UNSW Sydney has announced new institutes to address humanity’s most pressing challenges, in which the university will invest up to $200m in new and emerging areas.
UNSW Sydney has established four new institutes focused on finding solutions to major scientific and social challenges confronting society through cross-disciplinary research.
The UNSW Futures Institutes are part of the UNSW Futures initiative, a major component of the university’s 2025 Strategy. UNSW Futures provides a framework for facilitating cross-faculty and interdisciplinary work, driving innovative approaches to research, and addressing scientific and social challenges.
As part of the initiative, UNSW will invest up to $200m in new and emerging areas from across faculties. These virtual institutes will receive core funding to support operations, seed-funding for new research projects, and a commitment of funding for Strategic Hires and Retention Program (SHARP) employees.
UNSW President and Vice-Chancellor Professor Ian Jacobs and Deputy Vice-Chancellor Research Professor Nicholas Fisk announced the first four futures institutes last week. The first futures institutes are:
- UNSW Ageing Futures Institute: enabling optimal ageing for individuals and society – led by Professor Kaarin Anstey.
- UNSW Cellular Genomics Futures Institute: inventing technologies to decode individual cell DNA, chromatin, RNA, and protein outputs that will be used for precise diagnosis and precision treatment of human disease – led by Professor Chris Goodnow.
- UNSW Digital Grid Futures Institute: future-proofing global energy systems to ensure reliable, secure, affordable, sustainable energy supply – led by Professor Joe Dong.
- UNSW Materials & Manufacturing Futures Institute: transforming the future of materials and manufacturing research in energy, transport, information technology, and healthcare – initially led by Professor Sean Li pending a definitive appointment.
The university will formally launch the institutes at an event on Wednesday 24 October from 4 – 6pm in John Niland Scientia Building, Leighton Hall. The event will include a brief presentation and panel discussion, followed by an opportunity for networking with futures institute directors and lead investigators.
Professor Fisk said these institutes position UNSW as a big picture visionary university of the future.
“The institutes will enhance UNSW’s focus on innovative interdisciplinary and cross-faculty research that impacts society and policy,” said Professor Fisk. “The institutes build on our existing strengths and will act as a drawcard for international recruitment, government and industry links, while harnessing academic excellence to address humanity’s major challenges.”
A second round of UNSW Futures Institutes applications will open in late 2019.