Search for


Mawson Institute research

Discover how the Mawson Institute’s science and engineering research is underpinning ‘next generation’ manufacturing by developing innovative technology platforms.

Our cutting-edge research is shaping the future of high tech manufacturing, opening up economic opportunities for South Australia and improving people’s quality of life.

Our focus

The strength of our research lies in the application of fundamental science to develop knowledge-based technologies that will increase functionality and provide intelligent solutions for tomorrow’s manufacturing industry. Rapid advances and convergence in our areas of specialty, such as:

  • materials science
  • surface engineering
  • nano-biotechnology
  • biomaterials
  • tissue engineering
  • sensor technology
  • minerals science
  • spatial augmented reality, will lead to new products and production processes that will radically change the scope of manufacturing in Australia.

Cooperative Research Centres

The Mawson Institute is also a key participant in two current Cooperative Research Centres (CRCs). Within the CRC framework we conduct a mix of fundamental and applied research in partnership with our industry collaborators.

Our collaborative engagement with industry and research institutions around the globe feeds into our rich research and teaching environment. We are significant partners in two cooperative research centres, for Advanced Automotive Technology and Wound Management Innovation; and are a significant partner along with the Ian Wark Research Institute in the $73 million Materials and Minerals Research and Teaching Hub.

Our laboratories

The focus and core research areas for the Mawson Institute's key laboratories are:

Short Laboratories

As a part of the Wound Management Innovation Cooperative Research Centre, the Short laboratories research focus is on providing applied research to enhance the healing processes of people. By improving diagnostics, creating novel surgical procedures, and fabricating improved devices for implants to aid in the healing processes, Professor Short’s research group works in three main areas: plasma polymerisation; microplasma discharge engineering; and biomaterials and cell therapy.  

Murphy Laboratories

Associate Professor Murphy and his Thin film Coatings team focus on bridging the gap between fundamental materials science and applied surface engineering, to produce high-tech devices and products for use in the real world. With unique skills in process design and scale-up, the research team specialises in technology development from initial concept through to manufactured parts.

Voelcker Laboratories  

This research group specialises in research relating to porous materials made from anodised alumina or silicon that feature arrays of nanoscale pores with well-controlled size, density and orientation. They use these materials for a variety of applications including chemo- and biosensors, tissue engineering scaffolds, drug delivery systems, template synthesis and molecular separation.  

Vasilev Laboratories

Associate Professor Vasilev leads a team working predominantly on biomedical solutions for healthcare. This includes antibacterial coatings, cell guidance surfaces and drug delivery systems. Other areas of research include investigating the fate of nanoparticles in the environment as well as developing organic solar cells (as an alternative to conventional silicon cells) that convert sunlight directly into electricity.  

Gerson Laboratories

The mission of the Minerals and Materials Science & Technology (MMaST) group is to develop and apply innovative strategies to problems in complex multicomponent systems. In minerals chemistry, fundamental and applied studies focus on geochemistry, hydrometallurgy, flotation and environmental assessment and control. The group has formulated an integrated, multi-technique approach so that a complete understanding of multi-phase systems can be realised. A broad range of research skills and information from new techniques on solid, surface and solution phases provides the basis for prediction, problem-solving and improvement in current processes and development of new processes.

Thomas Laboratories

Spatial Augmented Reality Visualisation focuses on the development of virtual spaces to improve efficiencies in design and manufacturing development and process mapping: integrating digital images directly into the physical environment without the need for an additional display device.

Cowin Laboratories

Professor Allison Cowin has been appointed as the Professor of Regenerative Medicine within the University of South Australia and will establish the University of South Australia Centre for Regenerative Medicine at the Mawson Institute.

Clarke Laboratories

Dr Stephen Clarke’s research team works in the field of polymer science and technology, particularly the development of new polymer (plastic) materials to address the growing issues of climate change. Dr Clarke is a polymer scientist, working with organic and silicon polymers, applying skills to developing new materials specifically in the areas of renewable energy, biofuels, the chemical biorefinery, nano and reverse osmosis membranes and sol-gel water treatment. 

Owens Laboratories

Dr Owens is an environmental chemist who joined the Mawson Institute in 2013 as an ARC Future Fellow to increase the institute’s capacity in environmental science. He currently leads the Environmental Contaminants Group (ECG) which is situated within the Mawson Institute at the University of South Australia and was established to provide innovative solutions and technologies for environmental contamination issues by applying interdisciplinary expertise in biogeochemistry, contaminant and environmental chemistry, ecotoxicology, environmental engineering and materials science. The group thus provides risk assessment and remediation options in a multidisciplinary area conducted at the interface between environmental and material science.


Areas of study and research

+ Click to minimise