree research candidates
  • Provide outstanding supervisory expertise and mentoring
  • Embed higher degree research candidates in areas of current and emerging strength
  • Provide opportunities for career-enhancing exposure to industry and the community
  • Provide internationally aligned degrees with global relevance
  • Provide enriching experiences and enabling facilities, policies and processes

Engage as a world-recognised research collaborator of choice

  • Pursue local, national and international partnerships to complement and enhance areas of current and emerging research strength
  • Build mutually beneficial and authentic collaborations
  • Pursue shared goals with end users to maximise delivery of solutions and return on investment
  • Practice efficient and effective facilitation of research collaborations

Deliver research with world-changing impact

  • Strengthen basic research capability to drive discovery and underpin innovation
  • Optimise the opportunities for inquiry across disciplines
  • Foster an environment that facilitates and values diverse forms of knowledge creation, application and practice
  • Conduct research that addresses challenges and delivers significant benefits

The challenges faced by the world today are complex and interrelated. They require bold thinking and the discovery and application of new knowledge. As part of Macquarie’s ongoing commitment to achieving research excellence with impact, we have identified five research priorities that provide a focal point for our cross-disciplinary research. 

These priorities will ensure that our research and innovation responds effectively to current and future local, national and global challenges.

Our future-shaping research priorities

Healthy people

Improving emotional health

Professor Jennifer Hudson, Australian Research Council Future Fellow and Centre for Emotional Health director, along with her team, is working to stamp out childhood anxiety. Through international collaboration with more than 15 different institutions and anxiety clinics around the world, her team is creating tailored, individualised treatment forchildren and young people with anxiety disorders.

“If we can improve the emotional health of young people, then we can have an impact on individuals across their lifespan – improving their life satisfaction, their happiness and their emotional health,” Hudson says.

Our Healthy people future-shaping research priority focuses on the themes of pioneering health, integrated healthcare and lifelong learning for wellness in our ageing world.

  • Pedagogies for health and lifelong learning

Unites researchers who develop and use technologies to create and deliver learning resources and interventions in areas such as mental health, rehabilitation, business, mathematics, science, literacy, speech and communication.

  • Health and resilience

Helps to identify markers of poor emotional and physical health and to develop targeted interventions to promote and sustain emotional and physical wellbeing. This includes enhancing the productivity and sustainability of healthcare systems to support national wellbeing.

  • Translational medical research

Determines the fundamental origins of diseases – at molecular, cellular and systems levels – and then translates these insights into real clinical solutions for diagnosis, prognosis and treatment.

  • Sensory and cognitive processing

Seeks to understand our neural and cognitive mechanisms so that we are able to develop strategies to improve our interpretation and response to the world around us.

  • Hearing, language and literacy

Explores the processes of hearing, language and literacy acquisition and advances in language and literacy across contexts and cultures, providing insight into ways in which people express, and learn to express, their meanings and intentions effectively. This informs the design of evidence-based strategies for education, training and clinical intervention.

Resilient societies

Supporting surgical innovation

Australian Research Council Future Fellow Professor Wendy Rogers is on a mission to make surgery safer for patients around the world. Her team developed the Macquarie Surgery Innovation Identification Tool (MSIIT) – a checklist that identifies how much a surgical intervention differs from usual practice. If it meets a certain threshold, the tool triggers support to make it safer for the patient.

“My grand plan is to use the conceptual tools from moral philosophy and ethics to identify and understand practical issues in healthcare and to try to resolve them in ways that make healthcare safer and better for people,” Rogers says.

Our Resilient societies future-shaping research priority focuses on understanding cultures in our changing world and building ethical, just and inclusive communities.

  • Societal transformation

Seeks to understand the impact of transformation on societies at global, national and local levels while also exploring the impacts of societal transformation on people’s identities, intimate and family lives and their perceptions of their place and role in society.

  • Modes of communication

Undertakes linguistic and historical research on ancient to contemporary languages, and the oral, written and material transmission and interpretation of cultural traditions. Researchers also investigate how people generate, interact and engage with creative writing and performance in contemporary environments.

  • Ethics, governance and justice

Explores the normative and practical foundations of ethics, the law, governance and regulatory structures, including human rights regimes and other mechanisms of global governance, together with the impact of scientific, technological and environmental change on ethical and legal norms, practices and institutions.

Prosperous economies

Modelling electricity prices

Professor Stefan Trueck, co-director at the Centre for Financial Risk, wants to keep utility prices reasonable in Australia. He creates statistical or econometrical models to forecast the price behaviour of electricity. This is particularly important for large customers such as retailers who buy electricity on exchange and could be at risk because of extreme price fluctuations. His models help hedge those risks.

“I want to do things that help people, help the economy and help financial markets to achieve better outcomes,” Trueck says.

Our Prosperous economies future-shaping research priority focuses on strengthening economic productivity to promote prosperity in our diverse world.

  • Role, operation and risks in global financial and economic systems

Explores how financial and economic systems operate given their increasing importance in world affairs and geopolitics, and explores the human factors in finance, financial decision making and financial sustainability.

  • Organisation sustainability, productivity and competitiveness

Explores the impact of technology, changing work patterns, new products and services, as well as increasing competition and changing power structures in the global economy. Focuses on Australia’s role in the dynamic socioeconomic hub of Asia and a future in which Australia’s economic growth can thrive.

Secure planet

Improving our crops

Associate Professor Brian Atwell wants to feed the planet. Conservative estimates show that the Earth’s surface temperature will rise on average 0.9 degrees Celsius over the next century, which could mean disaster for plants that are highly sensitive to their environment. Atwell’s team has found a gene in heat-tolerant strains of rice in northern Australia that allows photosynthesis at higher temperatures, enabling higher productivity of the plant.

“There will be a group of people who have an open mind about using wild plants in Australia to try to improve the 15 or 20 major foods that feed almost everybody on this planet,” Atwell says.

Our Secure planet future-shaping research priority focuses on sustaining our interdependent world and exploring our place in the universe.

  • Living in a changing environment

Explores and understands the environment, including biological, climatic, chemical and physical variation across space and time. With climate change among our greatest environmental, social and economic challenges, we seek to manage risks, reduce vulnerability and promote resilience to its inevitable impacts on human and natural systems.

  •  Exploring planet Earth and beyond

Investigates the constitution and physical properties of major components of our universe. Combines in-depth multidisciplinary knowledge of the internal Earth and the wider cosmos with improved observations, analyses, numerical models and simulations, technology and experiments, to develop knowledge across these fields.

Innovative technologies

Understanding disease

Professor Nicolle Packer is helping in the fight against every disease in humans. In her team’s project, UniCarbKB, data from all over the world come together to understand how sugars attach to the surface of cells and interact to bring about diseases. With the innovative technologies and the informatics needed to analyse data, the project makes it possible to develop new targets and diagnostics for these diseases.

“I truly believe these molecules are important in the way our bodies function and how they stop functioning,” Packer says. “As one of my post-docs has said to me, “It’s all about sugars. It always was and always will be.”

Safeguarding our oyster industry

Professor David Raftos is working to future-proof Australia’s oyster industry. Besides being New South Wales’ largest aquaculture industry, oysters are instrumental in forming estuarine ecosystems, such as that in the Sydney Harbour and the Hawkesbury River. Working with the Australian oyster industry, Raftos’ team discovered a set of genes in oysters that allows them to survive disease and tolerate environmental changes.

“So far, our results are remarkable,” Raftos says. “In just a single generation of breeding using this new technology, we’ve had a 30 per cent improvement in the number of oysters that survive disease outbreaks.”

Our Innovative technologies future-shaping research priority focuses on advancing our interconnected world with frontier technologies, systems, designs and creative practice.

  • Science and engineering technologies for the 21st century

Seeks to develop breakthrough science to invent, and explore the consequences of, the technologies of tomorrow that will provide competitive advantages for our industry partners and equity to global citizens in a rapidly changing world.

  • Big data: Acquisition, analysis, application and assurance

Explores massive scientific datasets and the challenges these data streams present to our ability to assimilate, analyse and evaluate such vast sources of diverse data across multiple research fields.

Use our Facilities, Centres and Groups search tool to find out the centres, facilities and groups for each of the research priorities.

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