The University of Adelaide was founded on philanthropy and the ideal of “giving back to society”. This ethos is ingrained in the University’s culture, and ever-present in the research and education focus the University has in the humanitarian and development sectors.

Worldwide, some 2.3 billion people lack access to basic sanitation facilities and over 880 million people lack basic drinking water services. Approximately 1.2 billion people lack access to electricity and around 3 billion people rely on biomass burning cookstoves. The consequences of the lack of sufficient resources and infrastructure are devastating, and result in over 1.5 million people dying from drinking non-treated and non-potable water each year [1] . The use of primitive solid-fuel burning cookstoves also has dire consequences and results in over 4.3 million premature deaths; and a lack of electricity to 1.2 billion people limits access to medicine, lighting, and safety. Almost 1 billion people are illiterate [2] , 836 million live in extreme poverty. The University of Adelaide has researchers with capabilities to help address these problems.

The Humanitarian and Development Solutions Initiative at the University of Adelaide provides an opportunity to link government, non-government organisations, corporations and communities to researchers and their capabilities to help solve these problems. The Initiative brings together world-class researchers, supported by modern high-tech facilities and an innovative culture to make a real different to the world.

The problems are complex, but the motivation is not.


  1. AusAid 2012 (AusAid, Water, Sanitation, Hygiene 2012)
  2. UNESCO Institute for Statistics 2015