Areas of research activity
Health and Wellness
ECU researchers are internationally recognised for their scholarship in the areas of health and wellness, their research into early detection of disease, their progress on intervention strategies and rehabilitation, And their development of preventative and public health policy and practice. Our researchers have specific expertise in Alzheimer’s disease, and have made groundbreaking discoveries about its onset and causes, while researching new treatment and support mechanisms for patients and those at most risk. We have multidisciplinary teams in clinical exercise science, sports science, nutrition and psychology who are developing new wellness approaches to chronic disease management. We also have centres exploring research with practical application in the areas of health systems, palliative cancer care, nursing, midwifery, Indigenous health, and child and adolescent health.
ECU researchers collaborate with state and national education bodies to improve policy, curriculum, teaching effectiveness and student learning outcomes at every level. The University has pioneered improvements in teaching in Australia and our researchers are recognised for their expertise in the use of learning technologies in education. Our researchers have been particularly successful in using research to inform practice, improving the teaching of literacy, numeracy and science, addressing behaviour management and using learning technologies to maximise educational outcomes. Other strengths include research into school resourcing, the measurement of school effectiveness and the improvement of student retention and participation, especially for Indigenous students. It is critical work and ECU’s education research centres engage with education professionals, governments and other stakeholders to ensure our research transforms the lives of teachers and students.
Environment and Sustainability
ECU houses significant research strength in the areas of biology and environment, including the interaction between ecology and human health. Specific areas of expertise include coastal marine and estuarine ecology, freshwater ecosystems, macro-algae and seagrass ecology, forest, woodland and wetland ecology, semi-arid environments, plant and animal ecological genetics, applied chemistry, microbiology and biotechnology and environmental exposures and health. Our research addresses problems of mine site rehabilitation, habitat degradation, pollution, human exposure to contaminants, forest management and threatened species, and we are encouraging cross-disciplinary research in the areas of social ecology, ecosystem approaches to human health, natural resources modelling and simulation.
Engineering & ICT
ECU’s Engineering and ICT researchers deliver applicable innovations across the core engineering disciplines and in the fields of computing and security science. Electrical and Electronic Engineering researchers are leaders in communication networking technologies, microelectronics, optoelectronics and microphotonics as well as visual information processing and smart energy systems. Our Mechanical Engineering researchers investigate nano-engineered materials, the potential of using thermofluids for energy generation and transfer, and production technologies and machine configuration to improve efficiency. In Civil Engineering researchers explore complex soil retention and stabilising technologies for foundation design, and engage in water resources research and structural engineering for efficient use of structural materials. We are also increasingly known for our research in software engineering, computer networks, information security, intelligent systems and information and knowledge management. The expertise of our engineering and ICT researchers is leading to applicable technologies that provide a genuine benefit for sectors such as telecommunications, health, agriculture, consumer electronics, energy and security.
Social and Community
ECU is home to some of Australia’s leading Social and Community researchers, particularly in the areas of Indigenous studies and applied social research. The evaluation of social research among children and young people, women, people with disabilities, and rural and regional residents is also a significant research strength within the University and our work is leading to new programs, initiatives and practices that improve the lives of Australians. ECU is the only Western Australian university to offer social science specialisation in the areas of youth work, human services, children and family studies, forensic psychology and community psychology, and we have been able to attract researchers with international standing to these fields.
Business and Society
ECU’s nationally and internationally recognised researchers have a record of applied research that has been able to influence government policy, organisational behaviour and decision-making, while improving opportunities and skills for businesses and individuals. Areas of research expertise include finance and capital markets in Australia and the Asia- Pacific region, small and medium enterprise, social marketing and sustainable tourism.
Communications and Creative Arts
ECU’s Communications and Creative arts researchers investigate the social and cultural implications of their media, explore the use of technology for instructional and information development, study the notion of the audience, and consider the implications of communication in building communities. The University supports a practice-based research culture and its remarkable and creative staff each year put on public exhibitions and performances and produce installations and musical recordings, as well as publishing traditional research. Our specific strengths lie in movement and sound, the visual and performing arts, design and interaction, and creative writing, and we are known as one of Australia’s leading universities for fostering creative research.
Security, Law and Justice
ECU security researchers investigate the ever-changing world of information, computer and network security, with studies in biometrics, the security of critical infrastructure, aviation and border control, counterterrorism and risk management. They have been instrumental in research that drives policy in the administration of security and justice, improvement of policing and operation of crime prevention programs, as well making inroads in forensic psychology and technology.