Western Sydney University research highlighted among the most impactful in NSW

Two research projects from Western Sydney University have been highlighted in the New South Wales Research Engagement and Impact Showcase publication, launched at the NSW Parliament House this week.

The publication – which highlights the contribution universities and their partners are making to the prosperity and well-being of the state – features 18 case studies from NSW public universities which highlights academic excellence and the translation of research into economic, social, environmental and cultural benefits for NSW and beyond.

Western Sydney University research that focused on addressing aquatic ecosystem pollution from underground coal mines, as well as work led by the University’s Writing & Society Research Centre (WSRC) feature in the publication.

Environmental research by Western Sydney University (WSU), led by Dr Ian Wright from the School of Science and Health, found that wastewater from coal mines in the Sydney Basin was polluting rivers and streams in drinking water catchment areas, national parks and wilderness regions, and that environmental regulations were ineffective in preventing it. The impetus to this research came from community tip offs to the lead researcher regarding river water pollution issues.

Dr Ian Wright from the School of Science and Health 

As a result, NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA) introduced more stringent licence conditions for mines; mine owners upgraded their wastewater treatment technologies; water quality and ecological health of several aquatic systems recovered; and once-strained relations between mining companies and local communities improved.

“We could not have done our research without community involvement. This was integral to each and every stage of the research process. Critically, after the formal research activity ceased, we worked in partnership with the community, industry and government regulators to help improve management of each mine,” said Dr Wright.

The Writing & Society Research Centre (WSRC) at Western Sydney University has nurtured a new generation of writers who have given voice to marginalised young people growing up in Sydney’s culturally diverse but disadvantaged western suburbs. WSRC was identified by CreateNSW as one of the most significant contributors to literary work emerging from Western Sydney.

Professor Anthony Uhlmann, Director of the Writing and Society Research Centre

Aided by prestigious and award-winning writers such as Felicity Castagna, Fiona Wright, Luke Carman and Michael Mohammed Ahmad, WSRC has established a new writing ‘movement’ which is impacting Australia’s social and cultural life, winning major state and national literary awards, benefitting readers (and audiences via stage adaptations) and featuring in education curricula at secondary and tertiary levels. This has also led to the founding of initiatives that nurture emerging young writers of diverse backgrounds, in schools and within the community.

‘We are extremely proud of the work done in this project. A group of writers from Western Sydney began to meet led by Ivor Indyk from our Centre working with Bankstown Youth Development Service (BYDS), and a number of writers from this group then began to work with the Centre. Over a number of years, we have nurtured some important new literary voices who have gone on to win major awards and give back to the communities of western Sydney in many ways. These writers are now major figures in Australian literature,” said Professor Anthony Uhlmann, Director of the Writing and Society Research Centre.


20 September 2019

Emma Sandham, Senior Media Officer