How do we cultivate a sustainable relationship with our planet, and balance human demands with conservation efforts? Finding solutions to environmental challenges, including increasing emissions, resource depletion, waste management, fragile and threatened ecosystems, and unsustainable consumption, requires collaboration between universities, industries, landowners, supply chains and the wider community. At UniSA, cooperation defines our approach to environment and water focused research.

We conduct multidisciplinary research that connects partners to researchers from a range of fields, including environmental science, engineering, construction management, geospatial science, project management, business, architecture, design, education, governance and policy, planning and psychology.

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What we do

Environmental and human exposure assessment


Characterisation and remediation of contaminated sites


Water characterisation and valorisation


Exploring environmental impacts on the human body


Conducting ecological-economic modelling

Inspiring young talent through project-based PhD opportunities is another way that we work with industry to support thought leadership and address the complex problems of our partners. Our researchers and students work with industry on a variety of projects, including:

  • Finding new strategies for waste reduction and consumption
  • Promoting low carbon living and behaviour change to achieve more sustainable cities 
  • Using sunlight to deliver safe drinking water
  • Developing tools to accurately track water-related costs
  • Using technology to support wastewater-based epidemiology
  • Understanding the impact of sub-glacial heat flow.

With expert researchers and state-of-the-art facilities, we have the capability to work with partners and the community to create and implement sustainable strategies and solutions that restore and protect our environmental resources.

Our partners

At UniSA, we match our research strengths and capability with the demands and opportunities of our partners, and maximise the mutual benefits of engagement.

South Australian Water Corporation
City of Salisbury
Tindo Solar
Arris agricultural and environmental
SMR Automotive
Nereus Cost Action
ECOST

UniSA's Enterprise Hub

The Enterprise Hub creates and sustains partnerships with organisations of all sizes, leveraging UniSA’s industry expertise and experience to solve problems, innovate and add value. Discover a range of services that can help you achieve your business goals.

Why partner with UniSA?

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SA’s No.1 UNIVERSITY FOR RESEARCH IN ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES

The only university in SA to have all its assessed Environmental Sciences research rated well-above world standard. 2018 Excellence in Research for Australia (ERA).

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ONE OF AUSTRALIA’S LEADING UNIVERSITIES FOR ENGINEERING RESEARCH

UniSA’s Engineering research rated well above world-class – 2018 Excellence in Research for Australia (ERA)

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No.1 IN AUSTRALIA FOR RESEARCH IMPACT AND ENGAGEMENT

2018 ARC Engagement and Impact Assessment (EI), Combined Impact – Approach to Impact and Engagement on Assessed
Fields.

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#1 YOUNG UNIVERSITY IN AUSTRALIA FOR INDUSTRY COLLABORATIONS

2022 THE Young University Rankings – Industry Income Indicator.

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#1 YOUNG UNIVERSITY IN AUSTRALIA FOR INDUSTRY INCOME

2022 THE World University Rankings

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100% OF OUR ASSESSED RESEARCH RATED AT OR ABOVE WORLD-CLASS

2018 Excellence in Research for Australia (ERA), 4-digit Fields of Research.

Partner case studies

Shatterproof mirrors for safer, lower-emission cars

Through collaborative research, UniSA has partnered with Adelaide-based company SMR Automotive, in a partnership that has delivered the world’s first shatterproof plastic car mirror. By combining materials already available to the car industry, the new design capitalised on existing availability, while also simplifying assembly. 
 
Weighing 50 per cent less than a conventional glass mirror, the plastic mirror has reduced fuel consumption and emissions. Its durability has also increased safety and reliability for the automotive industry, with a significant drop in mirror failure.

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“As an immediate result of the collaboration with UniSA, SMR Australia constructed a world-class advanced surface technology manufacturing facility. By adding this new capability to its manufacturing portfolio, SMR Australia successfully capitalised on this opportunity and is now supplying advanced interior lighting products for a European supercar manufacturer.”

Dr Bastian Stoehr, Design Engineer, SMR

Developing Aboriginal medicines to fight inflammation

Aboriginal Peoples were the first to research and understand the effects of Australian plants, with thousands of years of accumulated knowledge about their properties and how to best to use them. A long-term partnership between UniSA researchers and Chuulangun Aboriginal Corporation is leading the way in understanding the healing potential of plant species used in Aboriginal medicine, while also creating a model for equitable partnerships and benefit sharing between Aboriginal and Western scientific researchers.

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“I hope that this work will continue to provide opportunities for Aboriginal custodians to manage and direct research on their land and receive ongoing income from the intellectual property of their heritage, as well as support the passing down of traditional plant knowledge from Elders to younger generations.”

Dr Susan Semple, Senior Research Fellow, University of South Australia

Explore our research

As Australia’s University of Enterprise, our research centres work closely with industry on projects that deliver new insights, advice and plans for action.  

Experts in environment & water

Meet our researchers and learn about how they are working towards solving industry and partner challenges.

My research encompasses the engineering of surfaces via the application of thin film coatings for use in the optical, automotive, defence, mining and renewable energy sectors. I spent the first decade of my working life in private industry and I still have to this day, retain a great passion for helping industry innovate.

Working in partnership with the Malaysian Automotive and IOT Institute (MARii), my research team and I are investigating commercialisation opportunities for an environmentally tough and durable coating that reflects sunlight’s heat. This technology has broad applications on vehicle, bus, train and household windows, where it helps reduce energy consumption through the need to run air conditioners less.

Professor Peter Murphy
Director, Future Industries Institute

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Professor Peter Murphy
Director, Future Industries Institute

My research brings an economic lens to the water industry to inform decision makers and improve water policy and management in Australia and abroad.

Together with the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research, we developed a decision support tool used to inform investment decisions on fish passage infrastructure on the Mekong. There are many factors limiting the productivity of fisheries, a key source of income for poorer river communities, and this tool gives insight into fish passage strategy development. The tool is now being used by the Asian Development Bank to inform fish passage strategy for Lao PDR, supporting poverty reduction efforts.

Dr Bethany Cooper

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Dr Bethany Cooper

I research how to use accounting concepts and frameworks to improve water management, productivity and farmer profitability.

In collaboration with Sentek Technologies Pty Ltd, potato growers in the Murraylands and grape growers in McLaren Vale, we developed a tool that links growers’ biophysical and business data to the development of more sustainable irrigation. Called ‘WaterLink’, this tool uses sensed soil moisture, microclimate and weather data to help farm businesses know the current needs of crops and what the costs will be to promote growth, avoid disease and maximise productivity.

Associate Professor Joanne Tingey-Holyoak

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Associate Professor Joanne Tingey-Holyoak

Find a research expert

Environment & water training and development

UniSA offers a range of bachelor, master, PhD and Executive Education programs in science, environmental science, engineering and project management that align to the sector’s needs in developing and transforming its future workforce.

Environment & water news from UniSA

Explore our industry sectors

Discover our research capabilities across similar industry sectors.

Key Contacts

Atif Majeed
Manager: Business Development, Enterprise Partnerships Unit
City West Campus

Contact the Enterprise Hub

Get in touch with us to find out how we can support your business needs.

Make an enquiry online or call us to discuss your idea