About Us

Interdisciplinary Environmental Studies at UNSW is an interdisciplinary teaching and research network. IES researchers initiate and consult on interdisciplinary research problems of sustainable development in Australia and around the world.  Our concept of sustainable development has environmental, social justice and economic outcomes.


Finding solutions to environmental problems like climate change, water management and  deforestation  are now international imperatives. It has been recognised that the challenges are complex and interconnected, and that solutions cannot come from one single area of research, profession or sector of society. The life sciences, physical sciences, social sciences, engineering, architecture, economics and law are among the many disciplines collaborating to design solutions for environmental issues and to improve their management. Within this broad field, IES' research and teaching interests include:

  • Ecologically sustainable and socially just development: visions, scenarios, goals, indicators, strategies.
  • Geospatial analysis and modelling of natural and built up environments: assessment, management, monitoring; applications to land-use planning and environmental hazards.
  • Integrated environmental and health assessments: tools and processes.
  • Climate mitigation.
  • Sustainable energy and sustainable urban transportation: technology assessment (environmental, social and economic), policies and strategies for implementation.
  • Economic systems that don’t require growth in the use of materials, energy and land.
  • Community-initiated social change.
  • Trade, environment and sustainable development.
  • Indigenous and local/traditional ecological knowledge.
  • Environmental/natural resource regulation in the Asia Pacific region.
  • Sustainable use of biodiversity and natural resources.
  • Urban sustainability.
  • Water management.
  • Environmental history, politics and anthropology
  • Social and ecological theory
  • Cultural, political and philosophical issues in relation to extinction and biodiversity conservation

IES@UNSW co-ordinates five innovative, interdisciplinary post-graduate programs in Environmental Management: