Current Research

Current Research

MSDI's transdisciplinary research is focussed around our six strategic themes. Were creating new knowledge, concepts and tools to understand, influence and transform systems for sustainable development.

Climate action

We’re helping accelerate the transition to net zero emissions for Australia and our region with action-focused research. Our research in this area supports decarbonisation through developing and applying insights that can help drive institutional and behavioural change in areas such as energy and food- and land-use.

For examples of our research in this area, explore our ClimateWorks Australia team’s Australian Industry Energy Transitions Initiative, Decarbonisation Futures work, or our Net Zero Momentum Tracker.

Sustainable cities and regions

We aim to develop new insights that can help transform cities and regions and enable thriving places and communities. Cities consist of dynamic and diverse human and material systems. That’s why we’re researching the complex interplay between issues such as sustainable infrastructure, liveability, multi-level governance, institutions and behaviour change.

An example of our research in this area is our ARC funded Net Zero Precincts Linkage project. Read more about Monash’s Net Zero Initiative.

Environment and health

Climate change poses a real threat to human health and healthcare systems are an often-overlooked contributor to environmental degradation.  We’re collaborating with our colleagues Monash Medicine, and academics around the world to further research on transformations in health systems, human behaviours and planetary health.

For examples of our research in this area, explore our RISE and Citarum Programs.

Read our recent piece in Lens on the urgent need to transform health professions education to address climate change.

Circular economy

Current waste systems are deeply unsustainable. A transition away from linear approaches to regenerative and closed-loop approaches offers major economic and environmental opportunities. Our research aims to generate interdisciplinary and practical knowledge to help industry, policymakers and communities shift towards circular economies locally and internationally.

For an example of our research in this area, explore our Sustainable Communities and Waste Hub work and our ARC Project on Household Innovation and Waste. Read also about our work on Sustainable Fashion and the Circular Textile Economy.

Inclusive prosperity

Our researchers are working on projects that enhance participation, belonging and inclusion. From gender inequality and working with indigenous knowledge to economic participation, we’re developing research that promotes inclusive prosperity.

For an example of our research in this area, explore our BehaviourWorks team’s work with Inclusive Australia and our Water for Women research.

Leadership for Sustainable Development

The Sustainable Development Goals currently constitute the main global governance framework for sustainable development. Our research explores and evaluates the workings of this framework from the local to the international level and contributes to the development of new approaches to monitoring Australia’s performance on the SDGs.

For an example of our research in this area, explore our Transforming Australia work, our AI and Governance project, the Local SDGs Program, and our work with the Global Sustainable Development report.

Read more about our Research Capabilities.