Western Sydney University currently stands within the Top 100 in the world in “Communication and Media Studies” (QS World University Rankings 2019 - subject areas). Western Sydney University Ranked among top 20 of Australian universities for achievements in the prestigious Australian Research Council major grants. Particularly in the Humanities and Social Sciences, in ICS continued to lead nationally in the Excellence Research Australia (ERA), 2018.

The latest results from the State of Australian University Research 2018–19: ERA National Report  reinforce the leading position of ICS across its research programs, particularly in our strengths around four FoR codes. We have achieved “Above world standard” consistently for Human Geography, Sociology, and Communication and Media Studies. Most notably, Cultural Studies has achieved the highest “Well above world standard” rating.

  • 2002 Cultural Studies 5 - well above world standard rating
  • 1604 Human Geography 4 - above world standard rating
  • 1608 Sociology 4 - above world standard rating
  • 2001 Communication and Media Studies 4 - above world standard rating

Moreover, the results from the first ARC Engagement and Impact Assessment confirm the assumptions of our “engaged research” model: of the 23 impact case studies and 21 engagement narratives submitted by Western Sydney University, four were projects led by ICS researchers and School-based ICS members. Of these, two received maximum distinction across the three criteria, engagement, impact and approach to impact. The Circles of Sustainability: Providing Practical Tools for Creating Sustainable Cities project, led by Paul James, with Liam Magee and Juan Francisco Salazar; and Young and Resilient: Transforming research, policy and practice to maximise the benefits of digital technologies for young people, led by Amanda Third, with Philippa Collin and Teresa Swift. Two other projects also scored high distinctions in impact and approach to impact: Empowering museums and science centres as change agents in global climate change Interventions, led by Fiona Cameron, with Brett NeilsonBob Hodge, Juan Francisco Salazar, and Ben Dibley; and Aboriginal Community capacity building: Facilitating generational knowledge transfer through engagement with the Strehlow Collection, led by Hart Cohen, with Rachel Morley (SHCA), and Juan Francisco Salazar.

Research Impact

The Institute for Culture and Society is the largest dedicated research concentration of its kind in Australia and it holds a strong commitment to making a positive difference in the world through engaged research. We aim to carry out innovative interdisciplinary research into continuities and transformations in culture and society in a way that contributes to understanding and shaping contemporary local and global life: research with impact.

We are delighted that the work of Western Sydney University has been recognised by the Times Higher Education (THE) University Impact Rankings with a number one ranking in 2022 and 2023.


In particular, the Institute is proud of the work we have done which directly contributed to our outstanding ranking overall and in specific SDG categories.

1st Worldwide for SDG17: Partnerships for the Goals: Circles of Sustainability - assessing sustainability and managing projects directed as socially sustainable outcomes throughout the world

1st Worldwide for SDG5: Gender Equity: Exposing Housing Insecurity - Single, older women are one of Australia's fastest-growing groups of homeless people. First-hand accounts from these women are being used to lobby for change in tenancy laws.

2nd Worldwide for SDG15: Life on Land: Learning the tactics of Indigenous burning for better land management - Indigenous people have practised cool burns for tens of thousands of years. Jessica Weir has been documenting the cultural practices and intimate knowledge of Australian Aboriginal people with fire to better understand how to manage bushfires.

5th Worldwide for SDG11: Sustainable Cities and Communities: Building custodianship of Antarctica - Five key cities surrounding Antarctica are officially recognised as gateways to the continent: Christchurch in New Zealand, Puntas Arenas in Chile, Ushuaia in Argentina, Cape Town in South Africa, and Hobart in Australia. The project sought to provide tools to unite gateway cities into a cooperative network, and the cities' youth were recruited to lead the initiative.


Some further examples of our research with impact are profiled below:

  • Children's Rights in the Digital Age: ensuring that young people's rights are heard and considered in global policy making forums
  • Community Economies Research: rethinking the economy to place value on diverse activities and prepare international communities to face current economic and social challenges
  • Community Land Trusts: creating new affordable housing options to help address Australia's current gap of affordable and sustainable housing for moderate income earners
  • Rethinking Multiculturalism/Reassessing Multicultural Education: shedding light on the challenges posed by increasing cultural complexity in schools and their communities and improving teachers' knowledge so that they can meet the needs of culturally diverse communities
  • Safe and Well Online: using technology to enhance young people's safety and well being online
  • Museums and Climate Change: museums and science centres have been identified as important contributors to global discussions and decision-making on climate change

A green community garden against a backdrop of tall city buildings.The Agro-cité on the outskirts of Paris developed by the EU funded R-URBAN project with occasional input from Community Economies Research Network members.

Partner with ICS

If you would like to collaborate with us or find out more about what we can offer you, please get in touch with our Senior Business Development Officer - Sally Byrnes - using the details below.

Phone: +61 421 320 441

Facebook (opens in a new window)
Twitter (opens in a new window)
LinkedIn (opens in a new window)