Areas of research

We have particular expertise around three themes which emphasise current trends and future developments in Australian and global environmental, economic and human challenges. These research themes are sustainable governance, employability and learning, and just work.  They span topics including:

Sustainable Governance

Sustainable governance represents one of the major challenges of our times. Researchers working in this theme have contributed to global debates on ‘wicked problems’ such as food waste, food security, land grabbing, resource use, sustainable livelihoods and climate change. Working from the disciplinary perspectives of cultural studies, geography and planning, sociology and public relations, researchers in this theme have collaborated with local and international scholars, civil society and industry groups to offer robust, scholarly and empirically grounded insights regarding positive social change. This work has featured in public symposia, the media, industry journals and high quality peer reviewed journals, offering commentary and insights that are valuable to a range of research end users.

Employability and Learning

Employability is emerging as a dominant theme in employment and education discourses. Employability can be understood as the package of skills, personal attributes, knowledges and experiences that provide an individual access to employment. The concept is generally considered a useful one for understanding the extent to which individuals are adequately prepared to participate in the labour market. However, researchers working in this theme challenge the uncritical adoption of the construct of employability and have contributed to debates on precarious and unpaid work and education, training and skill development. They also take a broad reading of the construct, taking into account social, economic and political contexts, such as local labour market conditions, and the perspectives of employers. This work has featured in public symposia, the media, high quality peer reviewed journals, and consultancy reports.

Just Work

Just work is concerned with the social, economic and cultural inequalities of paid and unpaid employment as they play across national and global scales. Researchers working in this theme examine the lived experiences of work in organisational spaces and how they are experienced in local communities and homes. This work has featured in public symposia, the media, highquality peer-reviewed journals and consultancy reports, and has been acknowledged as having broad organisational and policy impact.


Working with Australian and international partners in the public, private and non-profit sectors, Work/Industry Futures researchers have been addressing these urgent concerns through research which directly informs creative and cost-effective policy responses. The scope and impact of our new and ongoing projects has been extensive. These programs of research have resulted in substantial end-user impacts, as evidenced by three cases that were shortlisted for the 2016 QUT research impact competition.

For more information, read about our current research projects and the social impact of our research.  Also visit our research students page to see the profiles of our higher degree research students.