The four new Futures Institutes are part of the UNSW Futures initiative, a major component of the university’s 2025 Strategy, providing a framework for facilitating cross-faculty and interdisciplinary work, driving new approaches to research, and addressing scientific and social challenges.
As part of the initiative, UNSW will invest up to $200 million in new and emerging areas across faculties, with the virtual Institutes receiving core funding to support operations, seed-funding for new research projects, and a commitment of funding for strategic hires and retention program hires.
UNSW president and vice-chancellor Professor Ian Jacobs and deputy vice-chancellor, Research, Professor Nicholas Fisk, announced the Futures Institutes last week:
- UNSW Ageing Futures Institute: enabling optimal ageing for individuals and society – led by Professor Kaarin Anstey.
- NSW Cellular Genomics Futures Institute: inventing technologies to decode individual cell DNA, chromatin, RNA, and protein outputs that will be used for precise diagnosis and precision treatment of human disease – led by Professor Chris Goodnow.
- NSW Digital Grid Futures Institute: future-proofing global energy systems to ensure reliable, secure, affordable, sustainable energy supply – led by Professor Joe Dong.
- UNSW Materials & Manufacturing Futures Institute: transforming the future of materials and manufacturing research in energy, transport, information technology, and healthcare – initially led by Professor Sean Li pending a definitive appointment.
Professor Fisk says that the Institutes position UNSW as a “big picture visionary university of the future”.
“The Institutes will enhance UNSW’s focus on innovative interdisciplinary and cross-faculty research that impacts society and policy,” said Professor Fisk.
“The Institutes build on our existing strengths and will act as a drawcard for international recruitment, government and industry links, while harnessing academic excellence to address humanity’s major challenges.”
A second round of UNSW Futures Institutes applications will open in late 2019.