Global leaders in research
Our international standing is underpinned by world-class researchers. Each year, our researchers are recognised for outstanding achievement.
Our leaders in health and medical research
Laureate Professor Robert Sanson-Fisher is an internationally recognised cancer care and health behaviour expert. His latest ground-breaking research aims to reshape thinking surrounding death and chronic illness, so that end-of-life preparations are as thorough as preparing for the birth of a child.
Laureate Professor Aitken is a global authority on reproductive biology. Supported by funding from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the Australian National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC), his research offers a solution to unsustainable population growth.
Professor Nick Talley is a neurogastroenterologist, a specialist in unexplained gut disorders affecting nerves and muscles such as irritable bowel syndrome, severe indigestion and slow stomach emptying, conditions which affect millions of people.
Immunology / Asthma
Professor Paul Foster and Conjoint Professor Peter Gibson, co-Directors of the University’s
Priority Research Centre for Asthma and Respiratory Diseases, lead highly
talented teams of scientists and doctors who integrate the latest advances in
laboratory technology to understand and manage the treatment of chronic airway
conditions and respiratory diseases such as asthma.
» Paul's research profile » Peter's research profile
Oncology - Breast Cancer
Professor John Forbes AM is an internationally renowned researcher in the field of breast cancer prevention and treatment, with a number of pioneering breakthroughs credited with saving millions of women's lives over his 40 year career.
Human Movement and Sports Science
Professor Ron Plotnikoff is Director of the Priority Research Centre for Physical Activity and Nutrition which has an interdisciplinary approach to understanding physical activity and nutrition relating to population health strategies for chronic disease prevention, treatment and wellbeing.
Information Based Medicine
Geneticist Professor Rodney Scott and computer
scientist Professor Pablo Moscato are
co-Directors of the University of Newcastle’s Priority Research Centre for Bioinformatics,
Biomarker Discovery and Information-Based Medicine. This successful collaboration between two
internationally renowned researchers is using medical science and computer
analysis to unlock the mysteries of cancer and other diseases.
» Rodney's research profile » Pablo's research profile
Neurosciences - Stroke
Working on eight ground-breaking research projects, internationally renowned researcher Conjoint Professor Chris Levi is on a medical mission to cure stroke.
Our leaders in science and engineering research
Experimental mathematics and π (Pi)
A pioneer of experimental mathematics, Professor Borwein's work as the Director of the Priority Research Centre for Computer-Assisted Research Mathematics and its Applications (CARMA) has placed the University at the cutting edge of this field.
Laureate Professor Scott Sloan is the Director of the University's Centre for Geotechnical and Materials Modelling and also leads the ARC Centre of Excellence in Geotechnical Science and Engineering. A Fellow of the Australian Academy of Science, Professor Sloan is an expert in soil stability analysis.
Professor Rob Melchers’ research on marine corrosion is leading the way towards safer, more resilient offshore engineering and construction. The corrosion of steel in marine environments is a big issue for the water industry worldwide, in particular the corrosion of mooring chains and wire rope for offshore platforms.
Medicinal and Organic Chemistry
Professor Adam McCluskey is the Director of the University of Newcastle’s Priority Research Centre for Chemical Biology. He is involved in research resulting in four key drug discovery areas being pursued: epilepsy, kidney disease, cancer, and anti-viral.
ARC Fellow Professor Reza Moheimani's research includes developing nanotechnology capable of creating maximum memory on the smallest piece of technology, allowing people to carry huge amounts of information on a tiny portable device.
Protecting information – cryptography
In a digital age where information privacy is key, Associate Professor Sarah Johnson is developing next generation quantum key distribution (QKD) technology which has the potential to protect companies from espionage attacks and guard a country against cyber-terrorism.
Our leaders in energy and environment research
Mineral Separation Process (The Jameson Cell)
Laureate Professor Graeme Jameson is a chemical engineer and inventor of the Jameson Cell, a revolutionary mineral processing technology that contributes more than three billion dollars to the national economy every year.
Clean and Renewable Energy
Chemical engineers Professor Behdad Moghtaderi and Dr Elham Doroodchi are driven by a desire to develop technologies to help reduce greenhouse emissions. Developed in conjunction with Granite Power Ltd, GRANEX is an emission-free engine that turns heat from low-grade sources into electricity. Professor Moghtaderi and his research team are currently delivering safe, new methods of managing Ventilation Air Methane generated by underground coal mines.
Mineral Separation Process (Reflux Classifier)
Professor Kevin Galvin developed the Reflux Classifier, an industrial machine that separates fine particles on the basis of either density or size, saving the global mining and minerals processing industry billions of dollars.
Designing revolutionary innovations such as solar paint and needle-free glucose tests has put Professor Paul Dastoor at the forefront of the emerging field of organic electronics. His advances are set to improve the environment and lives of communities around the world.
Biologist Professor Chris Grof's love of plants has developed into a quest to engineer a viable biofuel that could reduce Australians' reliance on fossil fuels. Director of the Centre for Plant Science, Professor Grof has taken a lead role in a research project to develop sorghum as a biofuel.
Bulk solids (materials) handling
With a global reputation as an authority on pneumatic conveying and bulk solids handling, Engineering Professor Mark Jones and his team have delivered more than 3,500 bulk solids handling projects for over 1,000 companies across 40 countries.
Material engineers Professor Erich Kisi and Dr Heber Sugo have received $515,000 from the Australian Solar Institute to create a new device that converts solar energy directly into electricity. Working with materials at much higher temperatures than their European and North American colleagues, Sugo and Kisi's research produces a more efficient conversion of heat into electricity, thereby reducing production and environmental costs.
Newcastle Institute for Energy and Resources
Dr Alan Broadfoot is the Director of the world-class Newcastle Institute for Energy and Resources (NIER), established to address rapidly emerging issues in the energy and resources sector. Providing practical and viable benefits to industry, the community and the economy, NIER is advancing research in clean energy production, energy efficiency and the minimisation of carbon emissions through its research.
Our leaders in humanities research
Professor Jennifer Gore is driven by the goal of improving teaching and teacher education for the benefit of students in all schools. She was a key member of the research team that generated the concept of Productive Pedagogy and co-authored the NSW model of pedagogy, known as Quality Teaching. She is currently leading a study looking at how children’s career aspirations are formed in the middle years of schooling.
Professor Mel Gray is a pioneer and champion of culturally-relevant social work education, research and practice. Her more recent research examines the role that research plays in improving the delivery of human services, for example how, and how effectively, is evidence-based knowledge transferred from researchers to social workers and human services practitioners, and implemented in practice.
Design and Visual Communication
Professor Mario Minichiello is a world-renowned designer, illustrator, artist and academic professor with a reputation for innovation, taking risks and developing different ways of thinking. He is committed to developing a better understanding of the role of drawing as both a language for art and design practice, and as a means of thinking and researching social and personal issues.
Richard Vella has a diverse output including works for orchestra, large
ensemble, choir, film, chamber music, burlesque cabaret, music theatre,
site-specific performances and popular music genres. Many of his works are now recognised as set
repertoire such as his ‘Tango’ for clarinet, and the guitar solos ‘Between
Earth and Air’ and ‘Mirrors of Fire’.
Church music and chamber choir
As an organist, composer and choral director, Dr Philip Matthias led the University of Newcastle’s Chamber Choir to a win in the Battle of the Choirs national television series in 2008. He is now developing a repertoire of liturgical music that is uniquely Australian, including Indigenous music.
Dr Gillian Arrighi is interested in the circus, the role of children in the entertainment industry, and the arts/health nexus, particularly the impact creative engagement has on everyday life. Her research investigates the social significance of the growth of community-based circus and circus skills groups since the 1970s.
Early Modern Women’s Writing
Dr Patricia Pender is a co-founder of the Early Modern Women’s Research Network which has continued to gain momentum and global recognition since its inception in 2007. Dr Pender’s research challenges and refines categories of authorship that have been defined in almost exclusively masculine terms.
Dr Kit Messham-Muir examines the ways in which interpretive practices in galleries and museums impact upon visitors' experiences, particularly by evoking memory and emotion. A current research project, 'Teaching and Learning for the Net Generation', focuses on socially disadvantaged students and considers the way technology impacts students' approaches to knowledge, learning and assessment.
Our leaders in business and law research
A Fellow of the Australian and New Zealand Academy of Management, Professor Richard Dunford’s research interests lie in the in the areas of strategic management, organisational design, organisational change and organisational discourse, with a particular focus on innovative business models and new organisational forms.
Employment and Equity
Professor Bill Mitchell, a world-renowned expert on employment and equity, is the Director of the University’s Centre of Full Employment and Equity (CofFEE). Established in 1998, CofFEE promotes research aimed at restoring full employment and achieving an economy that delivers equitable outcomes, particularly for the disadvantaged.
Business and international institutions
Professor Gordon Boyce is a recognised authority on institutional and organisational performance in an international context, with specific reference to systems that support organisational decision-making, negotiating, and inter-firm learning. His research addresses a series of inter-related themes surrounding information theory and the economics of information.
Professor Ted Wright holds the Belle Wiese Chair of Legal Ethics at the University of Newcastle. He has undertaken research on behalf of the Law Council of Australia, the Attorney-General's departments of the Commonwealth, NSW, Queensland and Victoria, the Legal Aid Commission of NSW, the Queensland Criminal Justice Commission (now the Crime and Misconduct Commission), Queensland Legal Services Commissioner, Motor Accidents Authority of NSW, County Court of Victoria, and NRMA Insurance (now IAG).
Professor Alison Dean has two major areas of research interest. The first is service marketing and management, which includes customer loyalty, consumer participation in service delivery, co-created value, and service quality. Her second area of research interest is pedagogy in business courses, with special emphasis on graduate attributes, and assessment.
Internationally-renowned organisational behaviour expert, Associate Professor Rebecca Mitchell is helping to form a new generation of interprofessional healthcare teams.
Dr Paul Docherty’s research interests lie in empirical finance and capital markets, focusing primarily on asset pricing. He collaborates extensively with academics from the University of Melbourne and is also undergoing research collaboration with an industry partner, Platypus Asset Management.
Tourism and cultural studies
Dr Patricia Johnson’s research is interdisciplinary and lies within the areas of tourism studies and cultural studies. She maintains an active and interdisciplinary research focus which draws from English literature, cultural studies, sociology, geography, anthropology, gender studies and tourism studies to engage concepts such as the emerging area of cosmopolitanism, liminality, the tourist gaze and cultural capital.
Our leaders in indigenous research
Professor John Maynard's journey began with a desire to piece together a family history and has now seen him become one of the world's most prolific and respected voices on Indigenous history.
Indigenous Enterprise and Entrepreneurship
Professor Dennis Foley researches and teaches across numerous academic fields related to Indigenous Australians, directing his main research focus towards the discipline of Indigenous enterprise and entrepreneurship. He is a member of the Darug Tribal Aboriginal Corporation and Director of both the Mandurah Hunter Indigenous Business Chamber and the NSW Indigenous Chamber of Commerce.
Associate Professor Victoria Haskins is intrigued by domestic service practices and policies and their impact on race relations. A Co-Director of PURAI, the Global Indigenous and Diaspora Research Studies Centre, she was awarded an Australian Research Council Future Fellowship in 2009 to conduct a transnational study of state intervention and Indigenous domestic service in Australia and the United States.
Dr Mark Lock was awarded the largest Discovery Indigenous grant by the Australian Research Council for research into Indigenous health in 2013. A descendant from the Waanguybuwan tribe in NSW, Dr Lock will conduct research into Indigenous health policy in order to improve national policy processes.
Indigenous Reproductive Health
Dr Kym Rae's research is aimed at reducing premature and low birth weight deliveries in Aboriginal communities. She is the program coordinator for both the Scientific research and ArtsHealth Gomeroi gaaynggal program, designed to improve the health outcomes of expectant Aboriginal mothers. Dr Rae is committed to developing research in partnership with Aboriginal people and providing ongoing capacity building opportunities for Aboriginal researchers.