Graduation marks new era for USC research

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Lifestyle Science & Research University & TAFE


September’s graduations will be a landmark for research at the University of the Sunshine Coast.

USC is set to graduate 32 Higher Degree by Research (HDR) students, its highest proportion yet for any graduation season.

The 32 students have completed postgraduate research in topics as diverse as food addiction, genetics and student accommodation, and will bring USC’s total number of HDR graduates to 373.

USC Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research and Innovation) Professor Roland De Marco says the sheer number of HDR students graduating this September represents a new era of strength in research training for the 22-year-old university, which first opened its doors to students in 1996.

“Our numbers of higher degree research students are climbing every year – this year 358 are studying with us – and this means that our contribution to the pool of globally-relevant research is growing,” Professor De Marco said.

“These are students who have finished their degree and have returned to university to complete research-based study towards a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD), Doctor of Creative Arts, Master of Science or Master of Business by Research.”

“We know this is the direct result of our growing international reputation, and our efforts across the university to build a critical mass of distinctive and high-quality research and teaching academics who deliver the research training programs that we offer.”

USC is one of the fastest-growing universities in Australia and the number of annual HDR student enrolments have swelled from 139 in 2012 to 282 in 2018.

 “We may be 22 years old, far younger than our metropolitan counterparts, but a rapid maturation of USC’s research sector has resulted in an increase in the number of postgraduate research students,” Professor De Marco said.

This year, USC attracted two new major research initiatives to the University together with the scientific minds that are leading them.
These include the Forest Wood Products Australia National Centre for Timber Durability and Design Life led by Professor Jeff Morrell formerly of Oregon State University, and the USC Road Safety Research Collaboration that is sponsored by the Queensland Motor Accident Insurance Commission led by Professor Jeremy Davey who previously worked at QUT.

“We have plans to grow much more in future and we know that this effect will snowball over time,” Professor De Marco said.

“You attract one researcher and they bring their team with them. It doesn’t take long for word to spread that USC is a great place to live, collaborate and conduct globally-relevant research.”

USC graduated its 20,000th graduate in April.

Applications are now open to study at USC in 2019, with Semester 1 starting 25 February. Go to

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