Professor Janeen Baxter will head up the new centre. The successful bid was led by the UQ’s Institute for Social Science Research (ISSR).
Professor Janeen Baxter will head up the new centre. The successful bid was led by the UQ’s Institute for Social Science Research (ISSR).
17 December 2013

The University of Queensland (UQ) will lead a new, multi-million dollar Centre of Excellence aiming to break the cycle of social disadvantage felt across generations within families.

The $20 million in Australian Research Council (ARC) funding awarded today to the Centre of Excellence for Children and Families over the Life Course (Life Course Centre) represents the largest grant ever received for a UQ-led social sciences initiative and the only Centre awarded by the ARC in the social sciences.

The Life Course Centre will be led by Professor Janeen Baxter, ARC Professorial Fellow at UQ’s School of Social Science, and will include leading Australian and international researchers from institutions including the Universities of Melbourne, Sydney, Western Australia and Pennsylvania.

In addition to the Life Course Centre, UQ is a participant in seven ARC Centres of Excellence, from the 12 announced today. They encompass a diverse range of research areas including coral reefs, brain function and the dynamics of language.

UQ President and Vice-Chancellor Professor Peter Høj and Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research) Professor Max Lu congratulated Professor Baxter and her UQ team and their partners, who include many fine social science researchers and government and non-profit agencies.

“The Life Course Centre has outstanding potential to unlock the true promise of current and future generations of Australian children who are born into disadvantage through no fault of their own” Professor Høj said.

“It will bring together some of the finest outcomes-focused social scientists, whose work will be guided by data and by close collaborations with people who make policies and deliver services at the grassroots.

“This will lead to new opportunities for children and families who are currently caught in a welfare cycle, and will inform more effective targeting of welfare and charitable spending,” Professor Høj said.

Professor Lu said the funding decision was “a tremendous show of confidence by the Government and the ARC in Australia’s top-tier social scientists”.

“Today’s announcement is the culmination of a great effort by people at UQ and universities in three other states and six other nations, as well as national and state government agencies and NGOs,” Professor Lu said.

Centre Director Professor Janeen Baxter said the Centre had been established at the ideal time.

“As little as five years ago this research could not have been undertaken in Australia as there was insufficient data going back across generations,” Professor Baxter said.

“Now the longitudinal data collections have matured to the point that research of this nature can be performed in this country.

“The Centre will tackle the problem of deep and persistent disadvantage, which is characterised by the spread of social and economic poverty within families and across generations despite overall improvements in the broader society.

“We will seize this opportunity and work with our partners to make a real difference in the lives of Australian children and families.

The Australian Research Council has awarded the $20 million in funding for the Life Course Centre over seven years.

A full list of Life Course Centre participants follows.

  • Collaborating Organisations
    • The University of Western Australia
    • The University of Melbourne
    • The University of Sydney
  • Partner Organisations
    • Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs
    • Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations
    • Queensland Department of Communities, Child Safety and Disability Services
    • Victorian Department of Education and Early Childhood Development
    • Wesley Mission Brisbane
    • Brotherhood of St Laurence
    • Australian Institute of Health and Welfare
    • Irvine University of California, Irvine
    • University of Ottawa
    • National University of Singapore
    • Boston College
    • University of Pennsylvania
    • Institute of Education, London
    • The Hebrew University of Jerusalem
    • Royal Holloway University of London
    • University College Dublin
    • University of Essex, UK

Media: Michael Duthie 3346 7691,; Fiona Kennedy  3365 1384,