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 translate research into results that matter.
This is how we solve the big challenges.
Current interdisciplinary research institutes
Indigenous Knowledge Institute
The Indigenous Knowledge Institute aims to advance research and education in Indigenous knowledge systems.
Melbourne Biodiversity Institute
The Melbourne Biodiversity Institute is a collective of researchers, innovators and problem-solvers from across the University of Melbourne dedicated to addressing Earth’s biodiversity crisis.
Melbourne Disability Institute
The institute aims to transform the social and economic wellbeing and the health of people with disability through high-quality research, teaching and training, and knowledge translation.
Melbourne Energy Institute
The Melbourne Energy Institute works with community, industry and government to solve some of the world's most pressing energy challenges.
Melbourne Social Equity Institute
Melbourne Social Equity Institute conducts and facilitates interdisciplinary research that addresses the causes and consequences of social inequities and advances knowledge about effective ways to respond.
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.
Former interdisciplinary research institutes
Melbourne Neuroscience Institute
The institute combined interdisciplinary research in the neurosciences with technology and industry expertise to improve health and teaching outcomes.
Melbourne Sustainable Society Institute
The Institute facilitated research towards a sustainable and resilient society. Projects included bushfire prevention, sustainable food systems and climate change.
Networked Society Institute
The institute explored connectivity between people and objects, and the social, ethical, environmental and economic impact of digital technologies.
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, gaining expertise in collaborative approaches. They also get support through project funding, research help, scholarships and mentorships.
Listen: One in Five podcast
In Australia, one in five people live 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.
- A Better World: Research that enriches lives
- Indigenous Knowledge Institute Annual Report 2020
- Melbourne Disability Institute Annual Report 2020
- Melbourne Energy Institute Annual Report 2020
- Melbourne Social Equity Institute Annual Report 2020
- Melbourne Sustainable Society Institute Annual Report 2020
- Browse all annual reports and publications
Image: Dr Samantha Loi with “Betty” the support robot, from A Better World.
More interdisciplinary research
Hallmark Research Initiatives
The Initiatives address significant local and global challenge that cannot be solved by one discipline alone.
Explore how companies, industry and government have partnered with us to develop solutions for their needs and goals.
Interdisciplinary research programs
Explore the University’s interdisciplinary research programs for graduate researchers. Collaborations include PhD programs, institutes and centres.
The funeral industry in the digital age
Funeral directors decide which digital services are appropriate for grief and mourning, making it difficult for entrepreneurs to enter the industry.
First published on 11 May 2022.
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