National research assessment highlights Western’s research impact

Results of the inaugural national Engagement and Impact (EI) assessment have highlighted Western Sydney University’s strengths in translating research into economic, environmental, social and other benefits.

With results that outperformed the sector in both impact and approaches to impact, the University scored the highest possible rating for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander research and 11 case studies across a broad range of disciplines from the humanities, sciences, design and engineering.

Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research and Innovation), Professor Deborah Sweeney commended these excellent results, noting that, “aligned with the University’s outstanding Excellence in Research for Australia (ERA) evaluation, these results confirm our research strengths in disciplines of critical social and economic significance and attest to Western Sydney University’s status as a world-leading research institution.

“These outstanding results affirm Western Sydney University’s reputation as an institution focused on connecting research excellence with real impact on communities locally, nationally and globally.

“As a dynamic and innovative University, our researchers are renowned for bringing fresh perspectives to intractable and emerging problems, developing solutions that are inclusive and codesigned with those beyond the University’s gates,” said Professor Sweeney.

At the two-digit discipline level, EI assessed case studies in the following disciplines as ‘high’:

  • Environmental Sciences
  • Engineering
  • Built Environment and Design
  • Education
  • Commerce, Management, Tourism and Services
  • Studies in Human Society
  • Law and Legal Studies
  • Studies in Creative Arts and Writing
  • Language, Communication and Culture
  • History and Archaeology
  • Philosophy and Religious Studies

Western’s case studies are stories of discovery through research translated into life-changing impact, from facilitating generational knowledge transfer in the Ntaria Aboriginal Community; addressing pollution in underground coal mines; developing smart tools to mitigate risks associated with drinking water and flood disasters; to developing literary voices in Western Sydney.

On the EI assessment’s community impact measures, 43 per cent of studies across the sector were rated ‘high’. Fifty two per cent of Western Sydney University’s case studies were rated ‘high’. Western Sydney University also outperformed the sector on the translation to impact measure, with Western receiving a ‘high’ assessment for 35 per cent of its studies compared to the sector average of 25 per cent.

Undertaken as a companion to the Excellence in Research for Australia (ERA) and as part of the Australian Research Council’s National Innovation and Science Agenda (NISA), the EI assessment was completed during 2018 and aims to create incentives for greater collaboration between universities and industry, as well as other research end-users.


29 March 2019

Emma Sandham, Senior Media Officer