Institutes, centres and groups

Our schools have established international reputations and formed strong, viable research centres and groups. We are increasing our industry partnerships in the Hunter region and beyond through applied research and development collaborations.

The Faculty has worked towards consolidating research, including multidisciplinary research groups, in order to take advantage of economy of size and the climate of decreasing government funding. This has proven particularly successful in attracting significant external research funding.

Major centres

Newcastle Institute for Energy and Resources

At the Newcastle Institute for Energy and Resources (NIER), multidisciplinary teams are driving productivity and sustainability gains through applied research focused on innovation that is delivering transformational solutions in sectors of national significance.

Priority Research Centres

Brain and Mental Health Research

The Centre for Brain and Mental Health Research (CBMHR) is focused on increasing our understanding of the brain and mind across the lifespan, in the absence and presence of disease. The Centre hosts three platforms for research: Preclinical Neurobiology, Psychological Processes, and Mental and Physical Health.

Complex Dynamic Systems and Control

The Priority Research Centre for Complex Dynamic Systems and Control specialises in design, control and analysis, as well as performance optimisation for complex dynamic systems.

Computer Assisted Research Mathematics and its Applications

The Priority Research Centre for Computer Assisted Research Mathematics and its Applications (CARMA) explores the development of techniques and tools for computer-assisted discovery and data-mining, including mathematical visualisation.

Drug Development

The Priority Research Centre for Drug Development seeks to unravel the causes of disease by identifying crucial biological targets and pioneering the rapid development of novel drugs for the fight against disease.

Frontier Energy Technologies and Utilisation

The Priority Research Centre for Frontier Energy Technologies and Utilisation conducts cutting edge research on emerging energy technologies, with particular focus on the abatement of greenhouse gases, and clean and sustainable energy production.

Grow Up Well

The Priority Research Centre GrowUpWell® focuses on improving child health through discovery and translational research that generates measurable health impacts of significance to our community.

Organic Electronics

The Priority Research Centre for Organic Electronics is focused on the scientific challenges in the development of organic photovoltaics for the next generation of environmentally friendly energy sources, photonics and biosensors.

Reproductive Science

The Priority Research Centre for Reproductive Science conducts research that assists in the molecular understanding of key cellular processes that underpin germ cell differentiation and growth. The Centre is internationally recognised for its contribution to studies of human pregnancy and providing key information on a healthy start to life.

University centres

Australia-China Research Centre for Crop Improvement

The Australia-China Research Centre for Crop Improvement focuses on discovering key genes and biological processes controlling plant development and stress tolerance. Improving crop productivity and stress tolerance is crucial to underpin sustainable agriculture and social stability worldwide, so the Centre develops innovative applications to improve food security and agricultural sustainability by bringing together research teams of international excellence in plant biology.

Family Action Centre

The Family Action Centre (FAC) is a research, teaching and practice centre focused on families and their communities. The Centre has a 30 year track record of innovative, dynamic and enduring work that aims to strengthen family and community wellbeing. The assets and diverse resources of families and communities underpin vibrant, cohesive and resilient societies. The FAC is committed to addressing the factors that affect the health, wellbeing, social and educational paths of families, particularly for those challenged by increasingly complex vulnerabilities.

Global Centre for Environmental Remediation (GCER)

The Global Centre for Environmental Remediation (GCER) aims to safeguard people's social, economic and physical health and wellbeing by developing innovative, cost-effective and sustainable technologies and solutions that reduce the impact of pollutants on the environment.


HunterWiSE is an initiative that establishes mentorship avenues for women in STEM throughout the Hunter region; promoting positive collaboration and sharing of experiences.

Optimal Planning and Operations

The Centre for Optimal Planning and Operations (C-OPT) brings together researchers with expertise in using quantitative methods to develop innovative, customised solutions that help businesses streamline their processes and enhance their decision making.

Plant Science

The Centre for Plant Science is focused on the physiological and molecular mechanisms associated with the regulation of nutrient transport in higher plants.

Space Physics

The Centre for Space Physics examines space weather to better understand its impact on billions of dollars’ worth of spacecraft and related infrastructure.

Urban and Regional Studies

The Centre for Urban and Regional Studies engages in research focused on the complex political, economic, social, cultural and environmental processes and relations transforming cities and regions.

Water Security and Environmental Sustainability

Water controls Australia’s well-being, environmental health and economy. The Centre for Water Security and Environmental Sustainability (CWSES) is a strategic initiative that builds upon research strengths of ERA 5 groups. It brings together key researchers in Civil, Surveying and Environmental Engineering and Earth Sciences.

Water, Climate and Land

The Centre for Water, Climate and Land focuses on understanding and dealing with the impacts of climate variability and change in the Asia-Pacific region. Of particular interest are hydrological extremes and how these may change in the future.


Coastal and Marine Science

The Coastal and Marine Science (CaMS) Research Group is a cross-disciplinary team dedicated to improving the health and sustainability of our coastal and marine environments and the societies that depend upon them. The research spans across urban catchment environments, coastal waterways and lakes to the ocean; extending geographically from tropical to temperate locales.

Cognitive Psychology

Cognitive Psychology takes a broad and integrative approach to understanding mental processes. We have particular strength in mathematical modeling and pursue research that integrates behavioural and neuroscience measures.

Conservation Science

The Conservation Science Research Group at The University of Newcastle consists of a team of internationally recognised experts in biodiversity conservation with project experience in the natural environment and biodiversity; environmental monitoring, restoration ecology, behavioural ecology and cognition, instrumentation and analysis; marine pollution impacts; and sustainable adaptation in agriculture and forestry.

Environment and Climate

The Environment and Climate Research Group conduct internationally significant research in hydrology, climatology, palaeoclimatology and landscape modelling. We develop the science and translate it into information or tools that are useful for industry stakeholders or policy makers.

Environmental Water Science

Our research group study water’s importance to ecosystems and humans, its use and management as a resource, and its modification through contamination and pollution.

Exercise and Sport Science

Research within Exercise and Sport Science is interdisciplinary and diverse. Our research covers topics ranging from improving elite sports performance to the positive effects of exercise for both general and clinical populations.

Food Science

The University of Newcastle’s Food Science Research Group combines active research scientists involved in food, plant and marine science, human nutrition and agribusiness, delivering quality research and research education opportunities of relevance to the sector.

Health and Clinical Psychology

The Health and Clinical Psychology Research Group conducts fundamental and applied research into factors associated with psychological wellbeing and physical health across the lifespan.

Marine Natural Products and Chemical Ecology

Marine Natural Products Chemistry is the study of the structure and chemistry of compounds produced by marine plants and animals such as algae and sponges, and their role in nature.

Medical Physics

The Medical Physics Research Group comprises physicists based within the Radiation Oncology Department, Calvary Mater Newcastle Hospital. We are a member of the Centre for Information Based Medicine, University of Newcastle and Hunter Medical Research Institute. We are closely aligned with the Prostate Cancer Trials Group and the Trans-Tasman Radiation Oncology Group (TROG) which organise and conduct clinical trials throughout Australasia.

Metabolic Research

The Metabolic Research Group comprises academics studying metabolism at the cellular, tissue and body levels. Research focuses on measuring alterations to homeostasis at the cellular level in the case of bacteria and the whole body in relation to responding to external stimuli.

Nanomaterials Research Group

The Nanomaterials Research Group is using advanced materials for application in energy storage, sensing and bioimaging.

Sensory, Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience

Neuroscience in the School of Psychology embraces contemporary questions in sensory, cognitive and affective function in human and animal models of brain and behaviour.

Social and Organisational Psychology

The Social and Organisational Psychology research group employ a variety of quantitative and qualitative methods in the field and in the laboratory to investigate complex psychological relationships between individuals, groups, and cultures.

Surface and Nanoscience

Our primary research focus is on the modelling and analysis of the structure of the surface of solids, from the surface atomic layer through to the bulk.

Tectonics and Earth Resources

Our research examines the lithospheric processes that form the physical environment in which we live. This research is achieved within a plate-tectonic framework that focuses on the formation and dispersal of continents.

The University of Newcastle acknowledges the traditional custodians of the lands within our footprint areas: Awabakal, Darkinjung, Biripai, Worimi, Wonnarua, and Eora Nations. We also pay respect to the wisdom of our Elders past and present.