University of Newcastle

Aerospace Systems Engineering program

Of particular interest for the aviation activities in and around Williamtown, is the Aerospace Systems Engineering program of the University of Newcastle.

Aerospace Systems Engineering involves a systems approach to the design, efficient operation and modification of high-tech devices for the aeronautical and defence industries. A key challenge for the development of aerospace systems is the need to be as light-weight as possible, yet highly reliable. Aerospace systems engineers need to understand and control the response of aerospace systems to complex interactions between sensors, controllers, actuators and other subsystems to ensure trouble-free, safe and efficient operations. Aerospace systems engineering principles deal with the complementary design of aircraft, their subsystems and other support systems to ensure they work in unison, without conflict and to ensure the high levels of reliability required in aerospace operations.

Core courses are:

Besides the academic program, the Aerospace Systems Engineering group organizes activities that promote collaboration with the industry, like the airport living lab at Newcastle Airport, and promotes career-readiness of our students like the build of an Zenith STOL 750 aircraft, together with staff and students of the TAFE NSW Hunter Aerospace Program.


We’re transforming our region with the $95 million NU Space – an education and research precinct and with the support of the NSW Government’s Boosting Business Innovation program, the development of an Integrated Innovation Network (I2N) across the Hunter region, key of which is the I2N Hub Williamtown (formerly DSA-18 Hub), located at Williamtown, New South Wales, 2318.

World-Leading Research and Innovation

At the University of Newcastle, our world-leading research and innovation creates new thinking, new ideas and new breakthroughs, not just in Australia, but around the globe. As a research-intensive institution, our Students and Researchers in Newcastle, the Central Coast, Port Macquarie, Sydney and Singapore, continue to address the world’s great challenges and to impress on the regional, national and global stage.

The University of Newcastle is ranked in the top 1% of universities by QS World Rankings 2023. Fourteen 14 of our disciplines were ranked in the world’s top 200 by QS World University Rankings by Subject 2022

The significance of our research is reflected in the Australian Government’s Excellence in Research Australia (ERA) assessment, which awarded the University of Newcastle the highest possible ‘5’ rating across 22 research fields, placing us in the top 8 Australian universities for research quality ‘well above world standard.’ The University ranks 11th in Australia for research income1. We are proud that our Researchers are among the world’s best.

Through our Creative Arts, Business, Law and Education (CABLE), Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics, and Medicine (STEMM) enterprises and Global Impact Clusters (GIC’s), our Researchers work across disciplines to solve the world’s greatest challenges and to drive innovation, business development, commercialisation and impact in the fields as diverse as energy, resources, food and water, better health, healthcare and treatment, future industries and strong cities, communities and regions.

For more than 50 years, we have made it our mission to deliver superior education to motivated and talented students from all walks of life. Our degrees are designed around global learning, work placements and entrepreneurial approaches to study to develop the problem-solvers and innovators of the future. Our graduates are career-ready, globally competitive and prepared to meet the needs of the future Defence and Defence Industry workforce.

We’ve established strong partnerships with Government and Industry to drive innovation across areas of national and global significance. Our flagship research institutes, the Newcastle Institute for Energy and Resources (NIER) and the Hunter Medical Research Institute (HMRI) deliver cross-disciplinary research which is translated into world-class innovation.

1 Higher Education Research Data Collection 2015

Research capability

The University has established a number of research institutes and centres in partnership with Government and Industry which support Researchers to deliver a broad range of expertise relevant to Defence, Security and Aerospace that aligns with key areas of national priority:

  • Biometric Enhancements
  • Cognitive Modelling
  • System Evaluation and Design
  • Cyber Security
  • Security and Trust in Autonomous Systems
  • Machine Vision
  • Deep Learning
  • Advanced Sensors
  • Actuation
  • Deployable Power Storage and Generation
  • Advanced Energy Storage
  • Organic Electronics
  • Nerve Agent Detoxification and Neutralisation
  • Contaminated Land and Water Remediation
Aerospace Systems Engineering program of the University of Newcastle

The University is committed to growing the regional economy of Newcastle, the Hunter and the Central Coast as part of our NeW Futures 2016 – 2025 strategic plan. Increased collaboration with local, national and international Industry on identified areas of growth and national priority is a key part of our overall strategy. As such, the University is working to further its connections and is engaging with stakeholders to develop new strategies to boost participation with Business, Government and Industry. Key Defence initiatives are:

I2N Hub Williamtown

Located at the Williamtown Aerospace Centre, I2N Hub Williamtown is a purpose-designed facility which offers a co-location working space for Researchers, Postgraduate Students and Industry to work collaboratively on projects of mutual benefit for the Defence, Security and Aerospace sectors.

A suite of programs will be delivered through the Hub which will focus on NSW Defence priorities, ensuring that the significant opportunities for building a strong Defence Industry in the Hunter region are realised.

Collaboration between Government, Industry and Academia is essential, and the Hub’s collaborative program focus will include strengthening relationships and leveraging capability, regional development through Defence jobs and fostering innovation, commercialisation and partnerships.

I2N Hub Williamtown is 1 of 4 innovation hubs in the Hunter Region which together comprise the I2N. The I2N is a University initiative established in 2016 with the support of the NSW State Government and is aimed at giving start-ups and small businesses access to research organisations to build strong local business communities and stimulate economic growth in NSW.