Research collaborators


The School of Social and Political Sciences has established many vital links with community and industry groups in Australia. The most notable includes:

Brotherhood of St Laurance LogoPartnership with Brotherhood of St Laurence

The University's partnership with the Brotherhood of St Laurence is one of the key community relationships within the University.

The Brotherhood is a longstanding Melbourne based community organization who have been working to reduce poverty in Australia since the 1930s. The Brotherhood’s vision is ‘an Australian free of poverty’. Their work includes direct service provision to people in need, the development of social enterprises to address inequality, research to better understand the causes and effects of poverty in Australia, and the development of policy solutions at both national and local levels.

The University and the Brotherhood share a history of collaboration going back at least 50 years, with a more formalized approach established in 2003 to broaden the partnership's cross-faculty links and encourage greater University-wide collaboration. A Memorandum of Understanding was completed in 2013 to drive work for the next five years.

The partnership has four main objectives:

  • Develop a joint research program.
  • Develop a joint learning and teaching program.
  • Develop a program of joint events.
  • Jointly develop, fund and select appointees to key positions within the University

To help achieve these objectives a Partnership Board and Partnership Steering Group have been established. Both include representatives from a range of Faculties to ensure the partnership has a University wide impact.

There are currently three joint appointees who work across both sites:

  • Professor Shelley Mallett
  • Professor Simon Biggs
  • Dr Francisco Azpitarte

A Partnership Support Officer has been appointed and is based within the School. This role involves providing high level executive support for the Partnership, responsibility for the administration of the link, ensuring the partnership is a University wide initiative, developing research and other collaborations and organising external events.

This long-standing partnership focuses on a joint research agenda that addresses social inclusion across the life course, with a particular focus on helping to shape inclusive growth, social inclusion and poverty-prevention policies.

A number of research council initiatives have been developed as a result of the partnership, including:

  • ARC funded Challenging and Preventing Workforce Vulnerabilities in Midlife and Beyond (via Professor Simon Biggs and Dr Michael McGann)
  • NHMRC funded Cognitive Decline Partnership Centre (via Professor Simon Biggs and Ashley Carr).
  • Poverty, Family Chronic-Stress, and Children’s Development (via Francisco Azpitarte and with MSEI & Melbourne Neuroscience Institute) - working towards a proposal to the relevant research council.

The partnership is also engaged with three major initiatives.

  • The first is the National Cognitive Decline Partnership Centre, based in Sydney, run locally through the school of Social and Political Sciences.
  • The second is Children and Family Centre for Research Excellence, based at the UoQ and locally through the Melbourne Institute (with contributions from the BSL).
  • The third is the Hallmark Research Network on Ageing, managed locally through The Melbourne School of Population and Global Health and funded by UoM.

The partnership feeds into the ARC funded Challenging and Preventing Workforce Vulnerabilities in Midlife and Beyond (via Professor Simon Biggs and Dr Michael McGann) and the NHMRC funded Cognitive Decline Partnership Centre (via Professor Simon Biggs and Ashley Carr).

The Brotherhood has an open access research and literature resource base called BROCAP (The Brotherhood Library Current Awareness Portal).

The partnership continues to support the joint delivery of the Masters of Social Policy program.

For further information on the partnership please email Lisa MacKinney, Partnership Support Officer: lisa.mackinney@unimelb.edu.au