JCU’s Research Profile
- Future Students
- Current Students
Research and Teaching
- I want to...
- About JCU Research
- Centres, Institutes and Colleges
- Division of Research & Innovation
- Celebrating Research
- Masters' by Research
- Fees and Scholarships
- Partners and Community
- About JCU
- Celebrating 50 Years
- Anton Breinl Research Centre
- Agriculture Technology and Adoption Centre
- Living on Campus
- Advanced Prawn Breeding Research Hub
- Advanced Analytical Centre
- Applying to JCU
- Australian/NZ Students
- Australian Lions Stinger Research
- Boating and Diving
- Australian Tropical Herbarium
- Careers at JCU
- Association of Australian University Secretaries
- Careers and Employability
- Australian Quantum & Classical Transport Physics Group
- Centre for Tropical Bioinformatics and Molecular Biology
- College of Business, Law and Governance
- College of Healthcare Sciences
- College of Medicine and Dentistry
- College of Science and Engineering
- COVID-19 Advice
- Centre for Disaster Solutions
- Cyclone Testing Station
- The Centre for Disaster Studies
- Daintree Rainforest Observatory
- Diploma of Higher Education
- Discover Nature at JCU
- Division of Research and Innovation
- Division of Tropical Environments and Societies
- Division of Tropical Health and Medicine
- Staff Intranet
- Economic Geology Research Centre
- Elite Athletes
- JCU Events
- Financial and Business Services Office
- Foundation for Australian Literary Studies
- Gender Equity Action and Research
- Give to JCU
- Information for JCU Cairns Graduates
- Graduate Research School
- JCU Ideas Lab
- Indigenous Education and Research Centre
- Indigenous Legal Needs Project
- IT Services
- International Schools
- International Students
- JCU College
- JCU Connect
- JCU Contact Information
- JCU Eduquarium
- JCU Global Experience
- JCU Motorsports
- JCU Prizes
- JCU Sport
- JCU Turtle Health Research
- Language and Culture Research Centre
- Marine Geophysics Laboratory
- New students
- Off-Campus Students
- Office of the Provost
- Office of the Vice Chancellor and President
- Virtual Open Day
- Outstanding Alumni Awards
- Parents and Partners
- Pathways to university
- Planning and Performance
- Planning for your future
- Professional Experience Placement
- Queensland Research Centre for Peripheral Vascular Disease
- Rapid Assessment Unit
- Researcher Development Portal
- Safety and Wellbeing
- Scholarships @ JCU
- Contextual Science for Tropical Coastal Ecosystems
- State of the Tropics
- Strategic Procure to Pay
- Student Equity and Wellbeing
- Student profiles
- TQ Maths Hub
- Unicare Centre and Unicampus Kids
- VAVS Home
- Work Health and Safety
- WHOCC for Vector-borne & NTDs
- Australian Institute of Tropical Health & Medicine
- Masters webinar
James Cook University (JCU) is a leader in research addressing the critical challenges facing the tropics, world-wide.
A defining feature of JCU is its tropical location and its research excellence in disciplines of particular relevance to the tropics. As a comprehensive university in the tropics, JCU is well placed to foster cross-disciplinary collaborations to meet these challenges.
JCU is committed to providing shape and direction to our research by alignment with four major themes:
- Tropical ecosystems, conservation and climate change
- Industries and economies in the tropics
- People and societies in the tropics, and
- Tropical health, medicine and biosecurity
We’re committed to research of excellence and high impact, particularly on issues of critical importance to the world’s tropics. As a regionally-based university, we recognise our obligation to engage with industry and government, commercialise our research findings and achieve critical mass through productive research partnerships with other research organisations. JCU is a site and catalyst for innovation and understanding.
We build on current areas of world-class excellence to achieve a strong performance in scholarship and teaching inspired by a research-enriched environment. We recognise that the University is judged not only on its quality but equally on its relevance and impact beyond academia.
Tropical issues provide the focus to the University’s research mission, driven by our unique geographical location, particularly its close proximity to the World Heritage-listed Great Barrier Reef and Wet Tropics rainforests and its links with rural, remote and indigenous communities and industries.
In recent years, JCU has consolidated its strengths in tropical science, knowledge and innovation by increasing its collaboration with other research organisations in the northern Queensland region, including the Australian Institute of Marine Science (through AIMS@JCU) and CSIRO, a process facilitated by major infrastructure developments which allow our researchers to be co-located with researchers from partner institutions.
Together with key areas of JCU based research such as the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies and The Cairns Institute, these developments have significantly expanded the University’s research base and its network of collaborations both in Australia and globally.
A Focus on Tropical Research
JCU is Australia’s leading research university with a focus on the tropics. It is internationally renowned in the fields of ecology and environment, plant and animal science, geosciences, coral reef science, tropical health and medicine, and tourism.
Australia is unique amongst developed countries in having a significant landmass in the tropics. Tropical Australia accounts for 46% of the nation’s landmass and despite its low and dispersed population base, is the source of more than 30% of the nation’s exports, particularly from mining, oil and gas. Six per cent of Australians live in the tropics, including close to one-third of Indigenous Australians.
In an era of climate change, tropical issues are of growing global significance. Approximately one-half of the world’s population lives in the tropics. With population growth double the world average, the tropics are under severe and growing pressure.
A high proportion of the world’s biodiversity is located in the tropics, including up to 80% of animal and plant species and 92% of world’s coral reefs. Population growth and urbanisation have led to biodiversity loss on a massive scale in many tropical countries. High population density and growth are similarly linked to poor health outcomes and to the emergence of new infectious diseases.
Seventy-five percent of new infectious diseases are zoonoses, diseases of animals that are transmitted to humans (e.g. SARS and avian influenza). It is a process exacerbated by humans living in close physical proximity to domesticated animals and by global warming which changes the distribution of disease insect vectors (e.g. mosquitoes).
JCU’s research mission is to find solutions to the challenges facing the world’s tropics through research.
Of particular strategic importance is the research undertaken on issues of importance to industry, government and the broader community in northern Queensland and more broadly in tropical Australia. The role of JCU research is central to the region’s future, and its importance is acknowledged by both State and Federal Government and by businesses and organisations across Queensland.