Celebrating
the work of
our emerging
research leaders

 

From powering our future and fighting antibiotic resistance to designing smart cities and helping refugees overcome trauma, these are the UNSW Rising Stars changing our world today and helping pave the way to an even better tomorrow.

Welcome message from the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research)

In the third and final edition of this series of Research@UNSW – 20 rising stars who will change our world – you will read about our emerging research leaders, who are tackling some of society’s biggest challenges, many of which are global in nature.
TECHNOLOGY AND THE LAW
Disruptive technologies pose new ethical concerns and unforeseen risks. Lyria Bennett Moses is helping policymakers design effective legal frameworks that protect us from harm without hindering innovation.
THEORETICAL PHYSICS
Fundamental laws govern our universe. But Julian Berengut is challenging whether these laws are constant across space and time, and his research could turn physics on its head.
POLYMER CHEMISTRY
Antimicrobial resistance could send modern medicine spiralling back to the Dark Ages, killing hundreds of millions of people. Cyrille Boyer is mimicking nature to develop functional polymers and therapeutic agents that will help us fight back.
QUANTUM SYSTEMS
Quantum systems will revolutionise computing, health care and environmental monitoring. Daoyi Dong is pioneering ways to 'surgically' refine single atoms and molecules with lasers, opening the door to futuristic quantum devices.
FUTURE CITIES
By 2050, two-thirds of us will reside in cities, dominated by apartment blocks. Hazel Easthope is making sure these future urban centres are more sustainable and livable.
CORPORATE FRAUD
Organisational fraud costs the global economy more than $3 trillion each year. Clinton Free is helping businesses identify vulnerabilities to stop fraudulent behaviour before it begins.
BEHAVIOURAL ECONOMICS
To truly understand the drivers and constraints of an economy, you have to look at its past. Pauline Grosjean is revealing how a country's cultural legacy influences its economic performance.
SMART CITIES
To cope with larger populations, future cities will need to incorporate artificial intelligence. Hank Haeusler is designing smart infrastructure that will optimise city function by learning from human behaviour.
NEXT-GENERATION SOLAR CELLS
Solar energy will be crucial if we are to overcome our reliance on fossil fuels. Xiaojing Hao is developing next-generation photovoltaic technology from abundant, non-toxic minerals to transform the global solar market.
ENVIRONMENTAL LAW
Climate change and population growth are hastening a global water supply crisis. Cameron Holley is developing ways to improve the management and allocation of limited fresh water resources in Australia and abroad.

“We recognise our rising stars as the future of our innovative and pioneering research reputation. They are on the trajectory to make UNSW an innovation powerhouse.”

Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research) Professor Les Field

WATER MANAGEMENT
When it comes to water, Australia is no stranger to extremes of both drought and flooding. Fiona Johnson is developing tools to predict these events and helping engineers design the infrastructure to keep us safe.
MEDICAL PSYCHOLOGY
Thousands of babies are born each year with critical heart disease. Nadine Kasparian is changing the culture of care for children and families affected by these life-threatening illnesses.
INTERNATIONAL DEVELOPMENT
India's north-eastern states are fraught with instability. Duncan McDuie-Ra is exploring peaceful development in this strategic corridor and shining a light on racially-motivated violence and human rights abuses.
VISUALISING MEDICAL DATA
While doctors can diagnose diseases, medical information is often difficult to communicate to patients. Artist John McGhee is using gaming technology to take patients on virtual tours through their bodies, to see their illnesses in 3D.
MENTAL HEALTH AND SUBSTANCE USE
Roughly one-third of Australians with substance abuse problems have a concurrent mental illness. Katherine Mills is figuring out why, and leading world-first trials of innovative treatment programs.
REFUGEE MENTAL HEALTH
The world is witnessing the largest refugee crisis since World War II. Angela Nickerson is making sure people forced to flee from their homes can overcome psychological trauma.
EXTREME WEATHER
As our planet steadily warms, heatwaves will occur with greater frequency and intensity. Extreme weather scientist Sarah Perkins-Kirkpatrick is developing methods to more accurately predict these deadly events.
ENERGY STORAGE
Affordable power storage is the missing link in the renewable energy revolution. Neeraj Sharma is developing next-generation rechargeable batteries that run on sea water.
CELL SCIENCE
By understanding how to control mitochondria, the ‘battery’ in our cells, Nigel Turner is developing ways to slow ageing and potentially overcome a swathe of debilitating conditions, such as diabetes, cancer and Alzheimer's.
ENVIRONMENTAL HUMANITIES
Our planet is hurtling towards an extinction crisis of epic proportions. Thom van Dooren is exploring the hidden value of threatened species and ushering in a radical rethink of how we respond to biodiversity loss.