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Articles categorized as ‘University of Sydney Environmental Sciences’

Friday, June 30th, 2017

Why is recycling important? 5 ways the University of Sydney is turning garbage into gold

University of Sydney researchers are working on turning waste into new innovations for the health, agriculture, transport and construction industries. Here’s how:

1. Orange peel: a cure for cancer?

Every year around a third of food produced for human consumption is never eaten. That’s around 1.3 billion tonnes of food that is wasted. But University of Sydney research is breathing new life into these leftovers and using them to make people healthier.

From orange peel to malformed mushrooms, a lot of food waste is rich in nutrients that are vital for people’s well-being and can be used in our diet. Professor Fariba Dehghani is one of the scientists turning these scraps into life-saving medicine.

Professor Dehghani explains how her team is using waste in a meaningful way in a video, below, produced in association with the Sydney Morning Herald.

2. Seabed delicacy: a cold sore treatment?

Did you know the blue blood of abalone could be used to combat common cold sores and related herpes virus?

A team of chemical engineers and virologists at the University of Sydney found that the sea snail’s anti-viral properties could block the herpes virus’s entry into cells.

3. Turning algae into renewable jet fuel

Why is recycling important? 5 ways the University of Sydney is turning garbage into gold

Turning algae into jet fuel (Photo: University of Sydney)

A native freshwater algae grown in northern Australia can be used to create a high-quality, renewable jet fuel. A multi-disciplinary team including researchers from the University of Sydney, James Cook University and Israel’s Ben Gurion University has developed a proof-of-concept process to create high-quality renewable biofuel from the macroalgae, Oedogonium, ready for blending with regular gasoline, jet fuel and diesel.

4. Pee on the pods

Urine could be successfully recycled to fertilise crops, according to university researchers. A team from the University of Sydney School of Civil Engineering has examined the effectiveness of reusing nutrients from human waste and say there is growing evidence that the use of human urine in agriculture is completely viable.

5. A concrete idea for reusing industrial waste

The university’s School of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering is investigating new technologies for the sustainable processing of industrial waste and by-products. One example of this could see fly ash—a byproduct of coal combustion—used as a supplement in concrete mix and its manufacture.


Would you like more information about studying civil engineering or environmental sciences at the University of Sydney? Email OzTREKK Admissions Shannon Tilston at shannon@oztrekk.com!

Friday, August 28th, 2015

Generous donation to support Farmbot for the People project

Anonymous $1.5-million donation to robotics research aims to make technology accessible to the average Australian farmer.

Project coordinator Salah Sukkarieh Professor of Robotics and Intelligent Systems and Director of Research and Innovation at the Australian Centre for Field Robotics says the affordable farmbots will give farmers a tool to help better manage their farms.

University of Sydney IT and Engineering

Professor Salah Sukkarieh and Mark Calleija work on the Ladybird (Photo credit: University of Sydney)

“It will also help them reduce the time spent on laborious farm duties, crop and animal monitoring, as well as invasive pest management,” he said.

“The technology will provide our farming community with low-cost platforms that can be adapted easily to meet the farmer’s individual needs.

“The new technology will assist agriculturalists in taking their farms into the future as well as provide an education tool for the next generation of growers.

“We will develop two low-cost Farmbot devices – the EmuBot™ and the KangaBot™. The platforms will be rugged, robust, battery and solar powered, energy efficient, simple to operate, and easily adaptable to meet different faming needs,” the University of Sydney Engineering School professor said.

The two variants will capture a wide range of agriculture applications from livestock, to tree crops and vegetable rows.

“We want to give all farmers the opportunity to have access to transformational technology by creating an affordable robot,” says senior technical developer Mark Calleija.

“Access to low cost robots would positively impact the quality of life for our farmers and their communities.

“It would help them address input and labour costs and improve efficiencies.

“It will also provide a generic platform that will enable farmers to grow technological capability on their farms as well as provide an educational tool for next generation growers.

“The mainstream use of agricultural robotics will also encourage a renewed interest in farming and attract a new technology-savvy generation back to the farm,” said Calleija.

With Australia’s population expected to reach around 38 million by 2060, the Australian Productivity Commission’s July 2015 update report said future growth in Australia’s agricultural sector “is likely to depend on the more productive use of land, water and other natural endowments through the application of the most up-to-date equipment and technologies against the background of changing productive potential.”

Professor Archie Johnston, dean Faculty of Engineering and Information Technologies, said this type of generous donation would accelerate researchers’ efforts in working collaboratively with industry groups to deliver innovative technologies that will inevitably revolutionise farming techniques.

With every gift to the University of Sydney, donors become part of INSPIRED – the Campaign to support the University of Sydney, which aims to raise $600 million by 2017.

University of Sydney Mechatronic Engineering

Mechatronic engineering is the study of computer-controlled systems that form the basis of the ‘intelligent’ products that are ubiquitous in today’s society.

Drawing on aspects of disciplines such as mechanical, electrical and systems engineering, as well as computer science, it provides the foundation for cutting-edge technologies in fields including robotics, manufacturing, aerospace and bioengineering. The University of Sydney Engineering School offers an exciting range of undergraduate and postgraduate research opportunities in mechatronic engineering and robotics.

Apply to the University of Sydney Engineering School!


Contact OzTREKK for more information about studying mechatronic engineering or agriculture at the University of Sydney. Email OzTREKK Australian Engineering Schools Admissions Officer Rachel Brady at rachel@oztrekk.com or call 1-866-698-7355.

Monday, February 9th, 2015

University of Sydney takes leadership position on carbon reduction

In a first for Australian universities, the University of Sydney has announced it will substantially reduce the carbon footprint of its listed share portfolio over the next three years. By setting a reduction target of 20 percent relative to the footprint of its current listed equity composite benchmark, the university is visibly demonstrating its commitment to addressing climate change.

University of Sydney Environmental Sciences

Study environmental sciences at Sydney

The decision follows a comprehensive review taking into account leading practice on sensitive investments, and the current global views and actions surrounding fossil fuel investments.

The review considered a number of options, including whether to divest entirely from the fossil fuels industry. It also highlighted the complexities of reducing an investment portfolio’s carbon footprint. For example, divesting entirely from all companies with an interest in fossil fuels could result in divesting from companies that are also committed to building renewable energy sources. In addition, there are many companies that do not produce fossil fuels who are nonetheless heavy emitters.

Based on the review’s findings, the University of Sydney believes a whole of portfolio approach to reducing its carbon footprint is an effective and meaningful way to address climate change.

In an innovative step, the university will ask its listed equity fund managers to build a portfolio of investments that enables the University to reduce its carbon footprint by 20 percent—in just three years. The university will measure and publicly report progress towards this goal annually.

The University of Sydney‘s Vice-Principal (Operations) Sara Watts said, “The new strategy balances the university’s obligation to manage funds wisely on behalf of our students, staff, donors and alumni with its desire to address climate change and protect Australia’s heritage.

“This strategy will give the university a legitimate voice in the conversation on how organisations can best address climate change risks. The University’s strategy signals to the entire market that investors are concerned about the impact of climate change and expect contributing sectors to respond with plans to reduce their emissions.”

In addition, the University of Sydney

• has become a signatory to the CDP (formerly known as the Carbon Disclosure Project), the world’s largest source of company-reported emissions data, and a global movement urging companies to disclose carbon emissions and set targets to reduce them;

• has joined the UN-led Portfolio Decarbonisation Coalition, a coalition of investors who collectively are committed to decarbonising $US100 billion of its investment assets;

• will incorporate carbon footprint reporting capability into the selection and review of listed equity investment managers; and

• will further expand its Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) framework to put in place ethical investment standards that support the economic and social rights of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.


Find out more about studying environmental sciences at the University of Sydney. Contact OzTREKK Australian Environmental Sciences Admissions Officer Rachel Brady at rachel@oztrekk.com or call toll free in Canada at 1-866-698-7355 for more information.

Monday, October 27th, 2014

Sydney Science discusses managing diseases to protect the world’s food supply

Efforts to control plant diseases which contribute significantly to global hunger was the centerpiece of this year’s Sydney Science Forum—a free public lecture—at the University of Sydney.

The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates two-thirds of the world’s population are either underfed or starving, and plant diseases play a major role in food shortages. Global loss of crops due to plant disease is conservatively estimated to be between 10 and 30 percent.

University of Sydney environmental sciences

Study agriculture at the University of Sydney

The University of Sydney‘s Professor Robert Park is one of a team of scientists leading the charge against cereal rust. His Oct. 15 lecture, “Rust Never Sleeps: Combating Plant Rust Diseases to Protect Our Food Supplies,” outlined the magnitude of damage caused by cereal rust diseases, the implications of their rampant spread and what needs to be done to control them.

Rust diseases are caused by fungal pathogens which are among the most harmful pests in agriculture and horticulture. Characterised by rusty-coloured spores, they are a particularly high biosecurity threat.

According to Professor Park, their abundance in cereal plants is a major concern as cereals are grown in greater quantities and provide more food energy worldwide than any other crop. Wheat is the most widely grown crop in the world, with demand expected to increase by 60 per cent by 2050.

“Ironically, it’s their popularity as a food source that has imperilled them,” Professor Park said.

“We’ve been domesticating cereal plants for around 8,000 years and our efforts to develop better yielding and disease resistant crops have had the negative effect of guiding the evolution of crop pathogens.

“Such man-guided evolution has led to the emergence of new rust races, at times causing devastating epidemics.

“We’ve inadvertently selected new pathogen strains that have, at times, caused crop failure and famine.”

Professor Park’s has been conducting Australia-wide analyses of wheat, barley and oat rust pathogens for the last 25 years, most recently looking at tackling cereal rusts through the development of resistance genes. His research on the Australia-wide population genetics of four major rusts in cereals has provided the basis for national resistance breeding efforts for the past two decades. Genetic resistance to rust diseases in wheat alone was estimated to save Australia more than $1 billion AUD in 2009.

Professor Park is also involved in the global effort to tackle a new race of stem rust, known as Ug99, which has emerged in several East African countries in recent years. There is a high risk of Ug99 spreading across to India in the immediate future and scope for it to even find its way to Australia.

Professor Park also discussed the work of his former colleague, Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Dr Norman Borlaug, during “Rust Never Sleeps.” Dr Borlaug is known as the “Father of the Green Revolution” because of his work to improve grain varieties. The Green Revolution helped double the world’s food output from 1960 to 2000, doubling India’s wheat harvest between 1965 and 1972.

Professor Park currently holds the Judith and David Coffey Chair in Sustainable Agriculture at the Institute and is the Director of Cereal Rust Research at the Sydney Faculty of Agriculture and Environment.

Sydney Faculty of Agriculture and Environment

The faculty has access to some of the world’s best-equipped and newest research facilities, including the Centre for Carbon, Water and Food, and the world renowned Plant Breeding Institute. The faculty’s substantial field stations in Australia include 1,200 hectares of farmland, and house state-of-the-art research facilities with enviable amenities for large-scale field studies in agricultural science, food science, environmental studies, ecology, bush-fire research and more.

The Master of Agriculture and Environment is focused on providing students with the knowledge and skills necessary to tackle and create solutions for our time in areas such as food security, climate change, and management of carbon, water and the environment within the changing complexity of global markets and world economics.

If you have a degree in science, economics or related work experience (accreditation subject to approval) the Master of Agriculture and Environment is the degree for you. Students will gain important hands-on experience, which is highly valued by employers in both the public and private sectors. Within this articulated degree, students will complete a research project that provides the opportunity to identify and address critical and current problems and issues, and develop skills in project management, effective communication and cross-disciplinary thinking. A range of specialist streams is available to those wishing to target specific areas of interest.

Program: Master of Agriculture and Environment
Location: Camperdown Campus, Sydney, New South Wales
Duration: 1.5 years
Semester intakes: March 2015 and July 2015
Application deadline: January 31, 2015 for the March 2015 intake; however, it is recommended that you apply as early as possible in order to allow yourself time for the pre-departure process.

Admission requirements

A successful applicant for admission to this program will

  • (a) hold a relevant bachelor’s degree with a credit average or an equivalent qualification; or
  • (b) have completed the requirements for the award of the Graduate Certificate in Agriculture and Environment from the University of Sydney or equivalent qualification.

In exceptional circumstances the Dean may admit applicants without these qualifications who, in the opinion of the faculty, have qualifications and evidence of experience and achievement sufficient to successfully undertake the award.

Graduate opportunities

Opportunities for skilled graduates are in growing fields such as carbon, water and energy trading, food security, food futures, ecohydrology, and sustainability, complementing recent developments in catchment management, land rehabilitation and molecular science. Graduates are employed in agribusiness and marketing firms, merchant banks, commodity trading companies, environmental consultancies, and scientific research organisations around the world, government departments and the private sector.

Apply to the Master of Agriculture and Environment!


Find out more about studying agricultural science and other environmental sciences at the University of Sydney. Contact OzTREKK Australian Environmental Sciences Admissions Officer Rachel Brady at rachel@oztrekk.com or call toll free in Canada at 1-866-698-7355 for more information.

Thursday, August 28th, 2014

Sydney Engineering researchers study recycling to benefit agriculture

Urine could be successfully recycled to fertilise crops according to University of Sydney civil engineering researchers who have examined the effectiveness of reusing nutrients from the human waste.

University of Sydney Engineering School

Find out more about civil engineering at Sydney

Dr Federico Maggi, senior lecturer in the Sydney School of Civil Engineering and expert in environmental modelling says there is growing evidence that the use of human urine in agriculture is completely viable.

“Our preliminary results indicate that human urine can be effectively used extensively in agriculture to reduce the production and use of mineral commercial fertilisers.

“It contains the highest levels of nutrients among all the human excreta and yields considerable amounts of nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium. These are the most essential nutrients for the growth of plants, and substantially all micronutrients plants need for healthy growth,” the Sydney Engineering lecturer explained.

The researchers believe the model they have developed could be used to increase the effectiveness of urine fertilisation as well as crop yield, substantially lowering costs in terms of supplied nutrient.

Fiona Tang Ph.D. candidate, who studied the use of urine during her Bachelor of Civil Engineering degree, explains: “In human urine we have complex compounds that can be broken down into simpler molecules that plants and crops actually want to take up as their food source. Soybean, cabbage, cauliflower for example flourish with it.”

As part of her undergraduate studies Fiona conducted a survey investigating attitudes towards the use of human urine as a substitution to mineral fertiliser. She found there was a high acceptance level to its application in agriculture.

“Human waste has been used as organic fertiliser since ancient times. Its use in agriculture is still commonly practiced in many areas around the world, including parts of Southeast Asia and Africa,” Fiona says.

“Over seventy percent of the respondents in the survey were very positive towards the idea of applying human urine in agriculture and were willing to buy and consume crops grown by urine-based fertiliser,” she says.

Fiona says that unless we find alternatives to phosphorus or a similar mineral the world will potentially run out of these natural resources.

“Extensive reliance on mineral fertilizer is consuming copious amounts of fossil energy and mineral resources. Phosphorus, especially, is depleting and some studies have revealed the reserves of phosphate rock that are economically exploitable will only last for about a hundred years at current extraction rates. Recycling nutrients from human urine is a promising solution to the depletion of mineral resources,” Fiona said.

Taking the concept forward the researchers say it would be possible to design a toilet system that separates human waste at the point of deposit.

“Years ago society baulked at the idea of separating their household waste into recyclable and non-recyclable bins, now in Australia it is second nature,” states Dr Maggi.

University of Sydney School of Civil Engineering

The Sydney School of Civil Engineering offers students a well-rounded understanding of the discipline, combined with the much sought-after design, research and problem-solving skills needed to help create and manage sustainable built and natural environments.

Civil engineering is behind many aspects of everyday life we take for granted. It incorporates the intricate behind-the-scenes planning and design, and the construction, maintenance and all-important recycling of community facilities and infrastructures all over the world. It’s why our high-rise buildings, roads, bridges, railways, power stations, airports, dams and harbours are safe, efficient and easy to use.

The University of Sydney is the top ranked Australian university and 15th in the world for civil engineering and their leadership is reflected in the outcomes of teaching and research, and leading alumni.

Master of Engineering (Civil Engineering)

A postgraduate specialisation in civil engineering will teach you about planning, designing and testing structures within the built environment. It is concerned with all types of infrastructures including dams, bridges, pipelines, roads, towers and buildings. You may engage in areas of study including steel/concrete structures, environmental geotechnics, advanced water resources management and numerical methods in engineering.

Program: Master of Engineering (Civil Engineering)
Location: Sydney, New South Wales
Duration: 1.5 years
Semester intakes: March and July
Application deadline: January 31, 2015 for the March 2015 intake; however, applicants are strongly encouraged to apply a minimum of three months in advance of the program start date.

Apply to the Sydney Engineering School!


Contact OzTREKK for more information about studying civil engineering or agriculture at the University of Sydney Engineering School. Email OzTREKK Australian Engineering Schools Admissions Officer Rachel Brady at rachel@oztrekk.com or call toll free in Canada at 1-866-698-7355 to find out how you can study in Australia.

Thursday, April 24th, 2014

Sydney geosciences professor talks about disaster response

In 2010, a tsunami generated by an earthquake in Chile led to much of Australia’s east coast being put on a tsunami alert.

“The detection and warning systems all operated perfectly but what didn’t function was people’s response—with hundreds, possibly thousands, of people flocking to beaches to witness the arriving tsunami,” said Professor Dale Dominey-Howes, from the University of Sydney’s School of Geosciences.

University of Sydney Environmental Sciences

Sydney studies natural disasters, like floods

The incident perfectly illustrates some of the complexities of responding to natural hazards and their associated disasters, including how our perception of the risk influences our response.

Last month, Professor Dominey-Howes presented “Planet Terror: Is Earth Becoming More Dangerous?” at a Sydney Science Forum where they discussed what people can we do about preparing for, and responding to, natural disasters.

Professor Dominey-Howes leads the university’s Hazards Research Group in examining some of the major types of natural hazards such as earthquakes, volcanoes, floods, tropical cyclones, epidemics and even asteroid impacts with the Earth.

“Understanding where, when, how and why natural hazards and disasters occur is an essential building block for supporting the ‘tool box of safety risk management’ used by our emergency services and governments,” said Professor Dominey-Howes.

“But how individuals, families, communities, governments and businesses all collaborate in the preparation and response parts of the disaster cycle is as important to successful disaster management as informing and educating people about a threat.”

For us to improve our disaster resilience we need to recognise that emergency and government services cannot work in isolation, Professor Dominey-Howes explains.

From individuals to local government to the life support utilities that support our modern society—disaster awareness and the ability to work in partnership are crucial.

“Individuals and families need to take personal responsibility—’safety starts with self’ as I put it. To help people do that, outreach and education of the public has to be appropriate, especially for those who are most vulnerable,” said the School of Geosciences professor.

“Physically and economically we are all at potential risk from natural hazards but some individuals, communities and societies are more at risk than others and sustain greater losses following natural hazard events and their associated disasters.

“That vulnerability might be because of location or because they are socially isolated, physically challenged or less able to access education materials. Taking that into account is part of successful disaster management,” said Professor Dominey-Howes.

Sydney School of Geosciences

Part of the Faculty of Science, School of Geosciences at the University of Sydney focuses on the three GEOs the disciplines in geoscience form a broad spectrum of knowledge about the Earth.

Geography is the study of Earth as the home of people. It addresses human-environmental relations, the resulting spatial organization of human activity, as well as interactions with the physical environment, its resources and their geological determinants.

Geology and geophysics investigates these determinants, from the Earth’s origins and earliest evolution, through its four and a half billion-year history, to the dynamics of how it is currently evolving.

The School of Geosciences also contributes to teaching within the Master of Human Rights, Master of Sustainability and the Master of Development Studies.


Are you interested in environmental sciences at the University of Sydney? Email OzTREKK’s Australian Environmental Sciences Admissions Officer Rachel Brady at rachel@oztrekk.com or call 1-866-698-7355 for more information about how you can study in Australia.

Monday, April 7th, 2014

Sydney scientists introduce Plan Bee to South East Asia

University of Sydney project to encourage the spread of beekeeping in Cambodia, Vietnam and Laos is providing benefits for both local growers and the native bee population.

University of Sydney

Study environmental sciences at the University of Sydney

Researchers are teaching the basics of beekeeping at six universities in South East Asia as part of a project led by Professor Bill Rathmell, Professor Peter Sharp and Dr Daniel Tan from the Faculty of Agriculture and Environment.

With funding from DFAT’s Public Sector Linkages Program, they are looking to improve agricultural practices and the way agriculture is taught at universities in Indochina.

Beekeeping is useful both for honey production and to help pollinate a variety of local crops including sunflower, longan, lychee, cashew and mango, said Dr Tan.

He added, “The unsustainable harvesting of honey from wild bees has become a major problem, causing the extinction of some native bee colonies. Harvesters also run a high risk of stepping on unexploded mines while looking for bee hives in the Cambodian forests.”

Dr Tan recently travelled to North-West Cambodia to monitor progress on the project with University of Sydney graduate Sam Malfroy, who works for Plant Health Australia and is assisting with the beekeeping training program.

Dr Tan said, “There has been terrific progress in the two years since the project began. Mean Chey University has developed more than forty-five hives of Apis cerana, the native Asian honey bee, and is providing training for local growers and smallholders.

“It has become the largest beekeeper and training provider in Cambodia and the university’s Vice-Rector, Dr Yorn Try, has even written a textbook on beekeeping for universities.

“Our work has benefited greatly from the expertise of Professor Pham Hong Thai of Hanoi University of Agriculture, a world-leader in Asian beekeeping.”

Sam Malfroy added that learning to manage hives of the Asian honey bee was critical for the sustainability of native bees in Cambodia.

“Cambodia has a great diversity of native bees, including the red dwarf honey bee, the giant honey bee and stingless bees. Unfortunately, uncontrolled harvesting of these wild colonies is leading to the extinction of these bees in some areas.

“Learning to manage the Asian honey bee not only helps provide an income through honey production and improved quality and quantity of agricultural produce through pollination, but it also helps protect the amazing diversity of bees in Cambodia from wild harvesting.”

The project is also seeking to introduce improved mushroom and cropping practices to boost the income of farmers in North-West Cambodia.


Find out more about studying environmental sciences at the University of Sydney.

Contact OzTREKK Australian Environmental Sciences Admissions Officer Rachel Brady at rachel@oztrekk.com or call toll free in Canada at 1-866-698-7355 for more information.

Monday, October 7th, 2013

Dr David Suzuki speaks at the University of Sydney

Dr David Suzuki, one of the world’s most respected environmental activists, spoke at the University of Sydney‘s Great Hall recently in a special event co-presented by the newly launched Sydney Environment Institute and Sydney Ideas.

In his lecture, titled The Challenge of the 21st Century: Setting the Real Bottom Line, Dr Suzuki discussed how science is now authenticating what traditional people have been saying for centuries—that we are all biological beings with a critical dependence on clean air, water, soil and sunlight for our well-being.

University of Sydney

Learn more about Environmental Sciences at Sydney

Dr Suzuki, Professor Emeritus at the University of British Columbia, also offered a new set of “bottom line” priorities that can be adopted to ensure the diversity needed for life in the 21st century is sustained.

This lecture is one of the first public events for Sydney Environment Institute (SEI). Co-Director Professor David Schlosberg sees the work of Dr Suzuki as aligning with some of the fundamental aims of this cross-disciplinary group.

“The Sydney Environment Institute has been founded to address two key questions: How do we understand and redesign the fundamental relationship between human communities and the natural world that sustains them? And how can people and societies adapt positively and constructively to environmental change?” he says.

“David Suzuki has been addressing these same questions for decades. In addition, his work serves as a model for how to bring academic environmental study out into the larger community—something else the SEI is dedicated to. We are very happy to host him just a week after our official launch at the University of Sydney.”

The timing of Dr Suzuki’s visit also coincided with a reignited environmental debate in light of the change of government recently, and the Sydney professor believes that he should be thanked for being there at the right moment to add to the voices criticizing the new government’s first moves on environmental policy: “—that it is unacceptable that knowledge about climate change and its social and economic impacts will not be supported and heard,” said Professor Schlosberg.


The Faculty of Science at the University of Sydney provides its students with the world-class teaching and the state-of-the-art facilities needed to succeed in numerous scientific disciplines. As a research-intensive institution, the Sydney Faculty of Science puts a strong emphasis on imbuing its students with the critical scientific skills needed to analyze and expound upon the tough challenges of modern scientific inquiry.

Find out more about studying environmental sciences at the University of Sydney. Contact OzTREKK for more information about science degrees at Australian universities.


Tuesday, September 17th, 2013

Sydney Environment Institute takes holistic approach to tackling climate change

Some of Australia’s leading sustainability thinkers across a broad spectrum of disciplines will join forces to seek innovative solutions to climate change with the launch of the new Sydney Environment Institute (SEI) at the University of Sydney today, Tuesday Sept. 17.

University of Sydney Science Degrees

Study environmental science at Sydney

As one of the nation’s first wholly interdisciplinary environment networks, the SEI will conduct cutting-edge research, bringing together historians, marine biologists, environmental scientists, veterinarians, urban planners, and other researchers across the University of Sydney’s 16 faculties in pursuit of integrated knowledge and action on global ecological issues.

From climate change to food security, cultural studies and sustainable business, the SEI draws upon the University of Sydney’s research strengths to unite academics to understand and redesign the relationship between human communities and the natural world.

“Any hopes of tackling climate change will require such broad thinking, combining both scientific approaches and a keen awareness of how human societies need to adapt to our warming world,” says co-Director of the Institute Professor Iain McCalman.

“We need to face up to how best we can live in this extraordinarily changing world, which is changing faster than any of us realize,” he says. “What can we do to live with these changes, to make something good and positive out of these forces we cant stop? That’s our mission.”

SEI researchers will work across seven nodes that mirror the multifaceted nature of sustainability issues worldwide: climate change and society; environment and culture; Australian marine and maritime culture; the human animal research network; sustainable cities; food security; and sustainable business and balanced enterprise.

At the launch event, co-presented with Sydney Ideas, Professor McCalman will discuss the goals of the Institute and draw upon his forthcoming book, The Reef: A Passionate History (Penguin), a ground-breaking analysis of the shifting status of the Great Barrier Reef from colonial labyrinth of terror to today’s global treasure.

Importantly, the SEI will also raise awareness of these issues through several planned public outreach programs, working with non-government organizations, government bodies, museums and the private sector to share their findings on environmental action.

In one of the first events co-presented by the Institute on Wednesday 25 September, internationally renowned environmental campaigner Canadian Dr David Suzuki will deliver the public lecture “The Challenge of the 21st Century: Setting the Real Bottom Line” at the University of Sydney’s Great Hall.

An inclusive approach to environmental problems can help counter the undue criticisms facing the scientific community in the wake of serious climate threats, Professor McCalman says.

“We can’t afford to neglect that people also have feelings about places and changes to their lives; about their homes and places they love disappearing, and these human sides of the problem need to be addressed,” the Sydney professor stated, adding that everyone needs to work with both things: imagination and a love of beauty, as well as with science and technology, which has a great capacity to solve problems and change things.

“If we don’t take people with us, we get nowhere.”


Find out more about studying environmental science at the University of Sydney.

Contact OzTREKK to find out more about science degrees offered at Australian universities.


Tuesday, April 17th, 2012

Program of the Month: Environmental Programs

Program of the Month: Environmental Programs

We know we’re as predictable as Edmonton’s winter temperatures, but we’re excited to feature some leading-edge environmental programs offered by our Australian university partners. Australia is notorious for its approach to water sustainability and environmentalism and the programs we showcase this month not only complement Australia’s approach, but also prepare students for the environmental industry across the globe.

University: James Cook University
Course: Master of Education (Sustainability)
Duration: 1.5 Years
Description: The course explores local, regional, national and international issues of sustainability and stewardship of national resources. Students are exposed to issues associated with local ecosystems, including the Great Barrier Reef and Wet Tropics World Heritage Areas, and gain an appreciation of these outstanding regional natural assets within a global context, and the roles that local communities may have in contributing to stewardship.


University: Monash University
Course: Master of Sustainability
Duration: 1.5 Years
Description: This interdisciplinary course is designed to meet the needs of graduates from a wide range of backgrounds who wish to enhance their qualifications for careers in environmental sustainability, corporate sustainability management, or sustainable development, encompassing policy and analysis, planning, consulting, education, advocacy and management. It is also designed for those who wish to broaden and deepen their understanding and experience to enable societal, organizational and individual change and responsible action to support sustainability both domestically and internationally. The Master of Sustainability comprises three distinct streams, including environmental and sustainability, corporate and environmental sustainability management and international development and environmental analysis.


University: University of Melbourne
Course: Master of Urban Horticulture
Duration: 2 Years
Description: The University of Melbourne Master of Urban Horticulture is designed for students seeking professional employment or research careers in the design, implementation and management of urban landscapes. They provide you with an understanding of the biological, socio-cultural and environmental factors that shape horticultural systems so that you can develop new programs and operations for urban improvement through, for example, design of public open spaces, revegetation and restoration projects, and nursery and greenhouse management.


University: University of Queensland
Course: Master of Integrated Water Management
Duration: 1.5 Years
Description: The program draws on the expertise of international leaders in teaching and research across a wide breadth of disciplines, taking a multidisciplinary whole-of-water-cycle approach that equips students with practical tools and skills for adopting innovative solutions to local, regional, national and international water resource issues. Students will develop the strategic, managerial and technical skills they need to advance in the water sector. They will become familiar with all aspects of integrated water resource management; be capable of providing water management expertise to help reduce poverty through equitable and sustainable use of water; be skilled to provide technical and managerial input into planning, design and operation of water projects and facilities; understand the principles of managing water supply, wastewater treatment and urban infrastructure projects; recognise the socio-economic factors impacting effective water solutions; and understand the governance and institutional frameworks underpinning water resource management. This program is also offered at Monash University.


University: University of Sydney
Course: Master of Agriculture
Duration: 1 Year
Description: The Master of Agriculture is focused on providing students with the know-how and skills to address and create solutions for the most challenging issues of our time affecting agriculture and the management of our natural resources, such as food security, climate change, carbon, water and the environment.
The course considers these issues from the perspectives of science and economics, enabling students from different educational backgrounds to extend their knowledge and develop skills in a number of related disciplines and also to apply this learning in a curriculum that includes field trips, work experience, practical classes and research.


More Programs


Apply now to Australian University Environmental Programs!