The challenges of the age

In every age people grapple with realising hopes, surmounting testing circumstances and quelling threats. The Monash University Strategic Plan defines priorities and actions for the University for the next decade to meet the three challenges that are significant to us all and global in their scale and implications.

These challenges are experienced unevenly and unequally within and across nations. Populations that are already disadvantaged, vulnerable and underserved are those most likely to be negatively affected and to have the least access to the solutions that mitigate their outcomes.

Monash University’s purpose is to reach through the University to what is best for our communities – local, national and international – and actively contribute, through our research and education, to meeting these challenges for a better future.

Climate change

Climate changes now being generated and experienced threaten the fabric of our planet, the quality of air, water and biodiversity that sustains us. If left unchecked, we can expect:

  • Natural disasters
  • Issues of food and energy security
  • Deteriorating planetary health for our human populations
  • Disruption of habitats; and
  • Forced migrations of all living species.

Rising carbon emissions will also affect:

  • Government policies, national and international;
  • The shape of industry, locally and globally; and
  • The way we work and live.

What is required to meet this challenge?

  • New knowledge about how climate change operates and solutions to its impacts.
  • Accessing knowledge previously ignored or marginalised, as can be found in Indigenous knowledge and practices, such as those of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in Australia.
  • New technologies, skills and capabilities, and changes to behaviours and social and cultural patterns.
  • Education to disseminate the knowledge, to develop new capabilities and capacities, and to modify behavioural and social patterns will be vital to meeting the challenge and shaping the opportunities it provides.

What will Monash strive to do?

The response to climate change requires deep commitment through our education and research to creating a more globally sustainable future, and to plotting the paths and possibilities to address this challenge. Monash will:

  • Aim for a better-informed understanding of the nature and impacts of climate change on our environments and lives.
  • Enhance capabilities in our graduates to engage with these impacts in their work and their lives.
  • Create new ideas and solutions about how we might prevent or mitigate detrimental effects and produce enhanced quality in our natural and created environments.

Geopolitical security

Disruption is occurring to established institutional orders across and within nations. In the 21st century we are witnessing:

  • Mechanisms for international security being undermined;
  • Some conflicts and their consequences for national, ethnic and religious groups become seemingly intractable;
  • Digital disruption felt within and across borders;
  • Trust in institutions and processes, which once bound people across nations, seemingly being eroded; and
  • Continuing inequalities within nations, and other global forms of insecurity that extend across borders.

What is required to meet this challenge?

  • Recognise and unpack the complexity of international and national relations, from the role of alliances to the regulation of borders.
  • Identify and examine the global principles required to support refugees and those that recognise the obligations of armed conflicts.
  • Paths to peace and reconciliation of past wrongs and conflicts as these are opportunities to attain greater geopolitical security.
  • Use the intersection of global conflicts and forced movements of people with human rights to unlock the principles that should guide our responses to the impacts of insecurity and conflict within and across communities.
  • Recognise the gendered nature of violence and its particular impacts related to race, ethnicity or religion, from new forms of access to, or conflict over, digital surveillance and information, to the insecurity within nations.

What will Monash strive to do?

Creating new international solutions will depend on the links of truly collaborative education and research in partnership with others.

Thriving communities

Thriving communities hold the promise of the ‘good life’ we seek. This is the challenge of how we live well, and how we live well together. Problems we face include:

  • Medical, health and technological issues about the individual, family and population;
  • The burden of disease; and
  • Systemic social issues of inequality and disadvantage, intolerance, discrimination and violence.

What is required to meet this challenge?

  • Addressing medical and social issues from maternal health to ageing, often at a scale not previously experienced.
  • Preventing or managing both communicable and non-communicable diseases that are global in their reach and impact and require effective national and global action.
  • Building cohesive and tolerant societies that support the ability of their populations to access adequate shelter, sustenance and education remain key to the success of nation states, and to addressing global disruptions and inequalities.
  • In Australia, there are particular challenges to address from the history of colonisation, displacement and deprivation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples that are central to creating thriving communities in our nation.

What will Monash strive to do?

The challenge of creating thriving communities requires transformative responses built not for, but with communities locally, nationally and internationally. Monash will:

  • Contribute to better understanding, as well as creative and innovative solutions.
  • Develop research and education that creates new responses, behaviours and practices.

Strategic plan

Impact 2030

Monash University has capabilities through its international profile, its record for innovation and collaboration, and the quality of its education and research to develop and equip graduates and our communities for a better future. We encourage you to read Monash University’s Strategic Plan, Impact 2030, and join our aspiration to make a positive impact on the global challenges of the age.

Read the plan