Issue Six

Forging ahead in the time of Coronavirus

Welcome to the sixth edition of Future Makers. We are delighted to share with you that Western Sydney University has been ranked number one worldwide in the 2022 Times Higher Education University Impact Rankings, in recognition of our social, ecological and economic impact. This significant achievement further enhances Western Sydney University’s international reputation as an impact-driven, globally-engaged, and research-led institution.

The profound societal effects of the COVID-19 pandemic have undoubtedly presented challenges and opportunities for researchers globally. At a local level, the COVID-19 Delta outbreak in the second half of 2021 had significant psychological, social and financial impacts in Greater Western Sydney, home to one of the most culturally and linguistically diverse communities in Australia.

In this issue of Future Makers, we present the University’s collaborative, timely and much-needed research on the COVID-19 pandemic and its enduring effects on communities, locally, nationally and internationally. The commitment of our researchers to excellence and integrity is reflected in their research that delivers tangible solutions to societal issues and is applicable to people’s lives.

Specifically, the stories provide insights into the impact of the pandemic on: pregnant women and the midwives who were with them; people living with intellectual and developmental disabilities; the concerns for LGBTQIA+ people during lockdown; food insecurity during the lockdown period; the effect of school closures on young Australians; digital inclusion to enhance social and economic outlook for families; young people exposed to social isolation; the experiences of families with children placed in hotel quarantine, and; the pandemic’s impact in a range of other scenarios. Our researchers have also investigated the challenges the pandemic has posed on higher education research, teaching and learning. 

We hope these stories of discovery and their recommendations will act as a catalyst for sustained collaboration and global research efforts in responding to not only the COVID-19 pandemic and recovery, but to help communities better prepare for the future. We encourage you to not only read these stories but to also connect with us and work with our researchers to co-create and deliver tangible solutions to the inexorable universal grand challenges with which our researchers are engaging. 

Professor Barney Glover AO
Vice-Chancellor and President 

Professor Deborah Sweeney
Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Vice-President 
(Research, Enterprise and International)

Western’s COVID-19 related research covered a wide range of topics, from food insecurity to the impact of remote learning on students. Cover image: © Sam Falconer.