Publications – Australian University Science

Science is about understanding how the living and material world works. It’s also about how to put that understanding to work, to create new inventions and to solve problems. Australian University Science is a twice yearly publication with stories showing how Australian universities make that happen.

Sometimes it is the university scientists themselves who come up with new inventions or solutions. Sometimes it is science graduates using the knowledge and connections that they’ve gained at university. And sometimes it is businesses in search of ideas who connect with university scientists and draw upon their knowledge.

Australian University Science has stories of all these kinds. It is available online or in print. It shows how Australian university science makes active contributions to the problems of clean energy, water, health, and to industry and innovation generally.

Australian University Science is a publication of the Australian Council of Deans of Science Inc.

Browse through our previous editions below, or Sign up here to receive your issue twice a year


The science behind net zero [Issue 11: May 2024]

As the world aims to move towards net zero emissions, university science is at the forefront of research and innovation.

Issue 11 looks at how universities contribute groundbreaking discoveries and technologies and play a key role in educating future generations and developing innovative solutions and policy reforms.

The transition to a net-zero emission economy requires collaborative efforts between universities, businesses and policymakers. Universities serve as the incubator for technical innovation and provide the evidence base for future policy and transformational change.

Impact: what lies beneath? [Issue 10: September 2023]

Australia’s strong science research and training is integral to driving new economies. Universities have a critical role as partners in establishing innovation and technological change in industry.

As science delivers new insights and tools, new industries are emerging, and people with science skills will be essential to these new industries. Australian University Science magazine highlights these stories, showcasing exceptional science teams and Australian science graduates working in industry.

This issue uncovers the impact of university science on the future workforce, innovation and knowledge.

The Innovation Pipeline [Issue 9: April 2023]

The university-science research value chain is complex, iterative, and has value at all stages. There are many steps along the ‘runway’ of innovation and all of us — the researchers, the end users, those of us in leadership, and those just starting out — play a role in its ultimate course.

University science outcomes include high-profile commercialisable research, such as green hydrogen or quantum information systems technology,  “blue sky” research and its new directions. It also drives policy change and creates community knowledge.

This issue presents brief and compelling case studies of Australian university science as value chains across environmental, physical, chemical and biological sciences, with timelines of takeoff from fundamental to applied research.

Critical Minerals [Issue 8: September 2022]

Renewable energy, better batteries, internet connected devices and space exploration are all made possible by technologies that are in higher demand than ever before and rely on critical minerals. Uncovering, processing and extracting these minerals relies on continuous and evolving chemical, geological and physical research, skilled people trained in science, and innovation in knowledge and technology that can only be delivered by Australian University Science. As we transition to Industry 4.0, we look to the research expertise that’s leading us into the future in critical minerals research, development and commercialisation. In this issue, we explore the rise of critical minerals and the role of isotope geochemistry, innovation in re-mining old deposits, accelerating Australia’s green energy transition, and the importance of science communication skills in ensuring Australia understands its national mineral inventory.

View the online copy of Issue 8

Science’s Big Ideas [Issue 7: March 2022]

From curiosity, observation, decades-long investigation and the odd bright idea, stems the knowledge that is the progenitor of massive advances in our social and economic wellbeing.

While applied research may often be in the spotlight thanks to easily translatable outcomes, it relies on and exists in a symbiosis with the continued act of fundamental research and discovery.

Take CRISPR’s dramatic impact on biology, or the development of quantum technology for example. New foods and fuels, medical advances and other translatable research outcomes rely on the way fundamental research has shaped our ideas and the permeable flow of ideas between fundamental and translatable research.

In this issue, we explore how Australian University Science in the last two decades has built the scaffolding upon which our technology, health and engineering and applied sciences operate.

View the online copy of Issue 7

Growing Sovereign Capability [Issue 6: September 2021]

Australian university science is key to building our sovereign capability in manufacturing, medicines, food and agriculture, communications and defence. Decades of research in chemistry, physics, earth and environmental science and biology has equipped us to quickly adapt to the rapidly changing global challenges of the pandemic, climate change and market uncertainty. University science is also the only way we will ensure we have the skilled people we need to ensure this capability into the future.

This issue examines key ways in which university science is delivering on advancing Australia’s sovereign capability: In addressing major global challenges such as tracking sinks and sources of carbon emissions, in equipping us to deal with the evolving pandemic crisis, and in developing our capabilities in defence and battery manufacture.

View the online copy of Issue 6.

Innovation Futures [Issue 5: May 2021]

This issue of Australian University Science showcases how university science drives innovation, sparks new business opportunities and generates new jobs. Australian University Science has always been critical to small business enterprises, providing research that underpins new products and services, and consulting on R&D that goes beyond short-term gains. Through their unique facilities, deeply knowledgeable people and collaborative ethos, university science creates employment opportunities in growth industries based on research from chemistry, physics, geology and biology that has far reaching impacts for society.

University science also trains graduates with the enterprise skills and scientific knowledge that gives them great capacity to innovate. Examples of these outcomes are too numerous to cover – this issue highlights just some of the ways universities foster innovation and provides examples of some of the most exciting innovations happening in science right now through this long-term vision.

View the online copy of Issue 5.

Industry Futures [Issue 4: November 2020]

In Issue 4 of Australian University Science we explore proven industries developing from fundamental Australian University Science research, including the green economy, quantum science, battery innovation and medical diagnostics.

How does university science ignite future industry? The pandemic saw Australian University Science pivot rapidly into manufacturing personal protective equipment and masks and partnering with industry on the future production of hundreds of millions of vaccine doses. While these are short-term solutions, Australian university sciences joins up research and innovation in Australia: from blue-sky research to innovation, and in doing so develops new industry sectors.

University science creates transferable skills in its graduates and facilitates the translation of research. It is collaborative by nature and has the networks and partnerships to enable the creation of new industries to diversify our economies. In this issue we explore proven industries developing from fundamental Australian University Science research, including the green economy, quantum science, battery innovation and medical diagnostics.

View the online copy of Issue 4.

Global Health Futures [Issue 3: July 2020]

In the early days of the COVID-19 crises, university scientists quickly mobilised to model, trace and track the virus behind COVID-19. Issue 3 of Australian University Science showcases how University science research is a deep repository of knowledge and is uniquely positioned to respond to the COVID-19 crisis, through research across multiple disciplines and targeting many different problem areas.

As Professor John Shine notes in the introduction to this issue, university science in Australia is developing strong candidates for a vaccine with the support of the Centre for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations and from global biotech giant CSL, established in Australia in 1916. But the response goes far beyond vaccine research, with a number of cutting-edge molecular biology research and environmental science pivoting into the COVID-19 problem.

View the online copy of Issue 3.

Water Futures [Issue 2: March 2020]

As an increasingly dry continent, Australia faces immense water challenges. Australian universities play a critical role in undertaking research and development to assist in the identification of water management problems, the achievement of water security, and the creation of innovative solutions.

From catalysing new science to ‘pull’ water out of the air using smart fundamental chemistry, to regional universities implementing R&D directly on Australian farms, university science makes critical contributions to water security.

Universities engage at each stage of the innovation cycle to help water managers deliver water security to communities, industries, agriculture and the environment. The stories within this issue highlight university science contribution to enterprise, education and agriculture in Australia.

View the online copy of Issue 2.

Energy Futures [Issue 1: September 2019]

Edition 1 of Australian University Science highlights the role and impact of university science, beginning with the hydrogen economy. It also showcases case studies of exceptional science teams and profiles Australian science graduates working in industry. This is a critical insight into how Australian university science informs, partners and drives innovation domestically and internationally.

View the online copy of Issue 1.