Research Engineer

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A research scientist uses scientific methods to systematically research particular areas of interest. A research scientist will have post-graduate qualifications in a specialised field. Training in other areas such as operation of scientific equipment and software as well as team management skills are also useful and desirable.

A person in this position must have an enquiring mind, enjoy problem solving, have a logical, methodological approach to work and have the ability to generate creative thinking. Part of their duties may be to devise and test ways of applying new discoveries to make things faster, safer, more efficient, cheaper, more effective or more environmentally friendly.

Funding often guides the direction or area of research, and scientists must be able to produce viable, organised and cost-effective proposals to present to non-scientific audiences who are in a position to veto or support their ideas. Further, scientists must be able to provide justification for their proposed work which takes into consideration ethics and cost/benefit analysis.

Research positions requires a Masters research degree or a PhD, or an undergraduate degree plus several years of experience in the field with proven applied research skills.


Research in the area of Science
Biological research scientists are involved in advancing knowledge on living organisms. The results of their work are used for a diversity of causes such as the development of solutions to health problems and environmental issues. Biological research scientists are employed by universities, private companies and government laboratories often producing research on their specialist area. Scientists who are not employed on a salary basis by an organisation typically work to win grants to support their projects; once again, these may be provided by universities, private industry, government organisations or other agencies and institutes.

Research in the area of Computer Science
Research opportunities in computer science are very broad and may include areas such as designing programming languages, designing algorithms, developing mathematical models of discrete computations, emulating intelligence and simulating physical reality. Computer science research areas are often cross-discipline in nature, for example informatics which is the study of the practical application of information technology in virtually any field. For example, bioinformatics is the study of molecular biology using computer science techniques and technologies. The goal of bioinformatics is to enhance the standard of human life by unlocking the wealth of information hidden in the sequence and structure of DNA, literature and other biological data. To view the University's Centre for Bioinformatics, Bio-marker Discovery and Information-based Medicine click here.

Other fields of research may include linguistics, psychology and economics, specialising in cryptography, artificial intelligence, and financial modelling.

Research in the area of Engineering
Research engineers are specialist engineers and scientists who undertake complex research. Many research engineers are required to evaluate product proposals through establishing pilot exploratory trials, monitor production for defects, and/or make recommendations about equipment.

The following are some examples of research areas in specific fields of engineering.

  • Chemical
    Research areas: Environmental sustainability, fertiliser component design, flood control and storm damage reduction, fluid flow in engines, oilfield research, process design and technology (e.g. food design and pharmaceutical design), renewable energy. See also the University's Priority Research Centre for Energy.
  • Civil
    Research areas: Earthquake geotechnical engineering, environmental fluids, ground improvement, groundwater hydrology, infrastructure performance and reliability, landslides analysis and control, materials modelling, structural engineering. Take a look at the civil engineering research areas within the university's school of Engineering.
  • Computer
    Research areas: Bioinformatics, computer arithmetic, computer network security, control and intelligence systems, embedded systems architecture, nano computing, optics, robotics, simulation technology. Take a look at the research areas within the university's school of Engineering.
  • Electrical
    Research areas: Control and systems theory, electronics, nanotechnology, real time systems, robotics, smart structures, speech processing, sustainable energy. Take a look at the research projects within the university's school of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science.
  • Mechanical
    Research areas: Acoustic and noise control, bioengineering, combustion, fluid mechanics and propulsion, heat transfer, manufacturing and materials processing, mechanics and vibration, nanotechnology, robotics. Take a look at the mechanical engineering research areas within the university's school of Engineering.
  • Mechatronics
    Research areas: Bioinformatics, biomechatronics , combustion, control and systems theory, data mining, electronics, machine learning, nanotechnology, robotics, system identification. Take a look at the research areas within the university's school of Engineering.
  • Software
    Research areas: Bioinformatics, network security, performance analysis, programmable logic, programming languages, risk assurance and assessment, robotics, software architecture. Take a look at the research areas within the university's school of Engineering.
  • Telecommunications
    Research areas: Digital signal process applications, electronics, geospatial data analysis, network analysis, satellite communications, wireless networking. Take a look at the research projects from the university's Telecommunications Research Group.

Research in the area of Surveying
Research areas: Geospatial data analysis, satellite communications, wireless networking, photogrammetry and geodesy.Take a look at the research projects from the university's Surveying Research Group.