Interdisciplinary Research Institutes

Ambitious ideas. Collaboration. Local and global expertise. Solving the big challenges together.

Two people sit facing each other in an artistic rendition of a pandemic

After an imaginary virus, Refuge members take part in disaster drills, talk to epidemiologists, and have tea with neighbours. Research from the Melbourne Sustainable Society Institute. Image: Bryony Jackson / Arts House

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 do all of this and more.

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.

Institute researchers come with different perspectives. They identify complex and emerging issues and forge unexpected connections. They acknowledge an imperfect world to build evidence and drive discovery. Then they translate research into results that matter.

This is how we solve the big challenges.

It is through the collision of creative enquiring minds and growing ideas that solutions to complex challenges can be achieved.

Professor Mark Hargreaves, Pro Vice-Chancellor (Research Collaboration and Partnerships)
A Better World: Research that enriches lives (2017)

Two men and three women standing in a group, smiling. image taken at the Indigenous University Welcome and Reconciliation Celebration

Want to do a PhD in Indigenous knowledge topics?

Indigenous and non-Indigenous scholars are encouraged to submit an expression of interest to the Indigenous Knowledge Institute for a PhD on a topic related to Indigenous knowledges.

We encourage proposals from all disciplines as well as interdisciplinary research. Funding is available.

More information and apply

Former interdisciplinary research institutes

A pink and red photomicrograph of a brain tissue specimen.

Melbourne Neuroscience Institute

The institute combined interdisciplinary research in the neurosciences with technology and industry expertise to improve health and teaching outcomes.

A man wearing virtual reality goggles.

Networked Society Institute

The institute explored connectivity between people and objects, and the social, ethical, environmental and economic impact of digital technologies.

A close up of a colourful mixed media artwork of flowers and gold paint

Melbourne Materials Institute

The institute advanced materials science and materials processing, to meet challenges in sustainability, cultural conservation, medicine and energy.

An agenda for research, education and engagement

Interdisciplinary work is data-informed and experience-based. The institutes collaborate with industry and communities that have the real-world expertise to drive research.

We take pride in the fact that researchers do not just talk about things. Their projects provide answers, inform policy, build machines, engage with the public and change society out in the real world.

The institutes inspire the next generation of research leaders. Graduate and Early Career Researchers challenge and extend their ideas, and gain expertise in collaborative approaches. They also get support through project funding, research help, scholarships and mentorships.

five people kneeling in a wheat field

Listen: One in Five podcast

In Australia, one in five people lives with disability.

One in Five gives voice to people with disability and asks about their experiences with employment, housing, the law, supporting families and early intervention.

A range of experts including people with disability, researchers and people working in the sector talk about what we can do to improve the lives of people with disability.

One in Five is produced by the Melbourne Disability Institute.

Browse episodes

two male students talking outside, one is using a wheelchair

People in a town hall participating in an emergency services scenario

Multidisciplinary research

Explore the University’s multidisciplinary research programs for graduate researchers. Collaborations include PhD programs, institutes and centres.