Challenge — and be challenged.

Question assumptions, investigate theories and confront the status quo – our diverse research opportunities will help you advance your ideas and make an impact in your field.

High-impact research at the ANU College of Engineering, Computing and Cybernetics

Our research

When you join the research community at the ANU College of Engineering, Computing and Cybernetics, you are joining the best and brightest in their field – world-class academics and vibrant intellectual leaders who are solving the world’s most complex challenges.

Our areas of expertise

The ANU College of Engineering and Computing and Cybernetics is an interdisciplinary venture, with an ambitious agenda to reimagine the role of engineering and computing. 

Our College has transformed into three schools - the School of Computing, School of Cybernetics, and School of Engineering - and a professional services team, with distinct academic and strategic clusters.

School of Computing

The School of Computing has a strong foundation in the computing and information sciences at the ANU. We are a transformative centre for research in artificial intelligence and machine learning, computer systems and software, and theoretical foundations of computing. We span traditional computer science and modern data and computational science. Our mission is motivated by the need to design, drive and sustain strategic activities via five broad focus areas: Computing Foundations, Computational Science, Intelligent Systems, Data Science and Analytics, and the Software Innovation Institute. 

Computing Foundations

Computing platforms underpin global commerce, governance, and social wellbeing as critical infrastructure. We focus on the software and hardware foundations of computing, and its theory, to improve the safety, reliability, and performance of software systems, and to make them scalable and secure. We combine teaching and research in the foundations of computing: logic and verification, theory of computation, computer organisation and architecture, operating systems, formal methods and methodologies for software development, and programming languages and tools. We work closely with industry partners on solutions to problems for real systems. Our education programs emphasise hands-on implementation and project-based learning. 

Computational Science

Computation increasingly drives discovery in the sciences and engineering. We design, implement and use mathematical models to analyse and solve computationally demanding problems, using advanced computational infrastructure and algorithms to perform large-scale simulations of physical systems and processes, and visualise the outcomes to inform the science. Drawing on advances in machine learning (ML) and artificial intelligence (AI) we enable new approaches to virtual discovery and design, and the effective utilisation of computational assets at scale. Our education programs train computational scientists and provide them with skills in high performance computing relevant to science and engineering. We work with partners in target applications such as environmental science, computational biology, bioinformatics, quantum physical systems, and nanotechnology, to accelerate discovery in these domains. 

Intelligent Systems

Machine Intelligence augments human intelligence in analysing and synthesising vast amounts of information. We focus on the computational modelling and design of intelligent agents in complex real-world contexts. Our research integrates areas of artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML) and vision, natural language understanding, and robotics, to build autonomous systems that can perceive, plan, and respond to their environment in pursuit of high-level goals. Our teaching portfolio includes introductory and advanced courses in AI and ML from the foundational science to implementation of large-scale practical intelligent systems, with applications in computer vision, language understanding, and robotics, co-taught and co-developed across the College. We also work across the University to address questions on integrating human and social values in AI systems, touching on aspects of philosophy, cognition, ethics, and safety. 

Data Science and Analytics

Data is central to all endeavours today, dealing with its acquisition, storage, curation, retrieval, and processing. By utilising Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, and Statistics data becomes the basis for our modelling of and reasoning about the world and society, to also gain understanding. We pursue a rigorous processing of data and its contexts and implications, engaging with domain experts in government, business, and the health and social sciences to build models that turn data into information into knowledge to then support effective and confident economic and social decision making. Our research focus on the design and construction of robust processes and models leads to new algorithms, prototypes, and deployed systems across multiple domains to derive new meaningful insights while being sensitive to bias. Our broad teaching portfolio includes both micro and macro credentialing, balancing theoretical techniques with domain-relevant project-based learning, aimed at researchers, practitioners, and decision makers. 

Software Innovation Institute

The Software Innovation Institute (SII) is developing new ways to train the next generation of Data Scientists and Software Engineers. We create, apply and teach state-of-the-art techniques in Data Science and Software Engineering to provide world-leading integrated learning for students, while addressing some of the complex challenges of today. We work with clients on actual projects, managed and supervised but industry experienced staff, to create systems that solve their data problems and drive business decisions, utilising world leading research outcomes. We bring together leading researchers, industry experts, and students to translate research, to design, to engineer, and to build solutions to complex problems, cognisant of cultural context while preserving privacy. Working with colleagues across the University, we are the translational engine for the School and a locus for experiential learning. 

School of Cybernetics

The School of Cybernetics is establishing programs that blend education, research, and engagement to create a new generation of practitioners who are ready to tackle the challenges of the 21st century. Cybernetics is at the heart of our work and is a tool that sparks new ways of thinking and possibilities for the future. Through our programs we are building a new branch of engineering to safely, sustainably and responsibly scale cyber-physical systems. We focus on systems as a unit of analysis and driver of action for industries working with complexity and we are generating new approaches to shape the future through and with technology.  


We are training new practitioners who will guide us towards safe, sustainable and responsible futures through and with technology. As people invent, commercialise and operationalise new technologies, new practitioners emerge to manage them. Just as the invention of programmable computers led to the professionalisation of software engineers, building and implementing large-scale, data-driven systems that can sense and act within the world will lead to a new type of practitioner. How else can we navigate this data-driven, digital world, and make it into a place that reflects all our humanity, and ensures that we are responsible custodians of the environment? Education programs at the ANU School of Cybernetics are building capability in safe, sustainable and responsible practices to design, deploy, decommission and regulate systems. Our programs extend existing core strengths in computer science and engineering, by drawing on design ethnography, critical studies of science and technology, philosophy, history, business strategy, and a whole lot more.


The future is not a destination. We build it every day in the present. Through a program of work called Cybernetic Futures we are dedicated to helping lead and enrich conversations about possible futures through and with technology. Our work within Cybernetic Futures actively invites diverse perspectives and ideas to challenge and inform our applied practice of cybernetics. We are doing this by commissioning, convening and curating artworks, learning experiences, research and events through design sprints and theory-into-practice encounters.


At the School of Cybernetics, we have a strong drive to develop research and education through collaboration. We believe ideas should flow easily into and out from the School. This is the path to meaningful innovation. Our partnership projects bring cybernetics to a range of sectors, organisations and people who are also trying to think differently about how to bring emerging technologies safely and responsibly into the world. These partnerships cross many themes, issues, and disciplines. Our diverse collection of projects represent the broad application of cybernetics to challenges and opportunities in many sectors.

School of Engineering

The School of Engineering brings together a diverse and welcoming community who are motivated to seek “wicked problems”. We connect divergent thinkers, to explore and pose solutions that cross the traditional interdisciplinary and global boundaries. We have evolved from our foundational strength in systems thinking, reaching beyond traditional engineering fields. This systems approach embraces our core strengths and has been reshaped around the following focus areas. Our research groups are often interdisciplinary and span these focus areas.


Access to space and uncrewed aerial systems are rapidly decreasing in cost, driving new opportunities. We pursue topics in space systems engineering, advanced propulsion systems, and control of aerospace structures and vehicles. A key central topic of the School of Engineering is aerospace systems for Earth observation. These topics leverage particular ANU strengths in electrical and mechatronics engineering, as well as expertise from the Advanced Instrumentation Technology Centre. We continue to be a key contributor to ANU InSpace. We are designing and preparing to deliver a world-class systems-focused aerospace engineering education program with a suite of offerings including microcredentials, undergraduate, and postgraduate coursework. We aim to be the education partner of choice for national and international aerospace companies, particularly in the systems space.


There is now overwhelming agreement that the world needs to rapidly move to a target of net zero emissions before 2050 to mitigate the most serious effects of climate change. Our research groups are tackling this, and bringing down the cost of clean energy on every front.


Industry 4.0+ will rely heavily on advanced, flexible, and configurable manufacturing. Environmental monitoring will require autonomous mobile air, land, and sea systems. We are building on ANU historical expertise in computer vision, machine learning, robotics, and systems and control to carve out a unique and internationally recognised mechatronics activity. We pursue broad application areas in distributed optimisation and control of autonomous systems with a particular focus on the development of low cost, safety-critical monitoring and control systems. We aim to support multiple highly competitive international student design project teams in mechatronics, providing students with world-class educational experiences particularly with respect to systems design, integration, and operation, drawing on expertise across the College.

Environmental Engineering

Managing our natural and urban environments in the face of growing population pressures and climate change–including increasingly severe droughts, storms, and bushfires–is one of the great challenges of our time. We focus on areas of significant national importance including interconnected urban systems, management and monitoring of our waterways and surrounding oceans, and bushfire prediction and response. This leverages expertise in other Engineering clusters for the development of sensors, monitoring platforms, and signal processing algorithms, as well as in Computational Science and Data Science & Analytics clusters in the School of Computing. We work closely with allied efforts across the ANU including in the Fenner School of the Environment and the Research School of Earth Sciences. In collaboration with our ANU Indigenous leaders, we are developing a first-in-the- nation Indigenous Engineering Design Studio with the specific aim of threading Indigenous ways of knowledge throughout our work in this space. In collaboration with the Design cluster in the School of Cybernetics, this will serve as a seed activity to grow the support and use of Indigenous ways of knowledge across the College.

Information and Signal Processing

Information and signal processing underpins many of the emerging and promising solutions to the challenges faced by our ever-changing digitised world. We undertake fundamental research inspired by future applications spanning social media, entertainment, telecommunications, defence, health and autonomous vehicle industries, which will shape our lives, economy and society for decades to come. Our research expertise expands into exciting areas of communications, signal processing, spatial audio and acoustics, and nano-electro-mechanical systems, while maintaining active collaborations with world-renowned institutes and industry partners, to innovate techniques and systems that can better collect, exchange, analyse and process information and signals. Our education portfolio includes introductory and advanced courses in electronics and signal processing, with applications in telecommunication networks, audio and acoustic signal processing, Internet of Things, microprocessor-based digital systems, and power systems and electronics. Our vision is to improve human well-being by exploring the communications and sensory modalities of humans and developing human-like sensory capabilities to machines.

Members of the NEMS Laboratory work on nanoscale science and technology, with various applications in areas ranging from nano-manufacturing, nano-electro-mechanical system (NEMS), energy harvesting to biomedical sensing.

Why research with us

why research with us
As Australia’s premier research university, ANU is in a unique position to offer students access to a highly supported and pioneering research environment.

As a researcher with the ANU College of Engineering, Computing and Cybernetics, you will also have access to world-class facilities to support your projects and initiatives.

Updated:  10 August 2021/Responsible Officer:  Dean, CECS/Page Contact:  CECS Marketing