About our research

Industry collaborations and social impacts

The School of Health and Human Sciences (SHHS) supports innovative research in basic and applied sciences in health, with a particular emphasis on the needs of regional and rural communities. Staff and postgraduate students engage in research across all areas of health and human sciences, publishing regularly in national and international scholarly journals. Southern Cross University aims to create research and research training that has global and regional relevance and impact. It has a large regional footprint that extends from Coffs Harbour to the Gold Coast and brings expertise from researchers in the School to the promotion of health in individuals and communities, and to the delivery of regionally focused, person-centred health care.

Increasingly it is necessary to integrate basic, applied and health services research utilising a broad range of qualitative and quantitative approaches; the agenda is translation and impact on health and society. The disciplines represented in the SHHS are playing a major role, regionally and nationally, in this integration with promotion of a collaborative approach to research. We are actively drawing on various disciplines and professional groups to bring the perspectives of diverse knowledge areas to bear on the complex issues of the human condition. The need for new approaches to evolve the pedagogy associated with preparing the health workforce is also receiving more of our attention.

The School's journey in establishing a research identity is growing, and we continue to advance with many staff being increasingly research productive. The next two years will see the evolution of clinical research centres and of the University Clinics, focusing upon primary care research activity in partnership with other bodies.

Download the School of Health and Human Sciences Annual Research Report 2019 for an overview of our research activities and achievements.

Previous Annual Reports

Research areas

Staff from the School of Health and Human Sciences are engaged in a range of research activities across the disciplines of nursing, midwifery, allied health, clinical sciences, clinical exercise physiology, exercise science, psychology, cognitive neuroscience and public health. The School encourages multidisciplinary approaches in health and human sciences research and research training, under the broad areas of:

Our clinical research is embedded in networked models of care that are anchored in the primary care and mental health landscapes. SCU Health Clinics, our Collaborative Practice Unit with Northern NSW Local Health District, and the Mid-North Coast Health Research Collaborative form part of this network. The School's research focuses on person-centred care and, in particular, on people's lived experiences of health care. 

This research area incorporates cross-disciplinary research in sports science, exercise science and clinical exercise physiology, and the scientific determinants of health and wellbeing from a biological, physiological and neurophysiological perspective. Research across these areas investigates the underlying causes of disease, the basis of rehabilitation and recovery, and the exploration of new technologies for understanding and measuring health conditions.

With robust national and international research collaborations, this research area is an integral component of the School's health research profile, providing pivotal links between the university and sport, fitness, and health industries.

This is an important translational research area incorporating workforce development, training, pedagogy in health sciences, interdisciplinary education and team development, innovation in and introduction of new roles in health, organisational development and leadership, and the rural health workforce. Findings from research in health workforce development inform clinical practice, policy, and teaching, as well as the School's course development and delivery.

This research area examines the scientific determinants of human behaviour and cognition from a biological, behavioural, and neuroscientific perspective, with a particular focus on social perceptions. Research in the area unpacks those brain mechanisms, and their correlates, associated with driving human interactions in everyday social environments.

This research area also capitalises on the extensive research infrastructure available to the School including well-resourced psychology laboratories in Coffs Harbour (e.g., social and cross-cultural, language and reading, executive-function and emotion, perception, learning, eye-movement tracking, and EEG) and physiological measuring equipment at Lismore.

The School of Health and Human Sciences' nursing and midwifery research is strongly engaged in our region, specialising in health practice development, workforce and policy research. This research area facilitates the nexus between research, education and practice to improve patient care as well as practitioner competence and capability. The School has formally established a nursing Collaborative Practice Unit with Northern NSW Local Health District, as well as strong research linkages with the Mid North Coast Local Health District.

The School of Health and Human Sciences produces high quality health pedagogical research that has national and international significance. Our pedagogical research investigates and improves students' learning experiences and teaching practices. We have developed strengths in discipline-specific pedagogical research, interdisciplinary education research, and in research that focuses on the quality of practice-based education, including simulations in clinical education and benchmarking activities.


If you would like to explore all registered School of Health and Human Sciences publications please see our School's ePublications page.

Call for participants

A preliminary investigation on the effects of intermittent exposure to hypoxia on glucose homeostasis

Research supervision

If you are interested in undertaking research within our School, we offer higher degrees by research including the Master of Science (Research) and the Doctor of Philosophy (PhD), and can provide research supervision in a broad range of areas. Enquiries are welcomed and applications can be made at any time of the year.

For more information, visit our Higher Degrees by Research page.