Strong communities

Research with communities that impacts society for the common good.

Impact for the common good
We develop partnerships with local organisations to address social challenges, enact positive change through applied community-grounded research, and enrich the lives of both individuals and communities. Informed by Indigenous knowledges, Notre Dame seeks to better understand the past and the present as we together build towards a just and inclusive future. Building on the tradition of Catholic Social Teaching and of the liberal arts, our diverse range of disciplines across Indigenous studies, health, education, law, business, social sciences, and creative practice enables us to deliver holistic solutions to social challenges.

Embracing community and industry involvement
We embrace community collaboration and working collectively in the development, conduct, implementation, and dissemination of our research. With a national footprint, we are embedded within our communities and work with locally based research partners such as Aboriginal organisations, Catholic NGOs, disability advocates, responsible businesses, and leaders in the professions. Our academic disciplines have established relationships with industry and professional bodies, enabling transformative research collaborations for the common good.

Indigenous leadership
Indigenous Studies is a priority area for Notre Dame and fundamental to this is expanding our capacity for Indigenous leadership within research, while integrating it within our teaching and learning across the University. We will embed pathways for Indigenous leadership to drive both the focus and prioritisation of our research areas, framed by cultural knowledges and strengths-based discourse to collaboratively facilitate impactful change and support communities.

Building global community
Notre Dame research is making inroads towards tackling national and global challenges such as modern slavery and sustainability. Motivated by the focus on ‘Universality’ in our University Strategic Plan 2022-26 and by the UN Sustainable Development Goals, we are committed to research that strengthens civil society and builds our global human community.

Strong communities research projects

Indigenous knowledges
Notre Dame is leading an ARC Linkage Project on the intergenerational cultural transfer of Indigenous knowledges. This Aboriginal environmental humanities research investigates, describes, and compares the transfer of knowledge in a Kimberley and a southwest region of Western Australia to understand how cultural values, knowledge and practices can persist despite on-going colonial interruptions. Outcomes contribute to Aboriginal wellbeing, enhance biodiversity and advance water communication.

Yawuru Nagulagun
Our researchers are partnering with Murdoch University on a project aimed at reconciling the ecological, social, and cultural values of WA coastal waters, focussed on the case of Yawuru Nagulagun (Roebuck Bay). The project is funded by the WA Department of Jobs Tourism and Innovation’s WA Marine Science Project in Support of the United Nations (UN) Decade for Ocean Science.

Plastic waste on WA beaches
Research by Notre Dame has highlighted the lasting impact single use plastics are having on Western Australia’s beaches, with items well over a decade old regularly washing up on one of Fremantle’s most popular beaches. The research team – assisted by a dedicated group of volunteers – has collected and analysed over 5000 individual pieces of litter from Bather’s Beach over a seven-month period.

Modern slavery
Funded by an ARC Discovery Early Career Researcher Award, our research aims to generate awareness and knowledge about the modern slavery – climate change nexus. Businesses can be linked to modern slavery and climate change through their operations and supply chains, and play a major role in mitigating these critical issues. Research outcomes will advance business efforts and accountability in relation to these problems and benefit impacted communities.

Religion & society
We are exploring the dynamics of religion in society, politics and culture, bringing together expertise in the social sciences, philosophy and theology. Funded by the John Templeton Foundation and hosted by Queen’s University Belfast, Notre Dame is a collaborator on a major international project to investigate contemporary forms of atheism, agnosticism, and non-belief. Our researchers also specialise in the study of Catholicism in contemporary Australia and around the world.

Discover our themes

Explore the rest of our themes which shape the way we do research