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Concentration of Research Excellence (CORES)

Establishment of COREs

Click here for more information and background about our Concentrations of Research Excellence.

Research Centres

For more information about all the Research Centres at MQ,
click here.

Upon his appointment as Vice-Chancellor in 2006, Professor Steven Schwartz expressed in the document “Macquarie@50” his vision for Macquarie to be a research-intensive university. This document states: “No university can be excellent at everything, but to reach our goal, we need to be world class at some things. Our strategy will be to emphasise our strengths. We will invest in our strong areas and we will also target a number of developing areas, particularly those that build on our history of interdisciplinary research.”

This strategy was then incorporated into the University’s 2006 – 2008 Research Strategic Plan. First, the University must have a pervasive research culture (Goal 1) from which areas of strength can develop and be identified (Goal 2). In 2006 this resulted in steps being taken to identify existing and emerging areas of research strength that could be demonstrated to be world class. These then became the first identified “Concentrations of Research Excellence”, or COREs.

The COREs concept is based loosely on Stanford University’s “Steeples of Excellence”, which are designed to identify research areas that put Stanford “on the map” by first identifying areas with existing international prominence and then attracting the very best researchers to those defined areas. The Steeples become self financing and generate their own momentum of sustained growth.

It is very important to note that a Concentration of Research Excellence is not an entity, and for a given CORE area, appointments may be in a number of different Departments.

The core areas of research are:

Astronomy and Astrophysics

Macquarie University is a highly active, rapidly growing centre of astronomical research excellence and is in close proximity to both the Anglo-Australian Observatory and Australia Telescope National Facility.  The developing strong links offer valuable synergies and opportunities for collaborations in astronomy and astronomical instrumentation and astrophotonics.  Current research strengths include wide-field astronomy, optical, infrared and radio studies of planetary nebulae and supernova remnants, stellar proper motions, and theoretical studies of shock-waves, star formation and black holes.

Professor Quentin Parker

Phone: +61 2 9850 8910

Earth & Planetary Evolution Team

Macquarie University’s interdisciplinary approach to understanding the complex evolution of the Earth makes it unique globally. By integrating information across traditional discipline boundaries including geochemistry, geophysics, geodynamics and tectonics, Macquarie has become a world-leader in mapping the Earth in four dimensions. Our cutting-edge isotope, geochemical and experimental instrumentation and our strong industry collaborations attract leading local and international geoscientists.

Craig O'Neill

Phone: +61 2 9850 9673

Cognitive Science Team

We study basic processes of cognition – language acquisition, reading and spelling, understanding and producing spoken language, face recognition, thinking, memory, and attention – and use our results to achieve greater understanding of cognitive disorders such as schizophrenia, autism, dyslexia, aphasia, specific language impairment in children, and prosopagnosia.

Max Coltheart

Phone: +61 2 9850 8086

Laser and Photonics Team


In Macquarie University’s Photonics Research Centre, our internationally leading researchers pursue a broad range of experimental and theoretical studies in lasers, optics, photonics and optoelectronics. Our aim is to address fundamental questions and develop new optical technologies useful for applications such as medical diagnosis and therapy, high-resolution imaging and sensing, and microfabrication.

Michael Withford
Phone: +61 2 9850 7056
Social, Cultural and Political Team

We are a cross-disciplinary group with expertise in the history of media, culture and politics and a research agenda that explores the intersections between them. Our focus is on the history of the press, radio and film, and on the representations of history in various media; on feminist and postcolonial studies, on culturally constructed notions of gender and sexuality, and on literary history and critical theory; and on historically informed accounts of political culture, citizenship and public opinion.

CORE Profiles

Murray Goot


Quantum Information Science & Security Team


With experts in optics, condensed matter physics, theoretical physics, computer science, statistics and chemistry, Macquarie University is building a unique and cross-disciplinary team to forge innovative discoveries in quantum science and technology. Quantum information science is driving a wide range of new technologies such as quantum computers, quantum materials, quantum cryptography, quantum simulations and quantum algorithms and the addition of experimental quantum expertise will open up new exciting routes for interdisciplinary research.

Professor Jason Twamley
Phone: +61 2 9850 8908
Ancient Cultures Team

The breadth of coverage and the integration of source studies with historical research makes Ancient Cultures at Macquarie University unique. We cover Mediterranean and Near Eastern antiquity from Predynastic Egypt through classical Greece and Rome to Late Antiquity and Byzantium. Major projects advance each of our key areas – excavation (Egypt), inscriptions, numismatics, prosopography (Rome), papyrology (Early Christianity), and editing and translation (Late Antiquity and Silk Road).

Alanna Nobbs
Phone: +61 2 9850 8844

Malcolm Choat

Phone: +61 2 9850 7561

Naguib Kanawati

Phone: +61 2 9850 8855

Ecology and Evolution Team

The Ecology & Evolution team works under the slogan ‘genes to geoscience’, integrating molecular genetics through evolutionary theory to global ecosystems and to the history of life through geological time.

Mark Westoby

Lesley Hughes

Climate Risk

The Climate Risk team is a multi-disciplinary group with expertise in climatology, water, coastal processes, geomorphology, ecology, economics, law and governance, social policy, planning and risk analysis. We examine the impacts of climate variability and change.

Ian Goodwin
Biomolecular Frontiers Team

We are an interactive, multidisciplinary network of researchers undertaking world-class research in the fields of proteomics, glycomics, genomics, biotechnology and chemical biology related to cell (human, animal, plant and microbe) biology, human disease biomarker discovery, agri-food quality trait discovery, microbial physiology & pathogenicity, gene transfer systems, protein post-translational modifications and expression, and bioinformatics. The Biomolecular Frontiers team is underpinned and closely aligned to the state-of-the-art research infrastructure provided by the Australian Proteome Analysis Facility (APAF).

Mark Baker
Phone: +61 2 9850 8211

Nicki Packer
Phone: +61 2 9850 8176

Wireless Communications Team
Professor Graham Town

We undertake complementary research activities related to wireless communications, which range from transistor circuits for radios, through to issues related to telecommunications networking, to transmission via optical and radio propagation. The specialist expertise within the team provides a niche capability in the understanding of the interplay between components in telecommunications systems. We are especially interested in research of relevance to partners in industry and other research institutions.


Tony Parker
Phone: +61 2 9850 9131

Emotional Health Team

The principle aims of the centre are to conduct research into the understanding, treatment and prevention of emotional distress including anxiety, depression, and related disorders and to promote positive emotional health. Research interests of team members focus on emotional difficulties across the lifespan. The team has developed several novel interventions through its research clinic.

Jenny Hudson
Phone: +61 2 9850 8668

Social Inclusion Team

At the Centre for Research on Social Inclusion (CRSI), scholars engaged in philosophical, social and cultural inquiry collaborate in interdisciplinary research on key social issues such as work reform, globalisation, cities, migration, multiculturalism, racism and welfare. A distinctive feature of the Centre is its commitment to research that is both socially relevant and theoretically innovative.

Marion Maddox
Phone: +61 2 9850 4431

Financial Risk Team

This CORE focuses on the financial implications of risk. Risks include those arising out of global capital markets fluctuations, climate change, market risks, foreign exchange, financial statements, longevity, retirement, health, default, bankruptcy, and regulatory risk. These risks impact all sectors of society: individuals, corporations, governments and regulatory authorities. The key research agenda for the CORE is to better understand, integrate, manage and price financial risk to allow their efficient and equitable distribution within our economic system.

Piet De Jong
Phone: +61 2 9850 8576

Legal Governance Team
Neuroscience, Vascular Sciences & Surgery Team

We research the effects of the brain on the cardiovascular and respiratory systems; and also the effects of the cardiovascular system upon the brain. Our current multidisciplinary team of researchers includes neuroscientists, biomedical engineers, cardiovascular specialists and surgeons. Our scope of applications is translational; from molecular biology to the bedside and operating room. Our objective is to advance knowledge in neurovascular sciences and to train graduates in super specialty surgery and medicine.

Professor Paul M Pilowsky
Phone:              +61 2 9812 3560     


Language Sciences Team

We bring a combination of theoretical, experimental and computational approaches to the investigation of live issues in the production and comprehension of languages across the human life span. Among the central issues are how human language is processed in the brain, how language develops in normal children and the nature of language disorders in children and adults. Our research takes a cross-linguistic and cross-disciplinary approach to the study of human language, with an emphasis on bridging linguistic theories and the findings of experimental studies of language acquisition and use.

Stephen Crain
Phone: +61 2 9850 9434