Key Research Areas
The Humanitarian and Development Solutions Initiative brings together capabilities and expertise from across all faculties within the University, highlighting the whole-system solution process.
Working together, the Initiative takes concepts developed in labs and at desks, and works to get solutions into the hands of those who need them.
The following list provides insight into our key areas of research associated with our faculties.
Anthropology, specifically the understanding of societies and cultures, is essential in any whole-system solution; especially within the humanitarian and development fields. The University's expertise in anthropology is housed in the Department of Anthropology and Development Studies, the School of Social Science, and the Fay Gale Centre for Research on Gender.
Communication and telecommunication
How people and organisations communicate; how communication is facilitated (with and without technology); and how information is collated, analysed and stored; are growing fields of interest in the humanitarian, emergency and development fields, as well as day-to-day life for most people and organisations around the world. Due to the far-reaching and high-impact nature of such research, the University's is rapidly growing its expertise in this wide field.
Expertise in the field of communications and telecommunications come from:
Engineering and design
Technology-based solutions require good engineering and good design. The University of Adelaide has extensive expertise in engineering and design that stems from the seven schools within Faculty of Engineering, Computer and Mathematical Sciences (ECMS), the School of Architecture and Built Environment, and the Humanitarian Technology Research Group.
Examples of our engineering and design used in humanitarian and development contexts include:
Examples of relevant projects include:
Economics, business, innovation and entrepreneurship
A sustainable solution within the development sector, be it policy, technology, or education, requires capacity building. The underlying need is then for any solution that comes from HDSI is that it will be economically viable for the communities with which we work. This requires expertise in the fields of Economics, Business, Innovation and Entrepreneurship. The University's expertise in these fields is housed in the Faculty of Professions and includes:
Ethics, law and policy
Ensuring that people have access to food and water is essential. The University's has depth and breadth in the wide field of food research, including soil health, agriculture, agricultural economics, marketing, and supply-chain management.
Areas of expertise can be found at:
Health, science and technology
Research in Health, Science and Technology enables the University of Adelaide to develop the physical solutions for HDSI. The University has along history of research in these broad-reaching fields. Specifically for HDSI our current areas of expertise can be found at
Water management, including management of catchments, infrastructure, distribution, efficiency, policy, and use, is critical in helping ensure human rights are met. The University's expertise in water management extends to numerous schools and research groups including:
Water, sanitation and hygene (WASH)
In addition to water management to provide large-scale solutions, focusing on water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) is crucial at a local and community level. Ensuring people have access to improved toilets, waste can be safely treated, women have access to menstrual health and hygiene services, and everyone has water to wash hands, helps prevent the spread of diseases, raises the standard of living and improves quality of life, helps achieve gender equality. The interests and expertise in these fields are spread across the University in various Departments, Schools, Faculties and research groups including: Anthropology and Development Studies, ECMS, Fay Gale Centre for Research on Gender, Humanitarian Technology Research Group, Molecular and Cellular Biology, Social Science.