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 summary of Macquarie University’s ERA performance can be found here. A more detailed breakdown 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 performance

Research active

A research active individual is understood as being someone who pursues research on an ongoing basis, as a major focus of their academic activity.

The Faculty of Science and Engineering follows the standard Macquarie University Definition of Research Active (not all faculties do this). The faculty office requests periodic reports from the Research Office in order to collate the Research Active spreadsheet, so it is important to make sure your publications in IRIS are up to date.

Meeting the Research Active definition is a requirement for listing on the Macquarie University Supervisor Register (MQSR).

Research productive

The research productive definition for the faculty has been set with the intention of meeting the goal outlined in the Macquarie University Strategic Framework 2015-2014, to Accelerate world-leading research performance, specifically to increase the number and proportion of research-productive staff.

To be considered research productive, staff are expected to achieve the required performance in at least two of the three areas of Research Productivity: Publications, Research Grants and HDR supervision, as outlined in the PublicationsResearch Grants and HDR Supervision and Completion sections of the FSE research productive document. 

Staff should aim to meet these minimum standards, but it is expected that many staff will aim to exceed these benchmarks. Indicative measures that reflect high productivity are also provided for reference.

Higher Education Research Data Collection

The Higher Education Research Data Collection program (HERDC) is run by the Australian Government Department of Education and Training.

Until 2015, HERDC collected information about both research income earned and research publications produced from all higher education providers. The research publication component was dropped in the 2016 return, which means that information for 2015 publications was not submitted to the Department.

The University is still collecting information on publications for internal use, using the specifications set out in the 2015 HERDC specifications for the collection of 2014 data. Each year, the number of verified publications will be totalled as they stand at the end of June. This will be the reported publications number for the purposes of University output statistics.

Research ethics

The Faculty of Science and Engineering has an Ethics Subcommittee that is tasked with reviewing human research ethics applications that are deemed low-risk.

Not sure? The University Research Office runs regular ethics information sessions throughout the year presented by Dr Kandy White, Director of Research Ethics. Everyone is welcome to attend.

New applications

Because of changes being brought about by the introduction of the PURE research management system, online ethics applications will no longer be happening through RMENet. To lodge an ethics application, please fill in the Macquarie University Human Ethics Application form and to

Your application will be checked and the risk assessed by the University Ethics Team. If your ethics application is assessed as greater than low risk it will be submitted to the next available HREC meeting. Find out more about the human ethics or animal ethics application and approval processes at Macquarie.

If your application is assessed as low risk, your application will be forwarded to the Faculty Ethics Subcommittee for review.

The present chair of the Faculty Low-Risk Ethics Subcommittee is Dr Peter Busch.

The Faculty Ethics Committee will need at least 8 working days to review your application and provide approval or request changes. If any changes are required, please allow another 4 days for approval. During peak times the assessments may take longer, so please don’t leave your ethics applications to the last minute.


Once your application is approved, you will be sent a Final Ethics Approval letter.

Ethics approvals are valid for 5 years from the day of the approval. It is a condition of all Ethics approvals that a Progress Report is provided every year on the day of approval, and a Final Report is provided in the fifth year on the day of the approval. Please send your Progress and Final Reports to

High risk and animal ethics approval is provided by the Ethics Secretariat in the University Research Office.


If in the course of these five years you require to have any changes in the research that this approval covers, please submit an Amendment Form for the Sub-Committee approval. Progress Report, Final Report and Amendment Forms are available here.

Research and the faculty

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 DP17: 66 submitted, 11 successful
Discovery Early Career Researcher Awards DE17: 31 submitted, 6 successful
Future Fellowships FT16: 7 submitted, 2 successful
Linkage Projects LP16: 8 submitted, 5 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

Brief history of science at Macquarie

  • 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.
  • 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 four academic staff and an emphasis on attracting students, which it did extremely well. It 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 established. This became the Graduate School of the Environment in 1989.
  • The degree obtained when science first stated was a standard Bachelor of Arts.
  • 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

History of division and departments within the faculty

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 will be established in 2017.

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