Multidisciplinary research

Challenging current thinking and translating knowledge through unexpected connections.

People participating in a emergency preparedness scenario in a community town hall. Part of refuge 107. Image by Bryony Jackson/Arts house

Diverse disciplines connecting around society’s toughest problems is the hallmark of multidisciplinary research.

To solve humanity’s biggest challenges, research must embrace multidisciplinary collaboration.

It is here that researchers, industry, community and government translate knowledge and discovery into advances in sustainability, global resilience, health, and economic and social empowerment.

Explore the Hallmark Research Initiatives and Melbourne Interdisciplinary Research Institutes – just some of the places where vital research is happening every day.

Melbourne Interdisciplinary Research Institutes in action

Transforming the social and economic wellbeing and health of people with disability. Shifting from a fossil fuel-based economy to a clean energy economy. Building resilience in our food systems to fire, drought and flood. Centring Indigenous knowledges, perspectives and experiences. Addressing social disadvantage in health, education, housing and work.

The Melbourne Interdisciplinary Research Institutes address these issues.

Working with industry, government and not-for profit organisations in Australia and internationally, they challenge current thinking and offer new solutions to change our world.

Installation view of the work Ancestral Memory.  by aArtist Maree Clarke

Indigenous Knowledge Institute

A centre for Aboriginal knowledge, research and education, deepening engagement between Indigenous communities, scholars and the world.

Photo: The Project Team at the African Studies Group's Borders, Identities and Belonging Conference (L to R): Professor Karen  Karen Farquharson, Selba Luka (CEO and Founder, Afri-Aus Care), Dr Diana Johns and Dr Gerald Onsando.

Reintegration and resettlement of African Australians released from prison

Researchers from the Melbourne Social Equity Institute have developed the culturally responsive Ubuntu framework to support African Australians released from prison.

In many African traditions and cultures, family and community are a core part social and cultural life. One of the ideas that inform these values and traditions is the concept of Ubuntu. Ubuntu is often described as “I am, because we are, and since we are, therefore I am” as opposed to “I think, therefore I am”.

Read the report

Hallmark Research Initiatives in action

The Hallmark Research Initiatives address significant local and global challenge that cannot be solved by one discipline alone. Research includes:

  • ensuring adequate supply of affordable housing for Australian communities
  • meeting the future nutritional needs of a growing local and global population
  • increasing environmental sustainability in the building industry
  • supporting the UNHCR by addressing gaps in research relating to stateless populations

These initiatives encourage the maturing of interdisciplinary research communities through research projects, workshops, fellowships and events.

Researchers work with industry, government and not-for profit organisations in Australia and internationally to offer new solutions to change our world.

A mum sitting on the couch with her baby and toddler looking at an ipad

Affordable Housing

The Affordable Housing initiative is working across disciplines to create new insights into the supply of affordable housing

close up of iridescent peacock feathers


The Bioinspiration HRI works with institutes and industry partners to find bioinspired solutions to technological and design challenges.

Girls pump water in Balukhali refugee camp


The Statelessness Hallmark Research initiative is working across disciplines to understand stateless populations.

Flat top white mushrooms with long stalks grow in red soil

Making sustainable building material – with mushrooms

Cladding is used to protect and insulate buildings. Usually, cladding ‘sandwich’ panels are made with aluminium and synthetic materials. This makes them cheap, light and easy to install. But they leave a large carbon footprint.

Mycelium, a network of fibres from which mushrooms flower, has the required properties for sandwich panels while being biodegradable. It's porous, hard and lightweight and can be produced in a way that's environmentally sustainable. And it is easy to grow in any size and shape.

Mycelium is used in packaging and interior building linings and fittings. But its not yet been developed as a viable composite system for use in exterior environments.

Explore Bioinspiration