Strategic investment in research at CSU over many years has established research concentrations that reflect a mix of traditional strengths in working with industry end-users (agriculture, food, water), collaboration with other quality institutions (applied ethics, theology), and strategic alignment with key professions (health, education and IT). These foci were apparent in the national Excellence in Research for Australia assessment results, where in 2015 CSU research was ranked at world standard or better in the broad Fields of Research 05 Environmental Sciences, 07 Agricultural and Veterinary Sciences, 09 Engineering, 13 Education and 22 Philosophy and Religious Studies. CSU was ranked above world standard in the narrow fields of 1302 Curriculum and Pedagogy, 2201 Applied Ethics and 2203 Philosophy and well above world standard in 0705 Horticultural Production.

The 2017 CSU Research Narrative builds on these foundations and emphasises the continuing need for interdisciplinary research for delivering meaningful outcomes for industry, government, business, and communities. . The University seeks to make an impact on our worlds – regional, national and global – and contribute to their economic, social and environmental sustainability and well-being.
Three interdisciplinary research spheres have been identified to encapsulate our research activity


CSU has four University Research Centres, each led by a Centre Director, which represent strategic focus on research and are designed to synergistically bring together staff around a coherent research theme that has broad influence and engagement across the University. 

CSU Research Centres

Centre for Public and Contextual Theology

The Centre for Public and Contextual Theology (PACT) is focused on public and contextually informed theological research and engagement with issues of national and global significance. PACT has a history of collaborative research by scholars of many religious traditions and a commitment to future inclusion and expansion.

PACT scholars are involved in a variety of research fields. Among them, three key areas of research activity have been identified for 2017-2021:

Christian-Muslim Relations in Australia

Given Australia's changing religious demographics, the close interaction between people of different faiths in the major cities and now also in regional Australia, and the significant attention paid to religious radicalisation by government, police and the media, this area of research is highly relevant.

Religious Social Service Agencies

The social service agencies of religious institutions receive substantial government funding. These agencies are already a large sector of the social service economy in Australia and are expanding with the implementation of the NDIS. They represent the most significant public connection between religion and government in Australian society.

Religion, Ethics and Climate Change

Effective action on climate change calls for religious as well as political leadership. A reconsideration of how economists, ethicists and particularly the religions have conceived of humanity's relationship to the planet is critical.

The Graham Centre for Agricultural Innovation

The Centre has established itself as a Centre of Excellence for mixed farming research. The Graham Centre is an alliance between CSU and NSW DPI, and integrates the research undertaken by both organisations, thereby increasing the productivity of agricultural industries, whilst reducing the risks of natural resource degradation and addressing the challenges of climate change, creating efficient and profitable food and fibre production, biosecurity and the skills shortage. Capacity building, students (under and post-graduate), extension and post-doctorate researchers are an integral part of the Centre. The Centre’s location and close linkages with farmers and industry ensures strong collaboration and agricultural innovation that underpins the viability and profitability of our agricultural systems.

The Centre’s research is focussed on three distinct research pathways:

Institute for Land, Water and Society

The Institute has established a substantial research capacity and commitment to partnership building to support community, industry and government efforts to safeguard our biodiversity, land and water assets, and to ensure a dynamic and sustainable future for our region communities. An internationally recognised provider of integrated research, it combines the expertise of over 200 environmental scientists, social researchers, economists, and post-graduate students to address critical sustainability issues mainly in inland Australia, and in particular the Murray- Darling Basin, but also in other countries. ILWS combines research strengths in biophysical, social and economic research and has well-established partnerships with state and federal government departments, agencies and other tertiary institutions in Australia and overseas. It is an important contributor to policy-making and management decisions that contribute to ensuring a sustainable future.

The National Wine and Grape Industry Centre

The National Wine and Grape Industry Centre (NWGIC) undertakes and integrates scientific research with education and extension to promote the sustainability and profitability of grape and wine production across regional Australia. The Centre conducts world-class research in grape and wine science, in the areas of plant pathology, vine physiology, fruit development, fruit and wine composition, sensory characteristics of wine, and consumer preference. The NWGIC is a CSU alliance with NSW Department of Primary Industries and the NSW Wine Industry Association. The Centre’s key research themes represent the areas identified by the Australian wine industry in its analysis of research and development needs.