Serious research in fields and areas of importance to society brings real prosperity to the world â engaging, challenging jobs and careers of discovery and self-realisation. Curtinâs own proud history includes researchers who have designed a system to automatically detect abnormal events in public spaces, discovered the Earthâs oldest rock, developed a new understanding of the evolution of the moon through mass spectrometry, and revolutionised our ability to study the brain through mapping the rat brain.
Shaping the future through research and our graduates, and being positioned among the top 20 universities in Asia by 2020, is the vision that guides Curtinâs plans and strategies in all areas and at all levels. While the single most important factor in the success of Curtinâs research is our people, our research foci are increasingly strategic.
The Universityâs research strengths are across four broad fields â resources and energy, health, ICT and emerging technologies, and sustainable development. Curtin is a key player in many Cooperative Research Centres, including most recently, seven that will receive more than $164 million in new Federal Government funds. These major initiatives and Curtinâs strong links with industry, complement the Universityâs areas of research expertise and foci, and will play a major role in coming years.
Resources and Energy
Curtin has a strong stake in collaborative research and education. The new $116 million Curtin Resources and Chemistry Precinct, supported by BHP Billiton and the State Government, brings together around 200 scientists, making it one of the largest concentrations of chemistry research in the Southern Hemisphere. The Precinct will provide critical research for the resources industry in Western Australia and the region. It also reflects the importance of science and engineering for economic growth and prosperity and will spark renewed interest in mathematics, science and technology in the State.
Curtin is the largest and most comprehensive provider of research and education in health sciences in Western Australia. Development of the Curtin Health Innovation Research Institute (CHIRI) continues. The Institute will place special emphasis on the chronic health needs of vulnerable populations, particularly Indigenous peoples, the elderly and those with compromised mental health.
ICT and emerging technologies
Curtinâs focus on research in the area of ICT and emerging technologies developed further last year with the launch of the $100 million International Centre for Radio Astronomy Research, a partnership between Curtin, The University of Western Australia and the State Government. The Centre will play a key role in Australiaâs bid for the $3 billion Square Kilometre Array project, as will the Curtin Institute of Radio Astronomy (CIRA), which was established late in 2008. The SKA will be the worldâs most powerful telescope that will solve mysteries about the formation of stars, galaxies, black holes and the evolution of the Universe.
To enhance Australiaâs capabilities in this area, in 2009 the Federal Government allocated $80 million for a high-performance computing facility at Technology Park, adjacent to Curtinâs Bentley Campus. The University will also be involved in this facility.
Curtin consolidated its research strengths and leadership in the area of sustainable development by establishing the Australian Sustainable Development Institute (ASDI) in 2008. Through ASDI, Curtin offers visionary research opportunities in sustainable development, built environment, climate change, environmental ecosystems, biodiversity, sustainable tourism and sustainable resource processing. The Institute was officially launched in April 2009, and more than $9 million in research grants and contracts have already been agreed.
Curtinâs reputation as a serious research university was both confirmed and enhanced by its inclusion in the top 500 research universities in the 2009 Shanghai Jiao Tong ranking index.
The research programs I have mentioned â and others â illustrate Curtinâs outstanding research leadership and our strong engagement with industry. Curtin looks forward to continuing to build strong applied research that delivers benefits both locally and globally.
Professor Jeanette Hacket
Vice-Chancellor, Curtin University of Technology