A culture of innovation

We seek to change the world to benefit society, the economy and future generations.

World-leading research and innovation

UNSW is one of Australia’s leading research universities. We have one of the country’s largest research communities with over 4,300 dedicated research students and over 50 established research, community and program centres. Our researchers receive some of the highest amounts of Australian Research Council funding in Australia1 and we leverage some of the country's strongest industry links.

We invest considerable resources in areas where we believe we can make the biggest difference and meet tomorrow’s challenges. We’re an acknowledged world leader in photovoltaics, HIV/AIDS research and quantum computing. We have a reputation for international research excellence in:

1. UNSW topped Australian Research Council funding levels in the country in 2014 and in the state in 2015 and 2016

Some of our achievements

Recycling toxic materials

Can you turn toxic waste into 'green materials'? That's what Scientia Professor Veena Sahajwalla has achieved. Her technology has helped to recycle more than 2 million tyres. She is also devising cost-effective solutions for e-waste.

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Solar kings

UNSW has been a world leader in solar photovoltaics for more than 30 years. We hold the world record for the best conversion rate of a solar cell (greater than 40%) and we are investigating the use of silicon over other expensive materials.

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World’s biggest computer

The biggest quantum computer on earth will be based on single atom engineering and made up of silicon components. True? Scientia Professor Michelle Simmons and her team think so. In fact, they are leading a world race.

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Water management

UNSW research has influenced a multi-billion-dollar water management plan for the Murray-Darling Basin’s iconic rivers. These rivers support a third of Australian agricultural production and precious wetlands.

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HIV treatment

Since diagnosing Australia’s first case of HIV infection in 1984, Scientia Professor David Cooper has been involved with the development of every existing combination ART for HIV on the market.

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Artificial intelligence

UNSW are back-to-back world champions in the international robotics competition, RoboCup, in 2014 and 2015. The cup aims to develop autonomous robots.

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New innovation precinct

We aim to be the leading Australian destination for innovation and entrepreneurship. This year we signed an unprecedented $100 million innovation partnership and launched the UNSW Torch Innovation Precinct at our Kensington campus. This is the first of its kind in Australian universities and will provide a major boost in research and development at UNSW. 

Read more about our Torch Innovation Precinct

In 2015, we launched the Michael Crouch Innovation Centre, a platform for nurturing student innovation. Students from all faculties can design, experiment and build their ideas with guidance from visionaries and corporate partners. The MCIC features a state-of-the-art 'makerspace' with 3D printers, laser cutters and a multifunctional workspace where students are encouraged to design, experiment and build physical prototypes. 

Read more about the MCIC

Home to entrepreneurs

UNSW is the start-up capital of Australian universities. We have produced more technology entrepreneurs in the past 15 years than any other university in the country. And with close to 200 student start-ups currently on the books, the next generation of innovators is busy developing their new ideas. Check out some of the latest

Our innovation and entrepreneurial culture is built on strong industry links. We support aspirational students in a number of ways.

  • Our UNSW Innovations team is the guide and connector for students and alumni entrepreneurs to people, organisations and their next steps. They also run a Student Entrepreneur Development program
  • You can book a spot in the School of Computer Science and Engineering’s Venture Space to get your idea off the ground
  • Join one of the many entreprenuerial student clubs such as EntSocCreate or the AGSM ICE Club
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