Researching critical social issues

The Social Policy Research Centre makes a positive impact through independent and leading research that tackles critical social issues.

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Our research

We're dedicated to tackling critical social issues through research with a focus on poverty, inequality, wellbeing and justice. Explore our research areas to learn more.

Our people

Our researchers are leaders in their fields, with a strong reputation in the academic community, lending authority to our work and influence to public debate.

Our projects

We focus on projects that enhance the lives and wellbeing of individuals and communities. Our research enlightens public debate and enhances policy formation, both nationally and internationally.

Latest research

The NSW Department of Communities and Justice commissioned the SPRC to undertake a process, outcomes and economic evaluation of the Universal Screening and Support pilot (USS) over 2019-2022. USS is a prevention and early intervention program, screening all students in participating schools and delivering targeted wrap around supports to students and their families to reduce their risk of homelessness and school disengagement.

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Road to Employment is a 3-year NDIA funded project implemented by Purple Orange in South Australia that uses a lifecycle approach from childhood to adulthood to change work expectations about people with disability. A team of researchers at the SPRC and Flinders University in Adelaide are undertaking an action research approach to evaluate the impact of the Road to Employment project on stakeholders and the lessons from the project for future similar projects. 

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This research seeks to inform and empower the homelessness sector to contribute to the design of the new NSW homelessness commissioning arrangements. The report explains the range of options and factors to be considered when commissioning services. 

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The Fair Work Commission (FWC) Annual Wage Review 2019–20 decision referred to budget standards as one consideration when assessing the needs of the low paid, particularly a 2017 report on budget standards developed for low paid Australians by SPRC researchers. This current project has reviewed and revised the budget items in the 2017 report and expanded on the previous report by including feedback from a broader section of the community (both low-paid and middle-income households). 

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The NSW Department of Education commissioned a research team from the SPRC and UNSW School of Education to undertake an outcomes evaluation of the Educational Pathways Program, designed to improve further education and career outcomes for young people. 

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The SPRC conducted a longitudinal study tracking the wellbeing of Amélie Housing's Social and Affordable Housing Fund tenants from 2019-2023. Interviews with tenants explored their experiences with Amélie Housing and the impact of receiving support from St Vincent de Paul NSW on social participation and wellbeing.

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Together, let’s pave the way for enduring change.

We're proud to launch our new game-changing short course, Understanding Poverty, Inequality and Social Disadvantage in Australia, exploring the causes and consequences of poverty and inequality from a unique Australian policy perspective.  

Join a community of lived-experience experts, advocates, and researchers dedicated to finding actionable solutions for people facing social and economic disadvantage.   

Our Acknowledgement of Country

UNSW Sydney’s Kensington campus is built on the land of the Aboriginal people. We pay our respects to the Bedegal people of the Eora nation who are the Custodians of this land. 

We acknowledge the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, the First Australians, whose lands, winds and waters we all now share, and pay respect to their unique values, and their continuing and enduring cultures which deepen and enrich the life of our nation and communities.