UNSW - Science

Dean's Welcome

Professor Merlin Crossley, Dean of Science
Merlin Crossley

We live in amazing times, with the human and natural worlds going through a period of change that is unprecedented for sheer pace and scale. Science and technology have extended the reach of our senses way past the edges of the map of human experience. We can see into the outer reaches of the universe, eavesdrop on events inside a living cell, reach back far into the ancient past and even peer into the future. And we can meet, socialise, swap ideas and trade with other people in virtual communities in virtual worlds. Our capacity for innovation is taking us beyond frontiers we didn't even know existed just a generation ago. This dramatic change is transforming lives, cultures, politics, industries and economies.

Our Faculty aims to be at the leading edge of this exciting revolution. This website showcases just some of the extraordinary breadth, depth and quality of research we carry out. We're proud of what we do and the many contributions we make to advancing human knowledge and wellbeing. Tomorrow's world will need, as never before, a grounding in science that is strong, credible and relevant. We face extraordinary global challenges, particularly in managing environmental degradation, climate change and population pressures. Science holds the key to meeting those challenges and it is from the truly global ranks of scientists that tomorrow's generation of leaders will surely come.

Above all, we value science itself for its power to inform and enlighten: it is one of the most rewarding ways to examine life, to poke it, tease it and become entranced by it. It's a way to delve into its complex mysteries and wrestle them into sensible shapes.

The Faculty of Science consists of nine Schools: Biological, Earth and Environmental Sciences; Biotechnology and Molecular Sciences; Chemistry; Materials Science and Engineering; Mathematics and Statistics; Optometry and Vision Science; Physics; Psychology and Aviation. Our resources include the UNSW Analytical Centre, field research stations at Cowan, Smiths Lake and Fowlers Gap, and we are partners in the beautiful Sydney Institute of Marine Science site on Sydney Harbour at Chowder Bay.

We are the administrative base for the Institute of Environmental Studies and many research centres, including: the Climate Change Research Centre; Evolution and Ecology Research Centre; Centre for Marine Bio-Innovation; Centre for Materials Research in Energy Conversion; the Clive and Vera Ramaciotti Centre for Gene Function Analysis; NSW Injury Risk Management Research Centre (IRMRC); and the Centre for Groundwater Research (jointly with Faculty of Engineering).

We are associated with national Co-operative Research Centres in Environmental Biotechnology; Vision; Spatial Information; Bushfire; Clean Coal; Greenhouse Gas Technologies; and Sustainable Tourism. We are also part of Australian Research Council Centres of Excellence for Mathematical and Statistical Modelling of Complex Systems; Quantum Computer Technology (CQCT); Design in Light Metals; and Functional Nanomaterials. As well, we are part of the National Cooperative Research Infrastructure Scheme and the National Health and Medical Research Council's program in Post-traumatic Mental Health.

About our research

The great breadth of our research reflects the great breadth of talents and interests of our team. We're turning waste plastic into steel, probing the origins of life and the secrets of the universe. We're unlocking chemical mysteries, fixing people's eyesight while they sleep and helping trauma victims rebuild their lives. We're training mathematical wizards to help large corporations keep track of the financial world, we're developing clever molecules and new kinds of antibiotics, and probing the genetics of disease. We're tackling pollution problems, airline safety and workplace hazards.

We have a constant cohort of about 900 research students (39% international), of whom about 750 are studying at PhD level. Our annual research funding income has risen strongly each year with a growth of 21% from 2011 to 2012. Most of these funds are earned through competitive grant schemes, while a significant proportion is contributed by industry and nongovernment sectors (19%). In the 2012 Australian Research Council Discovery Project round, we were awarded 64 grants, with a success rate of 19%. The faculty's publication rate is also rising strongly, from 1,100 HERDC weighted publications in 2008 to over 1,700 in 2012

We welcome your interest, support and participation - as a student, researcher, visitor, alumnus, collaborator or donor - as we journey into a future that promises to be more amazing still.

Professor Merlin Crossley, Dean, UNSW Faculty of Science.