About BSL’s Research and Policy Centre

We provide knowledge for action to address poverty.

On this page, learn more about our ways of working, our values, history, and find our contact information.

We conduct research into topics of poverty and inequality that impact people’s lives at every stage.

BSL’s Research and Policy Centre explores the ways Australians are all impacted by poverty and inequality. We especially focus our work on those who are most vulnerable. We use this evidence to advocate for systems change that will improve people’s lives.

What do we mean by systems change?

This means we explore how education, healthcare, aged care, employment and social security systems and politics can either help or further hinder people.

Using this research as an evidence base, we then recommend policy, regulation and funding changes as well as improvements to service systems. In this way, our research is practical, meaning that what we learn is used to change systems for the better.

Three ideas drive our research and policy efforts

  1. Poverty and economic inequality is not inevitable. It is the consequence of decisions made by governments, businesses, communities and individuals.
  2. Inequality does not just affect the unlucky minority. It is a barrier to wealth generation and social cohesion that affects the whole country. Therefore, when we invest in the potential of those who are most disadvantaged, everyone benefits in the long run.
  3. Fostering the skills and capabilities of individuals and communities is vital to achieving a fairer society.


How we work

We work to end poverty by building a knowledge base, analysing our programs and influencing policymakers.

We listen to people’s experiences of inequality and disadvantage.

We research the social and economic issues that affect them.

We evaluate services and propose policies to contribute to a more equitable and inclusive society.

We connect people to the research and knowledge that supports systems change.

    Guiding values

    We promote the common good, equity and fairness in Australian society and the dignity of all people.

    We are committed to the development of knowledge and evidence that is:

    • ethical
    • robust
    • impactful
    • accessible to diverse audiences
    • independent but not neutral, as we stand with and for people and places experiencing poverty, inequity and social exclusion


    Our history

    As the largest and oldest social policy research centre in a non-government welfare organisation in Australia, underpinned by a strong partnership with the University of Melbourne, we are well placed for this work. BSL has had a research capacity since 1943 when the first research officer was appointed. For more, view the History of BSL's Research and Policy Centre and explore the BSL Timeline .


    Our partners

    The Research and Policy Centre is underpinned by a longstanding collaborative relationship between two leading organisations - BSL and the University of Melbourne. View more about our partnership with the University of Melbourne. The RPC also works with a variety of government departments, universities, large NGOs and smaller community service providers to undertake research and policy projects.


      Get involved

      Brotherhood Update

      Our research and policy enewsletter keeps readers informed about new research publications and projects, as well as policy submissions and opinion pieces. Access each issue here.

      BSL Research and Policy Centre

      • Address:67 Brunswick St
        Fitzroy, Victoria 3065

      • Phone:(03) 9483 1183
      • Email:research@bsl.org.au