Faculty of Science

Humanity's top ten problems

Further information

Undergraduate science courses

Science at UWA is helping to address the biggest problems facing humanity

In 2003, Nobel Laureate Richard E. Smalley outlined Humanity's Top Ten Problems for the next 50 years. According to Professor Smalley, the biggest problems facing humanity are:

  • Energy
  • Water
  • Food
  • Environment
  • Poverty
  • Terrorism and War
  • Disease
  • Education
  • Democracy
  • Population

The innovative teaching and research at UWA is helping to address the first four of these problems – energy, water, food and the environment.


Our researchers are working on programs developing suitable crops for use as biofuels and producing biogas from solid waste.
Our research makes up a significant part of the UWA's research into Bioenergy.

The Centre for Exploration Targeting is a unique applied research enterprise focusing on increasing the discovery rate in mineral exploration and the quality of discoveries without relying on substantial increases in exploration expenditure.

The Centre for Petroleum Geoscience and CO2 Sequestration is working to explore and develop Australia’s hydrocarbon energy resources, and to sequester greenhouse gases like CO2 in an environmentally responsible manner

Interested? We offer undergraduate and postgraduate courses in geology, petroleum geoscience and earth science.

The Centre of Excellence in Natural Resource Management is focused on promoting sustainable use of water resources, while other UWA science researchers are working on the development of drought-tolerant crops.

Interested? We offer undergraduate and postgraduate courses in land and water management and natural resource management.


The Institute of Agriculture is focused on feeding and clothing the world without destroying the planet, a major challenge with the human population expected to increase to 9+ billion by 2050.  Our research on plants, animals, soil, water and economics leads to the development of new agricultural systems that we then test on farms, including the UWA Future Farm 2050.


The Terrestrial Ecosystems Research Initiative is helping to gain a better understanding of human impact on the environment, while the Centre for Environmental Economics and Policy is addressing the business side of complex environmental problems. Science at UWA is a significant contributor to the University's efforts in addressing the issue of climate change.

Interested? We offer undergraduate and postgraduate courses in climate studies, environmental economics, conservation biology, marine science and environmental management.