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Within the University there are disciplines and specialisations but outside the University there are real challenges that cross over these distinctions. Research at Western Sydney University is organised into four multidisciplinary research themes. Our research themes speak to the history and culture of the University and its communities, providing a shared vision for their future:
The University's research themes are:
Education and Work
Access, Equity and Pathways
Research within our Education and Work theme draws on the population diversity of Western Sydney to underpin research that explores educational access on a global scale. This research theme supports individuals and communities in achieving their economic, social and cultural aspirations through education.
Our research is concerned with the potential for education to transform the way people live and learn. Education needs to be responsive and inclusive, especially in times increasingly being influenced by rapid social, economic and technological change. Research in this theme draws together researchers from across our Schools and Institutes. The School of Education’s Centre for Educational Research brings together researchers with a long history of engagement with educational institutions and schools across Western Sydney and beyond. Through Western’s MARCS Institute, in collaboration with the School of Social Sciences and Psychology, the School of Education, and the School of Nursing and Midwifery, we promote improved early childhood learning, focussing on the building blocks of speech and language learning. The critical need for improved outcomes in STEM connects researchers across the School of Education, MARCS, and the School of Computing, Engineering and Mathematics, among others.
See Education and Work for more information.
Environment and Sustainability
Climate, Agriculture and Liveability
Western’s campuses range across both Sydney’s second CBD, Parramatta, and its remaining agricultural areas. Our campuses are living labs for innovation and collaboration through local, national and global research partnerships. While the University’s neighbourhood gives it a unique perspective on the interdependence of urban and agricultural systems, our research extends beyond the region and is oriented to finding novel responses to the grand challenges and impacts of global environmental change.
Research within our Environment and Sustainability theme is wide-ranging, applied and interdisciplinary, and concentrates on sustaining and managing diverse urban, agricultural and natural systems. Sustainability is a key focus of research across several units in the University, including the School of Education, the School of Computing, Engineering and Mathematics, the School of Science and Health, and the Institute for Culture and Society, among others.
Our research expertise within this theme relies on insights from the life and ecological sciences, as well as sociology, sustainable development, social ecology, environmental humanities, design, engineering, green IT, public health, education, law and economics.
See Environment and Sustainability for more information.
Health and Wellbeing
Translation, Integration and Innovation
Research within the Health and Wellbeing theme explores how health initiatives can prevent disease and illness, encourage healthy lifestyles in individuals and communities, and reduce the cost and impact of illness. We take an integrated approach to health research. The environments in which we live, the cultural background from which we come, and the work we do all affect our physical and mental wellbeing.
And, despite continuous improvements in medicine and medical care, the need for this healthcare is growing. One in four children are overweight or obese. While the amount of Australians smoking has halved since 1991, 12.8% of Australians still smoke. Almost one in five people consume alcohol in such a way that it puts them at risk of an alcohol-related disease or injury. Health and wellbeing are linked. Our effective, research-led interventions focus on the complex factors contributing to health outcomes.
See Health and Wellbeing for more information.
Urban Living Futures and Society
People, Culture, Economy and the Built Environment
Research within our Urban Living Futures and Society theme examines the complex cultural, social, economic, psychological, and environmental forces that are shaping our cities. Our researchers approach change through the lens of urban living, seeking to understand the connections between key fields such as health, economies, culture and technology.
Our current and expanding interdisciplinary research expertise in urban planning, the digital humanities, infrastructure engineering, innovation networks, business support, social cohesion, the law, governance frameworks, cultural studies and globalisation serve our communities world-wide as they adapt to urban change.
See Urban Living Futures and Society for more information.