Meet the SPARC team

We aim to create lasting policy change that will increase opportunity and reduce poverty.

Our focus is on informing significant and lasting policy change that improves economic and social participation for those experiencing poverty.

Our research and evaluation work is always directed at system-level reform and policy outcomes. We build evidence that will inform social policy and drive change to reduce poverty.

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

SPARC explores the ways Australians are impacted by poverty and inequality. We focus our work on those who are most at risk of poverty, and use this evidence to advocate for systems change that will improve lives.

What do we mean by systems change?

We work to understand the education, healthcare, aged care, employment, social security systems in Australia and use evidence to recommend ways they can be improved to create a fairer more just society where everyone can thrive. 

We use data to understand the effects of systemic disadvantage and share our findings with government to help reduce the impacts of poverty.

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 programs and practice, and influencing policymakers.

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

We identify 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 Social Policy and Research Centre and explore the BSL Timeline .

Our partners

SPARC 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. SPARC also works with a variety of government departments, universities, large NGOs and smaller community service providers to undertake research and policy projects.

Learn about our ethics process

Get involved



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

BSL Social Policy and Research Centre

  • Address:67 Brunswick St
    Fitzroy, Victoria 3065

  • Phone:(03) 9483 1183