Pushing the boundaries of what we can do with high-performance materials, including metals, ceramics and polymers, electronic materials, nanomaterials, composites and biomaterials – that’s the core mission of researchers within the field of materials sciences.  

Recently, we’ve been developing scaffolds and implants for tissue engineering that allow for both imaging and therapeutics delivery. We’ve also been investigating ‘orally delivered’ nanomedicines for use, for example, as an alternative to opioids for the alleviation of pain or as combat against MRSA infections. And in the never-ending quest to uncover the materials for next generation’s technology, there are semi-conductors that can be grown for ultra-small devices and quantum computing.

Our research strengths

UNSW Science is a world leader in developing advanced materials for sustainability – those that simply consume less energy – as well as improving manufacturing outcomes across a wide range of industries including transport, electronics, and energy generation.  

Our work doesn’t end with production, however. The UNSW SMaRT Centre is home to the science of microrecycling, a recycling initiative for saving our precious resources and solving the world’s biggest waste challenges. Among our other pioneering areas are healthier, lead-free brasses, graphene production, and the technology behind alternative forms of therapeutic drug delivery.

Research impacts

Our researchers are developing new materials, instruments and systems that innovate and improve conditions for people around the world. Beyond informing the development of tomorrow’s technologies, we also partner with industry to transform their work into readily available, practical, real-world solutions. 

Professor Michelle Simmons, Fellow of the American Physical Society, is Director of the Centre for Quantum Computation & Communication Technology, a centre dedicated to the international race for a scalable quantum computer. Proceeding in (quantum) leaps and bounds, the centre is excelling towards this goal, with advances in quantum networking – a prerequisite for the quantum internet – and the ‘untangling’ of quantum entanglement. 


For students interested in Materials Sciences, the options for research are manifold, from undergrad opportunities through to postgrad and beyond. 

  • For students with exceptionally high ATARs, research opportunities are available from the very beginning of your degree with the Talented Students Program. The Talented Students Program gives invitations to certain students, matching them with PhD students or Postdocs based on mutual interests, resulting in an advance taste of research life. This program is available from your first year and is by invitation only. 

  • Working within a culture of innovation and development, you’ll add to the global body of knowledge with original research and scientific insight. Explore the myriad ways we can improve the materials used in a variety of fields, focus on sustainability and/or reshape the way we work and live. 

    Degree options include:

  • Enhance the field of materials science with a research contribution that pushes the boundaries of what we know. When you undertake a PhD with us, you’ll be working in a collaborative environment alongside some of the discipline’s top minds to demonstrate original insights by way of an original thesis, and other academic products such as posters, presentations and publications for peer-review. 

    PhD options include:

    Perhaps the most crucial step in any PhD is the selection of both study area and supervisor, the academic who will help and guide you to fulfill the potential of your research and thesis.