Research opportunities

The Judith and David Coffey Life Lab

Image of road, farmland and blue sky

In 2012, the Charles Perkins Centre received a generous $2 million gift from Judith and David Coffey to create the Judith and David Coffy Life Lab.

An innovative approach

The Life Lab creates a new kind of graduate and postgraduate training environment at the interface between life, social, economic and physical sciences.

Its focus is to address the significant challenges we face from an unsustainable food system that degrades the environmental services it depends on, and creates significant societal health problems.

From treating symptoms to prevention

A better understanding of the complexity of the environment-food-health nexus is critical. Our unique approach will be a world-first in shifting research from treating symptoms to prevention.

Formal and academic tools to understand interconnectivity are developing quickly. This reflectsimportant breakthroughs in mathematics and computation, alongside innovations in the physical and social sciences.

The importance of a transdisciplinary approach

These advances also reflect an ever-growing interest across academia worldwide in decoding complex systems and their associated problems through trans-disciplinary approaches.

Life Lab will challenge existing paradigms and university models to create a research training environment in which traditional disciplinary boundaries do not apply.

An innovation hub

Our ambitious vision is to create an 'innovation hub' where researchers from disciplines spanning physical, life and social and economic sciences will interface with business, government and agency leaders.

It will develop integrated approaches to the challenges that threaten societal wellbeing, and train the next generation of experts with the skills required to find solutions.

Research opportunities

Life Lab has a growing number of research opportunities available.

In the first instance, the research program will focus on four broad but strongly overlapping themes:

The specific activities under each theme that are outlined here are indicative rather than exhaustive, and the program welcomes relevant project proposals from staff across the campus.


For more information, or to register your interest, please contact:

Professor Zdenka Kuncic
Charles Perkins Centre
The University of Sydney