Leading the way to transform the Australian Care Economy

La Trobe University made a bold move by establishing the Care Economy Research Institute (CERI) in 2023.

By Professor Irene Blackberry, John Richards Chair of Rural Ageing and Aged Care Research and Director of the John Richards Centre

The Care Economy is an umbrella term that covers health and social care services across the lifecourse from cradle to grave, and for people of various abilities. We continue to grapple with the impact of long-term COVID, with crises reported daily in the media across early childhood education and care, alcohol and other drugs, housing, family violence, disability, rural and aged care sectors to name a few.

The magnitude of this issue is enormous. In 2017-18, the value of Victorian Care Economy was $206 billion, roughly half of its Gross State Product. By comparison, recent data suggest that the US Care Economy accounts for a quarter of its GDP at $6 trillion. The Care Economy was indeed a prominent topic of discussion in the Jobs and Skills Summit 2022 and G20 meeting.

Research 2030 identifies the need for La Trobe University to establish 1-2 flagship research institutes in areas where La Trobe is able to demonstrate global excellence. Drawing on La Trobe University’s strong connection to the Victorian communities we serve, CERI will amplify and deliver a step change in our multidisciplinary research excellence in health and wellbeing to address this global challenge.

CERI’s vision is to improve people’s health and wellbeing and drive Australia’s economic growth. The institute will attract world leading researchers to pursue major research programs to co-create innovation and commercialisation. Our mission is to provide an ecosystem and platform for researchers, consumers, policymakers and industry partners to co-design and implement the next generation of services across all Care Economy domains, extending our understanding of what an optimal, cost-effective and equitable 21st century model of aggregated and integrated social assistance and support service needs to be. We will develop a suite of bespoke ‘fit for purpose’ care models, trained workforce, digital assistive technology and devices, that will result in transformative impact on care, generating significant budgetary savings along the way.

Making a difference to the quality and outcomes of care

CERI will play a leading role in the health and social care research space through its five interdisciplinary research domains including Care Technology, Care Workforce, Care Delivery, Care Experience and Care Economics, Social and Policy. The five domains will be integrated to create long-term and sustainable impact. CERI’s hubs will be based at the Albury-Wodonga campus and Bundoora campus.

To be involved in the Care Economy Research Institute

If you’d like to collaborate with La Trobe and the research organisations on the Care Economy Research Institute, please contact Professor Irene Blackberry on 0410 626 880 or by email i.blackberry@latrobe.edu.au

For further information please email ceri@latrobe.edu.au