Research themes

Our R&D work, and associated opportunities for PhD study, are organised into a number of Research Themes. Each theme is led by one or more of our Key Researchers.


The STL CoolFutures theme is a program of work around the complex, multidisciplinary issue of sustainability education. It has research, curriculum development, and teaching aspects. CoolFutures's collabortors include Peter Freebody, Peter Reimann and Kate Thompson.

Environmental systems need to be understood by a variety of people, in a variety of places. As our scientific understanding of environmental problems broadens to include multiple streams of data and multiple disciplinary perspectives, the design of sustainability education needs to be re-thought.

CoolFutures research incorporates essential elements of the Strands of the Sciences and Technologies of Learning Network – examining knowledge-in-action, creating innovative tools, innovative designs for learning, using, in some cases, a design-based research approach, and building on the innovative methods of collecting and analyzing complex data sets.

The CoolFutures program addresses three areas of sustainability education: CoolFutures Curriculum (K-10 education), CoolFutures University, and CoolFutures in the Wild (informal education). Core to these three areas of the program are the expected learning outcomes that address 21st century skills. These include modeling skills, communication and collaboration, systems thinking, as well as core content knowledge in the discipline area, cross disciplinary thinking, and expert learners.