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Sustainability is at Deakin’s core

December 1, 2023 - 4 min read

Have you ever wondered about the best way grow seaweed? Or how far you can drive a car with just solar power? These are some of the questions people at Deakin University come up with when thinking about how to make the world a better place.

Sustainability is one of Deakin’s core values. We know that climate change is a challenge for  our future students and we are responding. Innovative engineering programs are designed around water management. Humanitarian degrees focus on building resilient communities in the face of climate change. We build it sustainability into everything we do.

Water management

Australia is a hot and dry climate, so water use and energy management are at the forefront of our teaching and research.

On the south coast of Australia, Deakin’s Warrnambool Campus is the ideal place to study marine biology and ecology. Closer to Geelong, Deakin Marine Research and Innovation Centre focusses on the sustainable ocean economy, from fishing to growing seaweed for food and energy. Many types of seaweed are fast-growing. Deakin teams are working on ways develop a sustainable and thriving seaweed industry and can be used for food, fertiliser and fuel.

Deakin not only teaches and researches water management, we practice it. Our Integrated Water Management (IWM) project is just one element of vision for climate-ready campuses.

‘It is not right to use potable water for everything,’ says Sarbjeet, an engineering student from India who is studying at Deakin’s Geelong Waurn Ponds Campus. As part of his degree, Sarbjeet completed an internship in stormwater management.

Along with water management, energy and power generation is critical to sustainability. This is another area where Deakin’s staff and students excel.

Solar energy

At the Geelong Waurn Ponds Campus, students learning about power generation on a solar microgrid. The microgrid is a valuable teaching and research tool that also provides power to much of the campus. This is another step in Deakin coming carbon neutral by 2025.

Deakin's entry in the solar car challenge

Reforestation of Deakin's Waurn Ponds Campus

Understanding solar power is also the driving factor behind Deakin’s entry in the Bridgestone World Challenge. Associate Lecturer Matt Jennings. ‘Deakin’s School of Engineering prides itself on our ability to teach students how to solve real-world problems by being innovative and creative, linking fundamental theory to cool new technologies.’

But sun isn’t the only sustainable way to create energy. A recent Deakin PhD graduate has been working on tackling two sustainability problems – energy and waste – at the same time. Dr Apinya Chanthakett has been researching how to convert household garbage into energy. ‘Processing waste and creating energy are two of the world’s biggest challenges as we work towards a more sustainable future,’ she says.  Apinya hopes to be able to apply her findings back home to Thailand.

Deakin University Vice-Chancellor Professor Iain Martin is proud to see students such as Dr Chanthakett want to make a positive impact in their local communities. ‘Our graduates leave with not only the knowledge they need but also a creative mindset, ready to tackle the world’s challenges,’ he said.

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* 2022 Student Experience Survey, based on undergraduate students, UA benchmark group Victorian universities.
** ARWU Rankings 2023
^^ 2022 Student Experience Survey, UA benchmark group Victorian universities.
# Australian Graduate Outcomes Survey 2016–2022 (GOS), Quality Indicators for Learning and Teaching (QILT).

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