The Humanitarian Frontiers Lab is a leading academic lab at the University of Sydney under the leadership of Dr Aaron Opdyke. We are a subgroup within the Humanitarian Engineering Research Group.

Our team is transforming understanding of infrastructure and social inclusion to reduce the impact of disasters and climate change. To do this, we’re leveraging interdisciplinary methods to generate evidence that drives action. We believe data and evidence can be agents for positive transformation. 

Our Model


We believe in looking beyond the numbers to value the people behind data, using new methods to see problems differently.


We work at the cross-roads of engineering and social inquiry, applying innovative tools to make sense of complexity.


We are committed to bridging the academic and practice divide, ensuring that research translates to policy and practice.


  • Humanity

    We value our team and the people in our research as more than just students, staff, or data, valuing their personality, experience, and knowledge.

  • Ethical

    We value integrity. We are reflective on our positionality and the power imbalances in our work to ensure we protect the people involved in our research.

  • Inclusive

    We believe diversity is an asset that enriches our work and fosters ingenuity.

  • Rigour

    We produce defensible research and quality evidence, applying novel methods to produce new knowledge.

  • Collaboration

    We rely on each other; imbibing the spirit of helping each other and the recognition that we can accomplish more together than alone.

  • Engagement

    We recognise the importance of connecting with practice. We are committed to disseminating our research to ensure that it is understood, applied, and present in global dialogues.

Group photo sitting at table