Our research priorities
We seek partners to join us in transforming our ambition into action across four key themes in which we believe we can make the greatest impact:
Improving health and wellbeing
Advances in medical research, technology and information are creating an unprecedented need for effective collaboration between health care professionals and researchers to drive the improvement in health outcomes.
Deakin has one of Australia’s largest health faculties with a wide range of courses delivered at our campuses in Melbourne, Geelong and Western Victoria, and in metropolitan and regional clinical sites.
The five schools, Exercise and Nutrition Sciences, Health and Social Development, Medicine, Nursing and Midwifery, and Psychology, are focused on training work ready graduates who are equipped with the skills and knowledge needed to work in regional and rural settings. Our graduates are making a major contribution to addressing regional workforce shortages in medical and surgical specialties and in general practice.
Only five years after enrolling our first medical students we achieved the highest possible Excellence in Research Australia rating of 5 (‘well above world standard’) in health and medical sciences.
The pioneering research at Deakin is making a difference across the health spectrum, in areas such as ageing and chronic illness, exercise and nutrition sciences, infant and child health, nutrition, disability, social and mental health. We have been at the forefront of amazing breakthroughs in areas such as malaria research, the diagnosis and treatment of autism and the management of diabetes.
Deakin is ideally placed and ready to take on the challenge of tackling some of Australia’s most pressing health concerns.
Designing smarter technologies
Delivering smarter technologies has the potential to significantly enhance quality of life, boost economies, and set the world on a sustainable footing without compromising our way of life. At the same time, some of these technologies create vulnerabilities in systems that need to be protected.
Deakin is at the cutting edge of the development and use of smart technologies in teaching and research. Capitalising on the new technologies, Deakin delivers responsive educational programs wherever students are located geographically; in their learning preparedness; their career trajectory; or life stage.
Our researchers are pioneering solutions to real world problems by harnessing big data and developing innovative technologies to prevent cyber attacks.
Our engineering and IT researchers are providing robotics, simulation modelling and haptics solutions to clients such as the Department of Defence, aerospace, automotive, logistics and health industries.
Deakin is a world leader in carbon fibre and is home to the globally unique, open-access carbon fibre/composite research facility, Carbon Nexus, which is supporting the transition to advanced manufacturing in industries as diverse as aerospace, automotive, defence and construction.
In the field of energy, Deakin has a unique hub of research that spans the areas of materials, energy generation and energy storage integration. Our researchers are making outstanding progress in developing more efficient energy storage systems, including smaller and longer lasting lithium and ion batteries, and high-performance solar panels. One team is working with China’s Dongfang Turbine Company to create more efficient composite materials for wind turbines, while another group is exploring the use of graphene to extract hydrogen from water.
Developing smart technology requires global collaboration and co-creation. Deakin has a strong track record of transforming cutting-edge ideas into real world solutions.
Enabling a sustainable world
In short, sustainability aims to protect our natural environment, human and ecological health, while driving innovation and not compromising our way of life.
Deakin researchers are tackling sustainability from an ecological and technological perspective. They are examining direct environmental issues such as declining agricultural productivity, increased water stress, rising sea levels, risks to human health, threats to ecosystems and biodiversity. They are also focussed on innovations in materials design and performance to tackle complex problems in the areas of energy, health, environment, and manufacturing.
Deakin supports one of the world’s most prestigious environmental and marine science research programs. Our ecologists are helping to protect Australia’s vulnerable flora and fauna from disease, rapid development and climate change. Marine researchers are playing a key role in supporting fishery and conservation management of our marine environments.
In the agricultural sphere, we are designing smarter technologies to solve productivity problems. In consultation with farmers, scientists are developing sophisticated lab-on-a-chip technology to optimise livestock health. Water management advice is also being provided to farmers and rural planners across the nation and internationally, as countries seek new responses to population growth and climate change.
At the international level, researchers at the newly-expanded TERI-Deakin Nanobiotechnology Research Centre in India are working with their colleagues in Australia to develop solutions to global issues such as food security for growing populations in changing climates, sustainable agricultural practices, and environmental sustainability.
Deakin’s unique multidisciplinary approach to enabling a sustainable world is reaping benefits for the environment and humanity.
- Our Blue Carbon Lab focuses on building scientific knowledge about the blue carbon ecosystems, mangroves, salt marshes, and seagrasses, and their importance in reducing greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. Marine researchers want to shed new light on how to harness these ecosystems to reverse or diminish the effects of climate change.
- The global aquaculture industry is being supported by Deakin nutritionists, who are investigating the effect of farmed fish diets on human nutrition. Researchers are investigating the long-term sustainability of feeding fish oil from wild fish, such as sardines and anchovies, to farm fish to provide the long chain fatty acids.
- Deakin’s commitment to the development of regional and rural industries and communities has been reaffirmed through the establishment of the Centre for Regional and Rural Futures. The Centre responds to the problems that industries and communities identify as requiring solutions, not from an agenda set by researchers. For example, researchers are investigating how to coat grain seeds with beneficial microbes to enhance yield and reduce the costs of sowing seeds
Advancing society and culture
Deakin researchers are advancing global understanding within fields of education, economics, commerce, history and philosophy with the aim of addressing the issues that impact human wellbeing, such as intercultural relations, migration, racism, religion, poverty, politics, and governance.
In education, researchers are focusing on equipping young people and adults to live in a globalised, digital world by informing policy across all educational sectors. Education researchers are also helping to lead a major national program that aims to increase the study of science and technology in secondary education, which has been identified as vital for the future competitiveness of Australia.
We are also pioneering Australian research in the new field of applied financial econometrics, which merges the disciplines of finance and econometrics - and is bringing new theory, tools and ways of analysing data to contemporary problems.
The university is an Australian research hub for Middle East cultural and political issues and recently created a Chair in Islamic Studies and Intercultural Dialogue, as well as leading the Australian Intervention Support Hub – a new national centre that aims to counter radicalisation and violent extremism.
Deakin University has the expertise, knowledge and regional networks to address some of the key challenges across the Asia-Pacific, projects range from identifying strategies to improve equity for children and adults with disability, to building ‘Asia Literacy’, to close involvement in the UN’s annual economic and social index for all countries within the region.
Our researchers are working collaboratively across faculties and with world-leading and community-based thought leaders to collectively identify and deliver effective solutions to improve community wellbeing.
- Deakin’s ground-breaking Centre for Humanitarian Leadership, in partnership with Save the Children, delivers education, innovation and research for the humanitarian sector. It is changing the way the world responds to humanitarian crises. The collaborative nature of the centre provides for practitioner rotations to carry out research on specific thematic areas in the humanitarian sector, and facilitates practitioner support including coaching and advice to graduates, partner organisations, researchers and research students.
These four important and interconnecting themes are the guiding principles of every project we undertake. We are breaking down the barriers that constrain older institutions and taking a truly multidisciplinary approach to teaching and research. This multidisciplinary approach is not only at work within the University but also through the development of strategic research and research training partnerships with internationally recognised government and non-government organisations.
Research with a focus on industry
Just a few examples of our research's commercial success include:
- Deakin’s ground-breaking research in autism which has led to the adoption of improved diagnostic and treatment guidelines by the international medical community.
- The production of high-value short nanofibre materials that will be manufactured with commercial partners for domestic and export markets. The potential of these tiny fibres is only just being explored, but already, discoveries in stem cell expansion are set to improve leukaemia treatment across the globe.
- The creation of the life saving OzBot robot by world class specialists at Deakin’s Institute for Intelligent Systems Research and Innovation (IISRI) created the life saving OzBot robot. The OzBot differs from current robots in that the user is immersed in the remote environment using haptics (force feedback) and stereovision. By using haptics, the operator is given a greater sense of connection to the task being undertaken, increasing safety and accuracy. This life saving technology is now being used a growing number of law enforcement agencies around the world to protect operators in many hazardous environments.