UNSW's 2025 Strategy will position UNSW as 'Australia’s Global University'. We aspire to this in the belief that a great university, which is a global leader in discovery, innovation, impact, education and thought leadership, can make an enormous difference to people’s lives. An important aspect of the Strategy relates to research quality and excellence.
Our vision is to be among the leading research-intensive universities worldwide, known for innovative, pioneering research that has a global impact. UNSW will support leading researchers across all faculties and our best researchers will be recognised by prestigious national and international research awards. The number and quality of publications appearing in leading journals will steadily increase and many of our staff will be among the world’s most highly cited researchers.
To achieve this, UNSW will invest strategically, on a large scale, in recruitment in carefully selected areas of research, from across the full spectrum of endeavours in arts, built environment, business, design, law, social sciences, engineering, medicine and science. Recruitment will be focused in areas aligned with our identified areas of strength or in areas where we need to strategically build capacity. We will target world-class established research leaders through SHARP.
These research leaders we recruit will drive up UNSW’s research performance and the number of high-quality and highly cited research publications and other outputs and our proportion of research funding.
Meet our SHARP hires to date:
Professor Louise Chappell
Faculty of Law
Inaugural Director, Australian Human Rights Institute
Associate Professor Bingqin Li
Director of the Chinese Social Policy Program, Social Policy Research Centre
- One of the top social policy scholars working on and in China.
- Previously Associate Professor in ANU’s Crawford School of Public Policy and Assistant Professor at London School of Economics.
- Strong connections and research collaboration with leading Chinese social policy scholars, government agencies, think tanks and major NGOs.
- Research consultancies for WHO, World Bank, UNICEF, UNESCAP, UNRISD, Save the Children, UK Department of International Development (DFID).
- Commissioned research projects and contribute outputs in line with the best social policy scholars internationally.
- Experienced public speaker on social policy reforms, urbanization and social integration in China.
Scientia Professor Jacob Goeree
Director AGORA Centre for Market Design
School of Economics, UNSW Business School
- World authority on market design, interdisciplinary field combining game theory, computer science & experimental economics.
- Distinguished professorial career at Caltech and Universities of Zurich and Virginia.
- Former President of Economic Science Association, one of the few Australian Fellows of Econometric Society, Fellow of the Royal Netherlands Academy for Arts and Sciences and the Royal Netherlands Society for the Sciences.
- Over $12m in research funding, including equivalent of Laureate Fellowships in the Netherlands and Europe.
- Director of AGORA Center for Market Design, will lead ARC Centre of Excellence bid (shortlisted last round but withdrawn due to move to UNSW).
Professor John Church
School of Biological, Earth & Environmental Sciences/Climate Change Research Centre
- The world’s leading expert in sea-level science.
- Distinguished career at CSIRO as a Research Scientist in Oceanography, rising to the position of CSIRO Fellow (a position held by fewer than two dozen of CSIRO’s several thousand scientists).
- His area of expertise is the role of the ocean in climate, particularly anthropogenic climate change.
- He is an expert in estimating and understanding global and regional sea-level rise.
- Highly engaged internationally and reputationally, has played a major role on the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and the World Climate Research Programme.
- Fellow of the Australian Academy of Science, the Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering, the American Meteorological Society and the Australian Meteorological and Oceanographic Society.
- Awarded the 2006 Roger Revelle Medal by the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission, a CSIRO Medal for Research Achievement in 2006, the 2007 Eureka Prize for Scientific Research, the 2008 AMOS R.H. Clarke Lecture and the AMOS Morton Medal in 2017.
- Directly aligns with UNSW Grand Challenge in Climate Change.
Professor Qihe Tang
School of Risk and Actuarial Studies, UNSW Business School
- Leading scholar in actuarial science and quantitative risk management.
- Attained his Ph.D. in statistics from the University of Science and Technology of China in 2001.
- Expertise centres on extreme value theory for insurance, finance, and quantitative risk management.
- Conferred the F.Wendell Miller endowed professorship at the University of Iowa in July 2014 in honour of his scholarly work and professional contributions.
- Research has been constantly supported by external grants from various funding bodies including the NSERC (Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada), the NSF (National Science Foundation of the US), the NSFC (National Natural Science Foundation of China), and the SOA (Society of Actuaries).
- Associate editor for several academic journals including Insurance: Mathematics and Economics, TEST, Applied Stochastic Models in Business and Industry, and Statistics & Probability Letters.
- Graduated a number of doctoral students who are now university professors all over the world.
Professor Claire Wakefield
Head of the Behavioural Sciences Unit
School of Women’s and Children’s Health
- Leader of the Behavioural Sciences Unit in the School of Women’s and Children’s Health.
- Chair of the Paediatrics Special Interest Group for the International Psycho-Oncology Society (IPOS).
- Founding Chair of the IPOS Early Career Professionals Committee.
- Chief Investigator on grants worth more than $23M and has over 110 publications.
- Diamond Jubilee International Visiting Fellow at the University of Southampton, UK.
- Received the 2014 Premier’s Award for Outstanding Cancer Research Fellow.
- Prof Wakefield’s research aims to delineate how best to meet the needs of families of children with serious and life threatening illness. Her focus is on developing strategies to prevent poor mental health outcomes in vulnerable groups using evidence-based interventions and novel technology.
- She has a particular interest in children’s cancer and in the psychological implications of genetics and genomics for children.
Professor Chun Hui Wang
Head of School of Mechanical & Manufacturing Engineering
- National leader in design and manufacturing of advanced composites with strong links with defence and industry.
- Recruited from RMIT, Professor of Aerospace Engineering and Director of Sir Lawrence Wackett Aerospace Research Centre.
- >$10m in research funding over last 5 years, led a successful application for ARC Industrial Transformation Training Centre while at RMIT.
- Will directly contribute to increasing the ERA result across the relevant FOR codes to a 5 (currently 3).
- Exceptional record of both fundamental and applied research in advanced composites, multifunctional structures, and solid mechanics with strong links with defence and industry.
Professor Joe Dong
School of Electrical Engineering & Telecommunications.
- National authority in SMaRT Electricity Grids.
- World leading researcher in power electronics.
- Will boost UNSW to country’s lead in electricity grid stability.
- Track record of translating high quality research to industry, partners include ABB, GE, AREVA, Siemens, CISCO, Ausgrid &Transgrid.
- Strong funding links with Chinese industries, will link well with TORCH initiative.
Associate Professor Sarah Brough
ARC Future Fellow
School of Physics
- World leading astrophysicist – using large galaxy surveys to understand galaxy formation.
- ARC Future Fellow recruited from Australian Astronomical Observatory.
- Key member of major national and international collaborations on large-scale galaxy surveys using Australian facilities.
- Will grow capacity in Astrophysics and Extragalactic Science, in line with School strategy.
- Exemplary track-record of leadership and community engagement in gender issues in science.
Associate Professor Nicholas J. Ekins-Daukes (Ned)
School of Photovoltaic and Renewable Energy Engineering
- Ned specialises on developing highly efficient solar photovoltaic devices and has worked at laboratories in the UK, Japan and Australia.
- From 2008-17, Ned worked in the Physics department at Imperial College London and prior to that at the School of Physics at the University of Sydney.
- From 2003-06 he was a JSPS research fellow at the Toyota Technological Institute, Japan.
- Ned holds a PhD and MSc from Imperial College and MSci in Physics & Electronics from the University of St Andrews.
- Ned’s research aims to fundamentally increase the efficiency of photovoltaic solar cells towards the ultimate efficiency limit for solar power conversion of 87%.
Professor Alison Bashford, FBA, FAHA, FRHistS,
School of Humanities and Languages
- An environmental historian and author of many books on the modern history of geosciences, and on demography and population matters over the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.
- She was the Vere Harmsworth Professor of Imperial and Naval History at the University of Cambridge.
- 2009/10 she held the Harvard Chair of Australian Studies in the History of Science Department.
- Most recent book is The New Worlds of Thomas Robert Malthus (Princeton, 2016), written with Harvard’s early Americanist Joyce Chaplin.
- Currently researching the Huxley family, a study in cosmology and science communication, 1825-1975.
- In May 2018, she delivers the Wiles Lectures, Queens University Belfast.
Professor Sisi Zlatanova
Faculty of the Built Environment
- The world's leading expert on 3D GIS.
- President of ISPRS Technical Commission IV 'Spatial Information Science'.
- Co-founder of the international societies and series of conferences 3D Geoinfo, Gi4DM, Indoor3D. Member of UDMS Board.
- Actively involved in 3D standardisation activities within OGC, buildingSMART, FIG, Co-chair of OGC SWG IndoorGML.
- Advisory for EC on 3D Spatial Information and Disaster Risk Reduction and National Geomatic Center China on 3D Indoor Modelling.
- Formal chair DATA project of IRDR (ICSU) and CODATA task group Linked open data for Global Risk Reduction.
- Strong contacts with industry dealing with 3D spatial information, specifically Bentley systems, CGI, Oracle Spatial, Fugro, Cyclomedia, Google and ESRI.
- Lead various projects on 3D GIS and spatial analysis, Integration of GIS and BIM, 3D Indoor modelling, 3D modelling for emergency response, Integrated management of above and below surface information.
- Previously held academic positions at Delft University of Technology (Delft), Siberia State University of Geosystems and Technology (Novosibirsk), Institute for Geo-information Science and Earth Observation (Enschede), Graz University of Technology (Austria) and University of Architecture, Civil Engineering and Geodesy (Sofia).
- Author and co-author of more than 300 scientific papers and 22 books.
Professor Kaarin J. Anstey, BA (Hons) Syd., PhD Qld., FASSA, FAPS
Psychology and Brain Sciences
- A world leader in the field of dementia risk reduction, her research programs focus on the causes, consequences and prevention of cognitive decline and dementia.
- Conducts research into older driver safety and evaluates interventions to promote mobility and healthy ageing.
- Works extensively with longitudinal studies, and for the past decade has lead the PATH Through Life Project, a large cohort study based in Canberra.
- An NHMRC Principal Research Fellow and the leader of an NHMRC Centre of Research Excellence in Cognitive Health.
- The Director of the NHMRC Dementia Centre for Research Collaboration and Co-Deputy Director of the ARC Centre of Excellence in Population Ageing Research.
- Chair of the International Research Network on Dementia Prevention and a member of the World Health Organisation Guidelines Development Committee for Cognitive Decline and Dementia.
- A member of the Governance Committee of the Global Council on Brain Health, an initiative supported by the American Association of Retired Persons and AgeUK.
- Elected Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences in Australia, the Gerontological Society of America, the Australian Psychological Society and the Australian Association of Gerontology.
Scientia Professor Dennis Del Favero
Faculty of Art and Design
- Expertise lies in interdisciplinary art projects that explore the relationship between human and non-human systems through the experimental reformulation of immersive aesthetics using digital media.
- Chair Professor of Digital Innovation in the Faculty of Art and Design.
- Associate Dean (Research & Enterprise) in the Faculty of Art and Design.
- Director of the iCinema Research Centre.
- Director (Research) EPICentre
- Visiting Professorial Fellow at ZKM Centre for Art and Media, Karlsruhe and at the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna.
- Visiting Professor at IUAV University of Venice.
- Panel member of the Eureka Prize for Excellence in Interdisciplinary Science
- Member of Editorial Committee of Corpi (Rome).
Professor Liming Dai
Director, UNSW-BUCT-CWRU International Joint Laboratory
School of Chemical Engineering
Faculty of Engineering
Professor Ewa Goldys
Graduate School of Biomedical Engineering
Faculty of Engineering
- Internationally renowned for the development and applications of advanced fluorescence techniques to biomedicine, nanotechnology and advanced materials.
- Deputy Director of the Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence in Nanoscale Biophotonics.
- Fellow of the The Australian Academy of Technology and Engineering (ATSE).
- Fellow of the Optical Society recognized "for research leadership in optical characterization and biomedical sensing that has promoted widespread interdisciplinary awareness of light in life sciences".
- Fellow of SPIE, key international society for optics and photonics.
- Founded and led the ARC/NHMRC Research Network, Fluorescence Applications in Biotechnology and Life Sciences.
- Received the 2016 Australian Museum ANSTO Eureka Prize for Innovative Use of Technology.
Professor Trevor Hastie
School of Mathematics and Statistics
Faculty of Science
- Research interests include nonparametric regression models, computer intensive data analysis techniques, statistical computing and graphics, and statistical consulting.
- Currently working on adaptive modeling and prediction procedures, signal and image modeling, and problems in bioinformatics with many more variables than observations.
- Inaugural John A. Overdeck Professor of Mathematical Sciences, Stanford University.
- Received the 2015 Rhodes University distinguished alumni award.
- 2015 recipient of the Technometrics Ziegel award (dated 2014) for "An Introduction to Statistical Learning".
- Awarded The Emmanuel and Carol Parzen prize for Statistical Innovation, Texas A&M University (2014).
- Bernard G. Greenberg distinguished lecturer at Department of Biostatistics, University of North Carolina (2013).
- 2011 Elected fellow of South African Statistical Society.
Professor Natalie Klein
Faculty of Law
- An international lawyer with a focus on dispute settlement and the law of the sea.
- Worked in the international litigation and arbitration practice of Debevoise & Plimpton LLP.
- Served as counsel to the Government of Eritrea (1998-2002).
- Acted as a consultant in the Office of Legal Affairs at the United Nations.
- Holds a masters and doctorate in law earned at Yale Law School.
- Fellow of the Australian Academy of Law.
- Author of Dispute Settlement and the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (Cambridge University Press, 2005).
- Author of Maritime Security and the Law of the Sea (Oxford University Press, 2011).
Professor Darryn Waugh
School of Mathematics and Statistics
Faculty of Science
- Research interests are large-scale atmosphere and oceanic flow and transport, with a focus on understanding global environmental issues such as stratospheric ozone depletion and climate change.
- Awarded Ph.D. in Applied Mathematics at Cambridge University, 1991.
- Lead investigator on several NASA projects.
- Co-investigator on multi-million dollar funded NSF Frontiers in Earth System Dynamics initiatives.
- Awarded two NASA Group Achievement Awards (2001 & 1998).
- Received the Francois N. Frenkiel Award (1993).
- Awarded two AGU Editors Citations for Excellence in Refereeing Awards (1999 & 1995).
Professor Christopher Heeschen
School of Medical Sciences
Faculty of Medicine
- Research interests are dissecting the intrinsic and extrinsic determinants of cancer stem cells as the basis for developing novel and more effective (immuno)therapies for pancreatic cancer.
- Lead of the Centre for Stem Cells in Cancer and Ageing at Barts Cancer Institute in London (2013).
- Founding member of the the Clinical Research Programme in the Spanish National Cancer Research Centre (2008)
- Published more than 150 articles in prestigious scientific journals such as the New England Journal of Medicine, Nature Medicine, The Lancet, Cancer Cell, Cell Stem Cell, the Journal of Experimental Medicine, and PNAS, among others.
- Work by Professor Heeschen's research group has been cited more than 26,000 times.
- Awarded an ERC Advanced Investigator Grant for pancreatic cancer research (2009).
- Awarded the Richtzenhain Award, German Cancer Research Institute (2009).
Professor Tao (Tom) Wu
School of Materials Science and Engineering
Faculty of Science
- Leading expert on the synthesis and properties of novel materials, particularly transition-metal oxides and hybrid halide perovskites, in the forms of thin films, nanomaterials and mixed-dimensional nanocomposites.
- High-impact research on diverse electronic and energy applications including field effect transistors, spintronics, nonvolatile memories, and optoelectronics.
- Lead or Co-PI on multiple projects funded by more than $25M to work on next-generation materials and devices.
- Awarded the Lee Hsun International Young Scientist Award, Chinese Academy of Sciences, 2012
- Associate editor - ACS Appl. Mater. Interfaces, 2015 – present
Professor John David (JD) Dewsbury
School of Physical Environment and Mathematical Sciences
Department of Geography, UNSW@Canberra
- Professor of human geography whose research into performative understandings of culture and society is based upon interdisciplinary connections with performance studies, continental philosophy and political theory.
- One of the most highly cited proponents, of Non-Representational Geography, a theoretical paradigm that challenges some of the most fundamental assumptions in the social sciences, namely that representation of reality is possible and desirable.
- Promoted new directions in the understanding of habit, materiality and politics, the relationship between ontology and events, assemblages and research practice.
- Instrumental in introducing the work of key continental philosophers into geography, particularly the ideas of Gilles Deleuze, Felix Ravaisson, Alain Badiou & Felix Guattari.
- Research has been funded through the Arts Humanities Research Council UK, the British Council, and Economic and Social Research Council UK.
- Produced novel social scientific approaches to community issues relevant to agencies as diverse as the UK Environment Agency and the British Army.