Astrophysics is one of major research areas of the UNSW School of Physics. The UNSW Department of Astrophysics and Optics consists of 9 academic staff, including one holder of a Discovery Outstanding Research Award (DORA), 6 post-doctoral staff, and 12 postgraduate researchers and technical staff.
UNSW Astrophysics has research areas in Antarctic astronomy, Astrobiology, Exoplanetary science, Star Formation, Chemistry and Dynamics of the Interstellar Medium, Varying Fundamental Constants, cosmology, physics of the early universe, and Galactic archaeology. The Department is actively involved in the building and development of astronomical instrumentation, with current projects including optical and terahertz telescopes at two locations on the Antarctic plateau, and infrared instrumentation for major planet-finding projects on the Anglo Australian Telescope. UNSW is a member of the Nanten2 consortium, which runs the sub-millimetre telescope in the high plains of the Atacama desert in Chile, and is one of two Australian universities who help fund the Mopra telescope in Australia.