Research & innovation

We’re dedicated to research that makes a difference.

Throughout our 60-year history, UOW has built an international reputation for world-class research and exceptional teaching quality.

We emphasise partnership and collaboration to deliver real-world impact. We demonstrate our commitment to innovation by giving great ideas a genuine business incubator pathway. We welcome opportunities to share our research and partner with our community. We support each other to enhance UOW’s reputation for research excellence and innovation.

We're not resting on our laurels. We are investing in our research and infrastructure to support our academics to produce high quality scholarship of global standard. We are committed to research training that supports up and coming talent to apply knowledge that makes a difference to the world at large. We will continue to strive for excellence.

Welcome to Research and Innovation at UOW.

Featured event: 3 Minute Thesis

The Three Minute Thesis (3MT®) competition celebrates the exciting research conducted by Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) students. 3MT cultivates students’ academic, presentation, and research communication skills. The competition supports their capacity to effectively explain their research in three minutes, in a language appropriate to a non-specialist audience

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Cancer. It’s a word we all fear. But with today’s medical advances, come cancers are significantly easier to treat or even curable. However, one of the most complex kinds that we still struggle to treat is brain cancer.

Our brains are our most sensitive organ encased in a protective shell. Surgery to remove a tumour there can sometime be all but impossible and the protective blood brain barrier makes use of chemotherapy exceptionally difficult.

Our only viable option, then, is external beam radiation therapy but even that has shortcomings. To properly treat brain cancer, we  are inflicting significant damage to some very sensitive tissues that surrounds the tumour. And we know that this, particularly  in children can lead to hormonal, growth and cognitive issues. And even still, the five-year survival rate for brain cancer has not changed in 30 years.

So how can we treat such a difficult disease? My solution is the use of an alternative radiation source. A synchrotron. A synchrotron produces light radiation that is exceptionally powerful and very fast. To put this into perspective, the radiation dose delivered at a synchrotron is over 5000 times faster than what we can deliver in a hospital.

This fast radiation is critical to treating difficult cancers. But we can do even better than this. We can insert a collimeter, which is essentially a cone. This form sour beams into peaks of exceptionally high dose and valleys of significantly lower dose. This is microbeam radiation therapy, or MRT. MRT is powerful – the peaks of the beams sever  the tumour like a knife, while the healthy tissue is essentially unaffected. But we can improve this even further. We can add nanoparticles directly to the tumour. Nanoparticles which are tiny specs of metal interact with the MRT to produce extra radiation that is specifically localised to the tumour. This means we can selectively increase the damage delivered to the tumour and further decrease the dose delivered to the surrounding healthy tissue.

Nanoparticles, combined with our knife-like beam, and the speed we can deliver the radiation, means we can treat the tumour with just one shot. This is exceptional, compared to current hospital treatments which require daily radiation for many weeks.

This April, we treated rats with brain cancer with this exact method. Without treatment, the cancer causes death within 20 days. With our one shot treatment, we have a quarter of our cohort remaining at 100 days and counting. This is proof that we are laying the foundations to finally curing brain cancer.

World class people & places

To confront the challenges of a rapidly changing world, UOW research is focused on supporting the best intellectual and technical talent to force change for good. From next-gen materials engineering in medicine to social transformation over the lifecycle, our research is purposeful and positive.

Research excellence

Find an expert

Discover the University of Wollongong's brightest minds. See their achievements, stories of impact, academic collaborations and research papers. Find a person, topic or publication today: world-class research starts with a UOW Scholar.

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Gordon Wallace and Stephen Beirne in the Bio Printing Lab. Photo: Paul Jones
Group works around a laptop Committee information
paperwork Forms, guides & policies
Group of women in training group Training & development
research service team in a group Research support team
Ross Bradstock, Christine Eriksen and Alan Green, the bushfire research team walk through a smoky scene
Shuai Shuai Sun MR technology researchers looks at the underboady of a vehicle
UOW Ecologist Associate Professor Kerrylee Rogers stands on a bridge overlooking water

Impact and engagement

For over 40 years, UOW has created pathways for research to have beneficial impacts in the broader community. From its very beginning, UOW has encouraged and nurtured engagement with industry, community and government to tackle the most pressing challenges, introduce disruptive technologies and change our world for the better. The Research Impact Strategy White Paper documents our journey and commitment to meaningful research impact and provides a mechanism to deliver our aspirations.

Discover UOW research and engagement activityView the Research Impact Strategy White Paper

Innovation / collaboration

UOW researcher Leah Gibbs sits on rocks near water Global Challenges

A strategic research initiative focused on transformative interdisciplinary research that impacts people's lives and changes worlds.

iAccelerate resident company Me3d at work iAccelerate

A business incubator supporting students, staff and the wider community to build an innovative economy for the region's future.

man and woman in industrial steel manufacturing setting Industry and commercial research

Streamlining the industry-research collaboration process and converting university research expertise into commercial success.

partnerships NUW Alliance signing dignitary Partnership and collaboration

Established research partnerships with like-minded institutions to collaborate, share and grow opportunities for researchers and students.

Latest research stories

Adam Trevitt Advancing automated mass spectrometry
Helen McGregor at the beach Understanding environmental stressors for the Great Barrier Reef
Freya Croft PhD student The two of us: Dr Simon Brown and Dr Claudia Kielkopf
Ross Bradstock and Anthony Dossetto Shaping a sunburnt country
View our latest research stories