University of Canberra
Research Themes

CURF is a collaborative platform for information on its four key research themes in the Canberra region and beyond.  It aims to provide opportunities for the sharing of information on the research themes and within and between university, research, federal, state and local government institutions.  CURF is an international leader in undertaking high quality and collaborative research aimed at delivering policy relevant research outcomes pertaining to CURF's research themes.

Climate Change and Sustainability

Led by Professor WIll Steffen, the Climate Change and Sustainability Theme prioritise research in climate science, climate adaptation, coastal management and sustainable futures.

We are already living in a changing climate. As cities, towns and rural communities continue to develop and grow short and long term considerations of our environment is crucial. Some of these considerations include the provision of green spaces for combatting the urban heat island effect and a continuing emphasis on water resilience. Likewise, natural ecosystems will also need to adapt to climate change. Development in Canberra has a big impact on the capability of natural ecosystems to shift as the climate changes.

CURF researchers work closely with government, industry and the community to produce interdisciplinary research.


Health and Wellbeing

Led by Professor Helen Berry, the Health and Wellbeing theme is dedicated to focusing on delivering integrated research for healthy and sustainable communities relevant to urban and regional planning.

It explores the complex links between the natural and built environments, their interactions with the social environment, and their impact on the emotional and physical wellbeing of the community, and of families and individuals.

The research group has high-end survey development, design and analysis expertise used to understand the key factors influencing health and wellbeing, including (amongst others) adaptive capacity, social capital, social identity, caring for country and land, and connection with natural and built environments, as well as the way that changes such as global warming and environmental degradation can affect these. W

e conduct our research with an appreciation of the way in which communities are shaped by their physical location and the unique challenges facing people living across the spectrum from inner cities to rural, regional and remote areas.


Settlements and Infrastructure

Led by Professor Barbara Norman, the Settlements and Infrastructure theme is focussed on developing sustainable future pathways for the built environment in Canberra, the greater Canberra region, and beyond.

The overall objective of this research is to find new pathways for more sustainable cities and regions including promoting sustainable and long term growth in cities and rural locations.

CURF had its origins in the realisation that urbanisation, population pressures, the impacts of climate change and an awareness of the environmental and social impacts of urban growth were driving an increasing interest in research for evidence based decision making on cities. 


Green Growth

Led by Professor Bob Webb, the Green Growth Theme provides innovative research insights for the emergent green growth industry.

Linked closely with concepts and innovations in the sustainable development space, this theme seeks to build on collaborations within Canberra and beyond to better balance economic and growth with increased development.

This theme identifies opportunities and strategies to implement long term business models and plans for the benefit of the greater Canberra region with the appropriate considerations given to climate change impacts, with particularly emphasis on low carbon energy alternatives.