Institute for Future



Our research tackles the grand economic, social and environmental challenges facing the world this century. IntelliSensing is about transforming data collection, modelling, analytics and decision-making to address real-world challenges in the built, natural and virtual environment. This is an enabling platform that can solve a wide range of problems for industry and society by introducing new technologies, techniques and systems.

Real-world trends

Governments, businesses and individuals often suffer from data overload and yet lack the critical information they need to make sound decisions and address management problems.

Society is also on the cusp of a revolution in the way we sense and interact with the world. Technological advances in robotics, autonomous systems, sensor networks, and mobile and wearable devices are generating extraordinary volumes of data and giving us unprecedented power to extract key information that helps us understand and manage natural and built environments. This revolution will transform a wide range of industries and sectors as well as the policy-making processes of governments.

Grand challenges

The grand challenges the world must address in IntelliSensing are:

  • developing technologies and methods for collecting and analysing large amounts of data to increase situational awareness and gain new insights
  • harnessing key information to make our natural and built environments more resilient, secure and sustainable (socially, economically and environmentally)
  • designing sensing and data analysis infrastructure with economies of scale for solving management problems and making critical decisions
  • addressing society’s concerns about policy and law governing autonomous movement and sensing technologies.

Our research strategy


Our research is designed to drive these changes in the real world:

  • many industries increase their productivity through IntelliSensing
  • IntelliSensing enhances decision-making for triple-bottom-line (financial, social and environmental) sustainability
  • new digital-physical markets and businesses are formed.


We are investigating how to:

  • develop solutions to real-world problems by investigating how to create sensing infrastructure, robotics and autonomous systems that can understand and respond to their environments in order to augment our capacity to perceive, think and act
  • create novel algorithms to automatically process high velocity and high volume data
  • understand spatial and temporal dynamics in complex systems, through the use of powerful data analytics, applied to structured and unstructured data
  • develop innovative decision science approaches to guide decision making and optimise positive outcomes, accounting for uncertainty
  • design state-of-the-art visualisation techniques to allow governments, businesses, citizens and consumers to more easily access and digest large volumes of data and enhance their decision making
  • understand and change limitations of legal and regulatory frameworks to enable the wide application of IntelliSensing solutions across different sectors
  • create programs to prepare our education sector for developing the future workforce which will develop, deploy, and disseminate IntelliSensing solutions across different sectors.

Research centres and facilities

We work with and at several specialist research centres and facilities, including:


We draw on the broad expertise of QUT's six faculties, assembling teams of researchers from different disciplines to work on large-scale projects relating to our natural, built and virtual environments.

Enabling platform leader

Domain leader

Leadership team

Institute for Future Environments

Science and Engineering Faculty

QUT Business School


Future farming

QUT researchers work with government and industry partners to deliver practical digital solutions for agriculture and food production systems through the use of robotics and autonomous systems, sensing, data analytics and agri-intelligence.

Great Barrier Reef research

The Great Barrier Reef is one of Australia’s most iconic natural wonders, but there is still so much more to discover about this magical marine environment and the challenges it faces. QUT researchers are working to better understand the reef and how to protect and restore it to ensure the Great Barrier Reef’s future is as bright as the coral seen on some of its 2,900 reefs. Initiatives include Virtual Reef Diver, a reef monitoring collaboration between scientists, data analysts, marine explorers and citizens.

Partnership enquiries

Contact our leadership team about research partnership opportunities.