Our research strengths

The University of Newcastle continues to build its global reputation for delivering world-class research and innovation.  Our reputation has been built on high quality performance in health and medicine, science and engineering, and energy and the environment.  Our research in humanities and the creative arts is on a rapid and upward trajectory. We are a leader in Indigenous education and research. 

The University has attracted some of the very best researchers in the world, providing an important platform for the development of critical mass and future growth of these key research fields.

Areas of strength

The University of Newcastle ranks 8th among Australian universities for National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) project grant funding commencing in 2016.

In the 2015 Excellence in Research for Australia (ERA) assessment, the Faculty of Health and Medicine at UON was placed 5th in Australia based on the number of fields of research codes in medical and health sciences ranked well above and above world standard.

12 fields of research ranked "well above world standard"

  • Biochemistry and Cell Biology
  • Cardiovascular Medicine and Haematology
  • Cognitive Sciences
  • Genetics
  • Human Movement and Sports Science
  • Immunology
  • Neurosciences
  • Nursing
  • Nutrition and Dietetics
  • Oncology and Carcinogenesis
  • Paediatrics and Reproductive Medicine
  • Pharmacology and Pharmaceutical Sciences
  • Public Health and Health Sciences

5 fields of research ranked "above world standard"

  • Biological Sciences
  • Medical Physiology
  • Physiology
  • Medical and Health Sciences
  • Psychology and Cognitive Sciences

3 fields of research ranked "world standard"

  • Clinical Sciences
  • Medicinal and Biomolecular Chemistry
  • Other Medical and Health Sciences

Excellence in Research for Australia (ERA) awards Newcastle highest rating of 5 in 2012 for:

  • Applied Mathematics
  • Macromolecular and Materials Chemistry
  • Geology
  • Physical Geography and Environmental Geosciences
  • Biochemistry and Cell Biology
  • Plant Biology
  • Civil Engineering
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Resources Engineering and Extractive Metallurgy

The University of Newcastle leads the Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence in Geotechnical Science and Engineering .

  • Excellence in Research for Australia (ERA) awards Newcastle highest rating of 5 in 2012 for:
    • Geology
    • Physical Geography and Environmental Geosciences
    • Plant Biology
    • Electrical and Electronic Engineering
    • Resources Engineering and Extractive Metallurgy
  • Leading research in sustainable energy production through the Newcastle Institute for Energy and Resources (NIER)
  • The University of Newcastle was the only  Australian university to receive a rating of 5 ("well above world standard") for Social Work in the 2012 Excellence in Research for Australia (ERA) assessment.
  • We are ranked by the QS World University Rankings by Subject in the top 100 in the world for Linguistics; top 200 in the world for English Language and Literature.

Find out more about the School of Humanities and Social Science.

Research in the School of Creative Industries reflects the creative, dynamic and multimedia-oriented nature of the areas of communication, creative arts, design, music and natural history illustration.

Practice and theory are entwined in the integrated discourse of our artists, scholars, performers and theorists.

Our researchers benefit from working across disciplines in ways that enable more complex approaches to broader areas of study and practice. This is encouraged through our various Research Centres, Clusters and Groups.

PhD and Research Masters students have the unique opportunity of working with inspiring leaders in the fields of communication, creative arts, design, music and natural history illustration.

The University of Newcastle's Education program is ranked 127th in the world by the QS World University Rankings by Subject (2014/2015).

Our research strengths are in:

  • Physical Activity and Nutrition
  • Teachers and Teaching
  • Research Training and Adaptive Knowledge
  • Equity and Education
  • Comparative and International Education
  • Early Childhood Education and Care
  • Disability and Special Education

See the School of Education for more information

The Faculty of Business and Law is renowned for excellence in internationally relevant research. The research output of both the Newcastle Business School and the Newcastle Law School has been rated as ‘at world class’ in the 2015 Excellence in Research for Australia (ERA), assessment of research quality. In addition, two fields of research within business, ‘Marketing’ and ‘Business Management’, have both been rated as ‘above world class’.

The Faculty of Business and Law has two Research Centres:

The Hunter Research Foundation (HRF) Centre conducts ‘engaged’ economic and social research to inform and guide regional change and transformation. This engaged research model involves high levels of engagement with stakeholders in government, industry, and the community – in both defining problems and sharing results. HRF Centre’s research findings are shared through strategic outreach. That includes the long-standing Hunter Economic Breakfast Series, the media, and collaborative relationships with government departments, businesses, and non-profit organisations. The Centre’s staff work with researchers within the University of Newcastle and at other universities here and abroad.

The Health Services Research and Innovation Centre (HSRIC) aims to improve the design and management of health services with particular emphasis on interdisciplinary approaches to addressing critical challenges. HSRIC brings together researchers across a range of areas related to health services including health and medical professions, law, management and psychology.

  • The University promotes and encourages quality indigenous research activities which link research outcomes to our teaching curricula through the Wollotuka Institute.
  • The Umulliko Indigenous Higher Education Centre endeavours to invigorate a new pathway of research and researching training that is nationally relevant and of significant importance to Indigenous Australians. In the language of the Awabakal people, Umulliko means 'to create, to make, to do' and this forms the primary focus of research and training for the Wollotuka Institute.

The University has established a number of research institutes and centres in partnership with government and industry which support researchers to deliver a broad range of expertise relevant to Defence, Security and Aerospace that aligns with key areas of national priority.

  • Biometric Training Enhancements
  • Cognitive Modelling
  • System Evaluation and Design
  • Cyber Security
  • Security and Trust in Autonomous Systems
  • Machine Vision
  • Deep Learning
  • Advanced Sensors
  • Actuation
  • Deployable Power Storage and Generation
  • Advanced Energy Storage
  • Organic Electronics
  • Nerve Agent Detoxification and Neutralisation
  • Contaminated Land and Water Remediation
  • Functional Advanced Nanstructured Materials for Energy and Environment

Defence Security Aerospace

Professor Adam McCluskey