LA TROBE University wants to solve the world's big problems - food, water and environmental security.Its new Future Ready five-year strategic plan said it would specialise in research on food, water and environmental security; sport, exercise and rehabilitation; understanding disease; building healthy communities; and population movement and human security.
Vice-chancellor Professor John Dewar hoped a focus on research would reinvigorate the university's curriculum and get students excited about solving these problems.
The plan outlines goals to increase student numbers by almost one-third up to 33,000, develop a "hallmark program" for undergraduates including extra-curricular experiences and to blend online learning with traditional face-to-face delivery.
"A big part of the plan is about taking the expertise we've got, drawing across the disciplines to focus on some of the big global issues ... and telling the outside world that we have this expertise and we want to work with anyone who's interested in working with us to help solve them," Dewar told AAP.
La Trobe will still offer a broad spectrum of degrees, underpinned by a curriculum framework that exposes students to research, innovation and its application in workplaces and opportunities to study abroad.
It intends to develop new degrees in its specialist research areas too.
Prof Dewar was prompted to overhaul the institution's direction by the uncertain future all universities face.
"In an uncertain environment we need to be absolutely clear to ourselves and the outside world about our mission, our strengths and our purpose," he said.
"If you're interested in these areas - food security or sport and recreation or human security - then this is the place to come because we reckon we're better at it than anyone else."