Global Challenges Program

Our purpose

To see the big picture. We span disciplinary boundaries, work together and exchange ideas.

Over the coming decades we will face many challenges and transformations in the way we live. The University of Wollongong's (UOW), Global Challenges Program recognises the interconnected nature of these transformations. The Program is designed to encourage and develop creative and community-engaged research that will help drive social, economic and cultural change in our region, with the potential to be translatable across the globe. Our researchers want to make a difference in the world – and they are not afraid to take risks. 

We are committed to recognising and cultivating the next generation of research leaders. Early career researchers and PhD candidates are encouraged to actively collaborate with senior professors, leading to diverse and inspired teams of like-minded researchers.

Since the launch of Global Challenges in 2013, community and partner engagement has flourished, and the projects funded are now having direct impact in key areas of social, economic and community need.

Now in our sixth year, the Global Challenges Program has learned key lessons in what it means to fund and support transformative interdisciplinary research. This type of research can help tackle the world’s challenges and has the potential to transform lives and regions.

We know this because the research we funded five years ago is now revealing true impact in ways which continue to inspire us on our journey.

From Wollongong, Vietnam, Brazil, Jakarta, Kiribati, Bhutan to Antarctica our projects are far reaching and our networks continue to multiply. With 600 researchers collaborating on over one hundred interdisciplinary projects, we’re approaching global issues in a myriad of ways. Our approach broadens the application of disciplinary expertise, stretching beyond disciplinary comfort zones to meet a shared challenge.

Our values

  • Adventurous: We recognise that tackling complex problems requires risk-taking, learning from failure is valuable and great research is an adventure.
  • Collegial: We listen to one another, build relationships and enjoy working together.
  • Inclusive: We promote agency, and celebrate diverse voices in research.
  • Supportive: We work collaboratively in an open environment to enable research to flourish.

Executive Committee

The Global Challenges Program is led by an Executive Committee that brings together an interdisciplinary cohort and independent members, including Associate Professor Belinda Gibbons, Sharon Martin (Director Research Services Office), Senior Professor Geoff Spinks, Distinguished Professor Sharon Robinson, Professor Lorna Moxham and Dr Tamantha Stutchbury.