The Addressing Disadvantage and Inequality in Education and Health Research Theme is one of three designated Research Themes of the Federation University Australia.
Our research brings together groups and teams of researchers from multi-disciplinary and cross-disciplinary backgrounds into three focussed areas:
• education and community engagement
• physical activity and wellbeing
• healthy communities, productive ageing and supportive care
Participation in the work of the Theme is open to researchers from across the University. Currently, researchers from the Schools of Education, Human Movement and Sports Science, Behavioural and Social Science and Humanities, Science and Engineering and Nursing are engaged, as well as the University's Equity Unit.
We wish to better understand the issues around education and health in communities that have been put at a disadvantage. Our approach is to listen to these communities as we develop the direction of our research and involve them in our work through developing participatory research models. We work with communities, industry partners, government and other researchers within Australia and internationally to explore new ideas and communicate our findings.
The primary focus of the research Theme will be on a longitudinal study of a sizeable and very diverse community with a long history of various forms of disadvantage and exclusion. This community, which we refer to as the South, is on the southern side of the major regional city of Ballarat. There is an articulated process for the ‘feed-in’ of research that might be occurring by members in other sites, in ways that enhance and advance understandings of the Theme in the primary site.
The Research Theme supports research in the area of understanding disadvantage and inequality in education and health through:
- providing research ‘microfinance’ to assist in establishing exploratory projects
- funding short visits by eminent international scholars
- hosting research conferences to share research ideas and findings with other researchers, government, agencies, industry partners and the community
- providing support and mentoring for researchers
The Research Theme does not have a strongly defined structure. It operates in a collaborative way with researchers ‘opting in’ to research projects that are of interest to them.