Faculty research profile

Faculty research profile

Faculty research profile

Strategy and planning

The Faculty of Science and Engineering has a strategic vision outlined for the period 2016-2020 in the document Discover. Create. Innovate. Faculty of Science and Engineering Strategic Plan 2016-2020.

The Faculty’s strategy aligns with the university strategic direction as outlined in World-Leading Research World-Changing Impact. Strategic Research Framework: 2015-2024.

ERA performance

A detailed breakdown of Macquarie University’s ERA performance can be found in this internal document, which lists the ERA ranking for all departments and provides a comparison with how they performed in the ERA 2012 round.

Research funding history

Please contact the faculty research office for a summary of the faculty’s performance in the major grant rounds for previous years. The number of successful applicants for the most recent Australian Research Council awards are as follows:

Discovery Projects DP20: 60 submitted, 13 successful
Discovery Early Career Researcher Awards DE20: 20 submitted, 5 successful
Future Fellowships FT19: 13 submitted, 2 successful
Linkage Projects LP19: 5 submitted, 1 successful

Publications from the faculty

Total numbers for the major HERDC categories A1,B1, C1 and E1.
2010 (numbers submitted in 2011) :  931
2011 (numbers submitted in 2012) : 1035
2012 (numbers submitted in 2013) : 1131
2013 (numbers submitted in 2014) : 1127
2014 (numbers submitted in 2015) : 1232
2015 (numbers submitted in 2016) : 1198
2016 (numbers compiled in 2017)  : 1328
2017 (numbers compiled in 2018)  : 1382
2018 (numbers complied in 2019)  : 1491
2019 (numbers to be updated mid-2020)

A brief history of science at Macquarie University and in the Faculty

Science was established at Macquarie in 1967, the year the University opened for students. The School of Mathematics and Physics was the largest of the science schools at the time, though it was later overtaken by the School of Earth Sciences. Computing began as the “first separate credited first-year computing course in Australia,” with a single IBM computer, but oddly, by 1979 was the only Australian university not to have a Chair in Computing. In 1981, Mathematics and Physics was renamed the School of Mathematics, Physics, Computing and Electronics. Biological Sciences began under Frank Mercer with an emphasis on ecology and plant physiology and one teaching unit, “Introduction to Biology”. Chemistry was originally to have been called the School of Chemistry and Biochemistry, but was eventually launched as simply Chemistry. This was an awkward time, for there was low demand for the field in Australia in the 1970’s, while the high cost of equipment and an early concentration on teaching held back its research potential. By the mid 1980’s, however, the school had strengthened considerably. Earth Sciences started under Alan Voisey with 4 academic staff and an emphasis on attracting students, which it did extremely well. It effectively had two streams, Geology and Geography. In 1972, Environmental and Urban Studies developed out of Biological Sciences, through a combination of Environmental Studies and Regional Studies – not quite a school, but on its way to becoming one. In 1982, a separate graduate school, the Centre for Environmental and Urban Studies, was set up. This became the Graduate School of the Environment in 1989.

The degree obtained when science first stated was a standard Bachelor of Arts, however, after the Macquarie Science Reform Movement, a Bachelor of Science degree was introduced in 1979. Macquarie Science was unusual in offering a large range of external studies, especially in Earth Sciences and Chemistry.

For a comprehensive and fascinating history of Macquarie University, with a large section devoted to the development of the Science schools (from which the above summary was taken), see Bruce Mansfield and Mark Hutchinson, Liberality of Opportunity: A History of Macquarie University 1964-1989, 1992, Hale & Iremonger Pty Ltd, in the Library at call number LG712.M35.M37

Prior to 2008, the faculty was made up of the following divisions and departments:

ELS – Division of Environmental and Life Sciences
Department of Biological Sciences
– Department of Chemistry and Biomolecular Sciences
Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences
Department of Health and Chiropractic
Department of Human Geography
Department of Physical Geography
Graduate School of the Environment

ICS – Division of Information and Communication Sciences
Department of Computing
– Department of Electronic Engineering
Department of Mathematics
Department of Physics
Statistics was a part of the Division of Economic and Financial Studies.

The Faculty of Science and Engineering was established in its present form in 2009 as the Faculty of Science. “Engineering” was added to the title in 2015 to reflect the commitment of the University in growing Engineering toward its own Faculty status at some time in the near future. In 2016 the decision was made to move Engineering from the status of a Department, to a School with its own Dean and Deputy Dean.

The School of Engineering was established in 2017.

In 2015 the Department of Environment and Geography was changed to the Department of Environmental Sciences, and many of the geographers and environmental planning researchers were moved to the Department of Geography and Planning in the Faculty of Arts.

In the middle of 2018 the decision was taken to merge the Department of Mathematics and the Department of Statistics into one department "Mathematics and Statistics", which builds on the strengths of both departments.

Also in mid 2018, the instrumentation side of the Australian Astronomical Observatory (the AAO) moved to MQ to become a department in the Faculty of Science and Engineering.

During 2019, the decision was made to merge the Department of Earth and Planetary Science with the Department of Environmental Sciences. This merger has taken place, but the departments are still in the midst of merging their webpages.

Also during 2019, a new department called the Department of Applied BioSciences was proposed and built by Professor Phil Taylor. This became operational in 2020. This new Department builds on the strengths of Professor Taylor's research into innovative biological solutions for the horitcutural industry

Current departments in the Faculty:

Applied BioSciences - new in 2020

Biological Sciences


Earth and Environmental Sciences - merged from two departments in 2019 (webpage updates to come)
Earth and Planetary Sciences
Environmental Sciences


Physics and Astronomy

Mathematics and Statistics (merged from the Department of Mathematics and the Department of Statistics in 2018)

Molecular Sciences (prior to 2017 this was the Department of Chemistry and Biomolecular Sciences)


The School of Engineering

Executive Deans of the Faculty:

2008 – 2012         Professor Stephen Thurgate
2012 – 2013         Professor Clive Baldock
2013 – 2015         Professor Peter Nelson (Acting)
2015 – 2019         Professor Barbara Messerle
2019 -                   Professor Bernard Mans (Acting)

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