Global Challenges Program

Global Challenges

UOW's Global Challenges Program is a strategic research initiative that is focused on transformative interdisciplinary research that touches people's lives and changes worlds. This program is designed to harness the expertise of world-class researchers to address complex, real-world problems – to transform lives and regions.

News and Events

Marc in het Panhuis

3D Printed Fins Take Surfing To The Next Level

Researchers at UOW are creating custom-designed 3D printed surfboard fins that allow surfers to improve their performance in the water. 

The project, part of UOW’s Global Challenges program, aims to rethink current surf fin designs and manufacturing techniques in order to create new shapes, sizes and materials that are more efficient and tailored to the individual surfer’s needs and the waves they ride. 

“We want to come up with new, more efficient fins that can be bespokely designed for a particular surfer and a particular wave,” Project leader Professor Marc in het Panhuis said. 

“Most current techniques involve moulds that are expensive to make and hence, are harder to customise based on individual surfer’s needs. In contrast, 3D printing is a process that allows for rapid prototyping and rapid optimisation of designs for individual surfers.” 

Transforming Research

Global Challenges Leah Gibbs

At UOW we’re transforming the way we do research.

To contribute to a national discussion on challenge-led research, the Program leaders have written a whitepaper on Challenge-Led Interdisciplinary Research Programs.  In this whitepaper we reflect on our experience of funding interdisciplinary research and the successes and challenges since investing in the Global Challenges Program three years ago.

This approach broadens the application of disciplinary expertise, stretching beyond disciplinary comfort zones to meet a shared challenge. We do not profess to have all the answers, but we are committed to research excellence with a passion to transform lives and regions.

Read more on the Global Challenges blog and watch our video about how our interdisciplinary challenge-led approach is transforming the way we do research to deliver real change.   


Transforming Lives
and Regions

GCP TLR Banner Image

Living Well, Longer


Manufacturing Innovation


Sustaining Coastal and Marine Zones

Sustaining Coastal and Marine Zones