Societal research

Our work gets to the heart of the causes, impacts and outcomes of transformations in human societies. We help communities understand the mistakes and successes of the past and create a more just and sustainable future. We are committed to understanding national and global problems. Our public intellectuals have an enduring social conscience and their knowledge and practice transform public policy and its delivery.

Cultural and language studies (2)

Centre for Research on Language Diversity

We believe that studying linguistic diversity is of critical importance. Each language offers a unique window into one possible way of perceiving and interacting with the world.

By studying a wide range of languages we contribute to:

  • understanding the possibilities and limits of human cognition, behaviour and culture
  • discovering our shared human heritage and our separate innovations
  • appreciating what makes us truly human.

We live in the highly multilingual city of Melbourne. Our focus on linguistic diversity reflects this fact and allows our research to engage directly with the visions and needs of the communities that make up this city.


Institute of Latin American Studies

The Institute of Latin American Studies (ILAS) is Australia's first and Victoria's only academic centre dedicated to fostering research and understanding of:

  • Latin American history
  • sociology
  • politics
  • commerce
  • economics
  • archaeology
  • languages
  • and culture.

The Institute coordinates undergraduate courses, promotes research and postgraduate work on Latin America, and liaises with government, the diplomatic corps, the media and the Latin American community in Melbourne and across Australia.

Education (1)

Centre for Higher Education, Equity and Diversity Research

The Centre for Higher Education Equity and Diversity Research (CHEEDR; formerly the Access and Achievement Research Unit) informs University strategies for improving the access and achievement levels of under-represented students.

The Centre has a particular focus on students from low socio-economic status backgrounds, and has responsibility for the oversight and reporting of the Higher Education Participation and Partnerships Programme (HEPPP). They're involved in developing institutional strategies and evaluating La Trobe University programs tailored to under-represented students and institutional research.

CHEEDR conducts research into higher education policy and student equity in higher education. Key research areas include:

  • Students from low socio-economic status (SES) backgrounds
  • Care leavers
  • New migrants
  • Military veterans
  • Employability and graduate outcomes
  • Globalisation
  • Enabling programs
  • Re-recruitment
  • Tertiary admissions practices
  • Access, retention, and success.

Society (5)

Australian Research Centre in Sex, Health & Society

The Australian Research Centre in Sex, Health and Society (ARCSHS) is a centre for social research into sexuality, health and the social dimensions of human relationships. It works collaboratively, in relevant fields to produce research that advances knowledge and promotes positive change in policy, practice and people's lives by partnering with:

  • communities
  • community-based organisations
  • government organisations
  • professionals.

Since it was founded in 1993, ARCSHS has become the major player in framing the agenda on, and delivering the evidence to understand, sex and sexuality in contemporary Australia, particularly in relation to health, education and social justice.


Centre for Health Law and Society

The Centre’s research program and impact activities are informed by a socio-legal perspective or ‘law-in-context’ approach to examining the relationship between law and health. We take a broad view of what is meant by law which includes

  • the common law
  • legislation
  • the courts
  • guidance
  • procedures
  • regulation.

We think it is important to understand law’s relationship with health not only ‘on the books’ but also how it works in practice. This includes taking account of the impact of laws upon both individual and broader population health when focused on the following areas:

  • ethical
  • social
  • institutional
  • equity issues.

Institute for Human Security and Social Change

We offer specialist expertise through research, teaching, and engagement in policy and practice, in the following areas:

  • collective action
  • leadership
  • gender
  • participatory development practice
  • assessment and accountability.

Following a series of very successful small scale research collaborations, the Institute is well positioned to expand its role as a broker of research and policy partnerships between University researchers and international and domestic development organisations.

The Institute seeks to specialise in providing high quality multi-disciplinary research, teaching and professional development that support and drive progressive social change for the international development, indigenous and domestic community development sectors.


Living with Disability Research Centre

Our mission remains to improve the social inclusion and participation of people with cognitive disability through research, education and knowledge transfer. We will improve the evidence base to facilitate the development of practices, programs and policies in order to enable participation of people with cognitive disability and promote their social inclusion. Our vision is to

  • be recognised as a national and international centre of excellence for research about the social inclusion and participation of people with cognitive disability and its translation to policy, practice, advocacy and social programs
  • continue to be the focal point for researchers in the area of social inclusion and participation of people with cognitive disability
  • be the recognised source of expertise in the translation of research about living with disability into policy and practice outcomes

Research Centre for Computers, Communication and Social Innovation

We design socially and emotionally engaging systems, technologies and innovative services to support the wellbeing and sustainability of human society. Our work and expertise in social innovation encompasses:

  • aged care
  • health care
  • autism care
  • human resource management
  • business intelligence
  • knowledge management

Our approach combines technology, such as emotionally engaging social robots, tablets, mobiles and wearable devices with design-driven service innovation. A key part of our services involves using emotionally and socially engaging communication robots designed with our partners to deliver 'person-centred' care.

History and archaeology (2)

Centre for the Study of the Inland

The Centre provides a clear, and multi-disciplinary platform for research on the inland and on the interconnecting themes of water, landscapes and land use (including indigenous land use), agricultural and pastoral history, settlement and migration, resource extraction, and human responses to long-term climate and environmental change. Key research areas include:

  • water
  • landscape and land use
  • pastoralism and agriculture
  • settlement and mobilities
  • resource extraction
  • climate and environmental change.

The Trendall Research Centre for Ancient Mediterranean Studies

Sharing the latest research in Greek and Roman art and archaeology, the Trendall Research Centre performs the following objectives:

  • promotes research in the general area of Ancient Mediterranean studies, particularly in the archaeology of South Italy and Sicily during the Classical period.
  • disseminates within the general community in Australia the results of the latest research in Greek and Roman art and archaeology through the sponsorship of conferences, lectures and seminars.
  • makes available, at the Director's discretion, the resources of the Centre to all scholars and graduate students, whether from Australia or overseas, who wish to use the library and archive.
  • maintains and extends both the Library and the Archive (as unique research resources in Australia) through the acquisition of books and periodicals relating to Greek and Roman culture, and images of South Italian red-figure vases.

Business (1)

Centre for Public Sector Governance, Accountability and Performance

The CPSGAP is international in outlook and is unique in two ways. Firstly, its primary focus is on research on public sector related issues. Secondly, it involves academics, practitioners, legislators and students within the Centre so that it can offer 'peer' support to those wishing to use its services.

The Centre has a high priority on research into public sector governance, accountability and performance issues using multidisciplinary approaches that include accounting, auditing, economics, law, management and sociology

Network support and services (1)

China Studies Research Centre

The former Centre for China Studies was established in 2007 as an initiative of La Trobe University, Peking University and Beijing Foreign Studies University of China. The Centre was originally intended to foster relations between the University and leading educational and research institutions in China. After an external review held in 2014, the Centre was repurposed to become a cutting edge research centre for China Studies at La Trobe University, and relaunched in 2016 as the China Studies Research Centre. As a key element in La Trobe University's China Strategy, the new research centre aims to:

  • Promote and advance La Trobe's research strengths in China Studies
  • Deliver high quality research outputs in China Studies
  • Develop and enhance La Trobe's research reputation and expertise in China-related research across both Colleges
  • Increase the University's capacity to win competitive research funding
  • Provide intellectual leadership across the university
  • foster research links with partners and institutions in Greater China

National Research Centres (1)

La Trobe University participates in a number of collaborative research centres with other research organisations, industry and government bodies.


The Lowitja Institute Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Cooperative Research Centre

The Lowitja Institute CRC has developed three research programs that promote high-quality research through partnerships with key stakeholders in the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health sector, government agencies and research institutions: