Research Theme Program

About the Program

Established in 2016, the purpose of the Research Theme Program is twofold:

  1. To facilitate new research networks among Western Sydney University academics outside traditional discipline boundaries.
  2. Be the support-system for our researchers to connect with industry and government organisations that seek science-based, relevant, and progressive solutions.

The goal of the Research Theme Program is to assist with finding solutions that help resolve complex problems. To reach this goal, all activities of the Program adopt a transdisciplinary approach that embraces systems-thinking.

The Program spans four themes that amalgamate the disciplines from across the University and align with internationally recognised strengths, National Research Priorities, and the future of Western Sydney. The themes are complementary, intersecting, and orientate our research to achieve impact and positive change for our partners.

Professor Sebastian Pfautsch coordinates the Program.

Want to get in touch?

For general inquiries about the Program, please email us. You can also reach out directly to the Research Theme Champions by visiting their profile pages.

The 4 Research Themes

The Research Themes run through our schools, institutes, and centres, activating our research in community- and industry-relevant contexts across the broader Western Sydney region, but also nationally and internationally.

Priority Areas

Amplifying the trans-disciplinary character of the Research Theme Program, two Priority Areas exist that interlink all four Research Themes. The Priority Areas are selected by the Research Theme Champions and Fellows in response to contemporary discourses in society, planetary health, and technological innovation. The Priority Areas are selected every two years.

For the years 2022 and 2023, the Priority Areas are:

The Research Theme Champions & Fellows

Each Theme is represented by two Champions and one Fellow. These prestigious positions are filled during a competitive process, ensuring academics of the highest quality and integrity drive the Research Theme Program. The term for Champions is 2 years, while that for Fellows is 4 years. Together, the Champions and Fellow of each Research Theme deliver inward- and outward-facing opportunities for academics beyond their own fields of expertise.

Meet the Research Theme Champions & Fellows


The Research Theme Program offers a range of opportunities – from industry forums to seed funding for research projects, to networking events.

Learn about Research Theme Opportunities

Up For Research Podcast

The Research Theme Program is producing the podcast series, Up For Research. Hosted by Sebastian Pfautsch, each episode features one or more Western academics and their research. Both informative and fun, you can learn more about the diverse and important work of researchers at our University. Episodes can be downloaded or streamed directly.

Listen to Up For Research


Research Theme Capacity Maps

These maps highlight key areas of research strength at Western related to each of the Research Themes.

Metro Precinct Capacity Maps

Each map presents a compact display of key research capacities and fields of inquiry for our metropolitan campuses.