BSL's Research and Policy Centre and the University of Melbourne have a longstanding collaboration founded on a shared commitment to developing high quality research and a mutual concern for social justice and equity.

BSL and the University share a history of collaboration that spans at least 50 years. In 2003 the organisations formalised this relationship as a partnership underpinned by a Memorandum of Understanding. At the University of Melbourne responsibility for the partnership rests with the School of Social and Political Sciences in the Faculty of Arts; however partnership activities are University-wide.

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

A Partnership Board and Steering Committee oversees the collaboration and works to ensure the partnership has a University-wide impact. The Board is jointly chaired by the Executive Director of the Brotherhood of St. Laurence, and the University Dean of Arts, Professor Mark Considine.

Joint academic appointees work across both the Brotherhood and the University of Melbourne:

A professional appointee – the Partnership Support Officer – based within the School of Social and Political Sciences, provides high level executive support for the partnership. This role has responsibility for ensuring the partnership is a University-wide initiative, developing research and other collaborations and organising external events.

This longstanding partnership has 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 (with MSEI & Melbourne Neuroscience Institute)working towards a proposal to the relevant research council.

The partnership has also engaged with three major initiatives:

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