Cross-Disciplinary Skills


For many technical or specialist jobs, there’s a clear career path from school to the desired job. And for positions not requiring specialist knowledge, the minimum educational requirements combined with a winning personality and work experience can often seal the deal.

But the transition to leadership positions presents a more blurred picture. CEOs with years of education and experience in management from large corporate organisations now mix with fresh graduates with multi-billion-dollar ideas.

Almost half of today’s jobs could be taken over by machines over the next 10–20 years, and 75% of the world’s most valuable companies will be replaced by 2027. So how can you prepare for such an unclear future?

“The answer is STEM,” says the Hon Karen Andrews MP, Assistant Minister for Science.

“It’s the ability to think methodically about your work; to solve problems critically and systematically. Employers want to know that you have the skills to navigate new environments quickly and authoritatively.”

Leonie Walsh, Lead Scientist to the Victorian Government, adds that employers of tomorrow are looking for “a better balance of skills including academia, active learning and business competencies”.

“A changing marketplace requires students to be more adaptable and flexible, and have good interpersonal and communication skills,” she adds.

You may want to start a business based on cross-disciplinary skills – both your STEM skills and business knowledge. Traditionally, this has been seen as an unusual choice, with around 1200 tech startups currently in Australia – a mere 0.06% of all Australian businesses.

But in December 2015, Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull announced a $1.1 billion package to fund ideas and innovation to support high-impact entrepreneurship.

Many Australian universities are already developing programs that encourage cross-disciplinary skills, solutions-based learning and an entrepreneurial mindset.

“There’s no best option, but we’re moving into a period where there’s more support to explore becoming an entrepreneur, and risk-taking is seen as a positive thing,” says Leonie.

Whichever path you choose, there’s no better place than a university to pick up the key cross-disciplinary skills and opportunities you’ll need for a successful career.

“Grab any opportunity you can, and where one doesn’t exist, create it,” says Karen.


UTS Research Focus Areas

UTS has committed to applied innovation and developing high-impact research. The University aims to produce research that benefits Australian industry and the wider community. Ultimately, UTS research activities are about helping to shape the world we occupy positively.

As part of the University’s research strategy, UTS has chosen to build research capacity and performance in five focus areas. These are aligned with the overall UTS vision: to be a world-leading university of technology. The five focus areas are health, data science, sustainability, future work and industry, and social futures.

1. Health

UTS focuses on translational and social justice in the University’s health research. UTS remains strongly engaged with the health sector, industry participants, health practitioners and the global medical and health research community.

2. Data Science

Data science and big data analytics represent an emerging field of ongoing significance. The focus area encompasses the data science theories and, notably, applying data science techniques across the dimensions of human endeavour.

3. Sustainability

The University’s sustainability research extends to all faculties, covering both in-depth disciplinary and cutting edge trans-disciplinary research. Individuals subjects includes cleaner energy, urban city futures, climate change adjustment, water management, food production and distribution, and using natural resources.

4. Future Work and Industry

Understanding technology and social changes to work arrangements and production globally is vital. The future quality of everyday life and the economic prosperity of Australia are technology dependent. Research in this area happens in the context of new industries emerging and others adapting to evolving conditions.

5. Social Futures

Research into Social Futures at UTS is influenced by increasingly complex societies. Especially relevant are the technology-driven changes in Australian and overseas communities.

UTS Research Centres

UTS has research hubs and centres across the University. In addition, UTS collaborates in joint research centres with foreign universities and in large joint research programs. Some noteworthy examples are ARC Centres of Research Excellence and the Cooperative Research Centres.