Safer, healthier, smarter: Flinders Uni research is building a better world

Flinders University’s research, conducted hand-in-hand with industry, is finding solutions to real world problems, from managing natural resources to improving the lives of people with dementia.

In June this year, Prime Minister Anthony Albanese joined Premier Peter Malinauskas and Flinders University President and Vice-Chancellor Colin Stirling to celebrate the opening of Flinders’ new Health and Medical Research Building (HMRB), a purpose-built facility designed to drive advances in medical science through research.

While the $280 million, ten-storey HMRB may stand as the most visually impressive example of the strength of Flinders’ research, it is just one piece in an amazing suite of research areas of focus that deep dive into everything from health through to science, engineering, defence, environment and natural resources, artificial intelligence and more.

Flinders’ research is the cornerstone of its mission as a university. Research and research-led teaching are helping build the university’s capabilities, and helping develop the next generation of innovative thinkers who will continue to work towards improving lives and enhancing society.

Collaboration and cooperation underpin great research. No matter how many Hollywood movies say otherwise, researchers don’t spend all their days locked in labs peering through microscopes, or buried in basements crunching numbers on crusty computers.

A world of research

Flinders researchers work in the real world, helping people and communities live healthier, safer lives and unlocking both the secrets of our past and the opportunities that the future offers.

At Flinders Health and Medical Research Centre, Professor Jamie Craig’s Eye and Vision team developed the first National Association of Testing Authorities (NATA)-accredited clinical testing for glaucoma and other genes. The test development and validation undertaken in South Australia has now been expanded to at least 16 international centres in 8 countries.

Associate Professor Caitlin Hughes has recently been working for the Swiss Federal Office of Public Health and leading an international consortium of researchers from Flinders University, RAND Europe and the University of Kent (UK) to examine international experiences of what works – and what doesn’t – among alternatives to criminalisation for drug use and possession.

Associate Professor Martin Polkinghorne and the Flinders archaeology team have been working with the Indonesian Ministry of Marine Affairs and Fisheries as part of the Reuniting Orphaned Cargoes project, unlocking lost cultural stories from the fabled maritime silk and spice trade route that flowed through Indonesia from at least the 9th century.

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Doing their research

These are just a few examples. Flinders’ fearless commitment to groundbreaking research extends across multiple fields. Researchers work hand-in-hand with industry health, advanced manufacturing, defence, justice, environment and more.

And that commitment is paying off. From 2018, Flinders saw the fastest growth in research income of any Australian university,* and the latest available Higher Education Research Data Collection (HERDC) data shows almost 140% growth in research income over the past 5 years.**

A closer look

Attracting over $6.9 million in the highly prestigious Australian Research Council’s Industry Fellowship grant funding in 2024, Flinders’ research covers a diverse range of areas. Some key projects include:

  • enhancing the lives of Australians through improving sleep quality and daytime productivity
  • bridging the gap in communication between those living with dementia and their carers to improve quality of life
  • creating a safer Australia by providing an operational edge to Australia’s defence capabilities
  • building safer communities with correctional reform to improve the wellbeing of those who are incarcerated and to avoid reoffending
  • managing Australia’s limited groundwater in the face of climate change.

Flinders is dedicated to making a difference to the health and wellbeing of all Australians, while shaping and safeguarding our nation’s future.

Discover more about Flinders world-leading research.

* HERDC data 2018 – 2022, ** HERDC data 2017-2022 (rounded up from 138.02%)
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