School of Public Health and Community Medicine

New research network to explore urbanisation and population health

Image Xiaoqi Feng SPHCM

A new Rapid Urbanisation and Population Health (RUPH) Research Network has been established by UNSW’s Grand Challenge on Rapid Urbanisation and will be led by Associate Professor Xiaoqi Feng from the School of Public Health and Community Medicine (SPHCM).   

The RUPH Research Network will explore urban health and environmental issues and support building of transdisciplinary, cross-faculty research capacity among UNSW academics conducting research in Australia, Asia and the Western Pacific regions.

Associate Professor Feng pitched the idea of RUPH at the UNSW Grand Challenge on Rapid Urbanisation Pitch Session held in February 2020.  

“My experiences of building a successful research group and leading multidisciplinary projects has demonstrated to me the power of harnessing scientific, clinical and industry expertise and engaging with communities to shape healthier, more liveable cities for all,” Associate Professor Feng said.

“Population health issues associated with rapid urbanisation cannot be fully understood or addressed by any single research discipline. This is our opportunity to show thought leadership and encourage collaboration among UNSW researchers with diverse expertise and skillsets," she added.  

“Through this network we can work together to do research that engages with complex issues around urbanisation and promotes healthier, more sustainable living.”  

The RUPH Research Network aims to build new capacities for consequential and policy-relevant research. It will generate knowledge sharing and collaboration opportunities, as well as connecting early and mid-career researchers to senior academic mentors and established multi-institutional research entities (e.g. Sydney Partnership for Health, Education, Research and Enterprise (SPHERE) Healthy Urban Environments and Urban Health Incubator in South Western Sydney Local Health District LHD).

Professor Rebecca Ivers, Head of the SPHCM, said the RUPH exemplifies the innovation and collaborative spirit that underpins the work of the School and UNSW.   

“The impact of rapid urbanisation on health outcomes and inequities is one of the biggest challenges of the 21st century and requires a multi-pronged approach,” said Professor Ivers.  

“RUPH will bolster population health research opportunities globally and has the potential to make a real difference. I commend Associate Professor Feng on this initiative,” she said.

UNSW’s Grand Challenge on Rapid Urbanisation, led by UNSW Built Environment's Professor David Sanderson, seeks to shine a light on how we can ensure our future cities are more sustainable, resilient and inclusive.

“Rapid Urbanisation tackles the demand for urban solutions to the challenges that face modern society, including depleting resources, increasing temperatures and continuing poverty,” Professor Sanderson said.

“It’s so important to have these transdisciplinary conversations about rapid urbanisation. We need to ensure future cities are more sustainable, resilient and inclusive. I encourage anyone interested in this challenge to express interest and join the discussion.”

The RUPH Research Network invites UNSW academics interested in urban health and environment to express interest in joining the network and especially encourages early-to-mid career researchers to get involved.  

More information about UNSW Grand Challenges

Contact Name : 
A/Prof Xiaoqi Feng