Care Economy Research Institute (CERI)

Our team of internationally recognised multi-discipline researchers are working to improve health and wellbeing and drive economic growth.

What is the Care Economy?

The Care Economy consists of all paid and unpaid services that provide care to people of various ages and abilities. The care economy covers:

  • aged care,
  • disability services,
  • family services (family violence, child abuse, juvenile justice),
  • alcohol and other drugs,
  • social housing,
  • mental health services, and  childcare

The Care Economy is the fastest growing industry and the largest single employer in Australia, with over 1.8million people, mostly women, currently working in health care and social assistance jobs. In addition, the informal care sector is growing at a rapid rate.

The care economy sector is in crisis. We are experiencing chronic care workforce shortages and inadequate support for volunteer and family carers. Our care models are inappropriate for our culturally diverse population, including our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities. We see low consumer confidence in our systems, poor uptake of digital technologies and major inefficiencies in the administration of care delivery.

The need for a culturally informed, innovative, integrated and collaborative approach to these care areas is evident.

What is CERI?

CERI aims to establish the Care Economy as a critical area for national economic development, leading to better services, rewarding and well-remunerated careers, and increased quality of life and higher standards of living for all.

Care is vital for the health, wellbeing, welfare, maintenance and protection of all Australians. CERI harnesses multi- and inter-disciplinary teams to build a system of care that is demonstrably more economically viable and sustainable, while ensuring dignity, respect, and cultural safety across the population.

Key to achieving these aims is  innovation within, and integration between, domains of the Care Economy being;

  • Care Technology,
  • Care Workforce,
  • Care Delivery,
  • Care Experience, and
  • Care Economics, Social and Policy.

By integrating these domains, the institute tackles some of the biggest issues faced by the Care Economy.

Learn more about our domains of research

The Care Technologydomain addresses the problem of how to meet needs for innovation while keeping a focus on the needs, interests, preferences and perspectives of those people who are caring and being cared for. Deployment of effective, efficient and trustworthy technologies will reduce staff workloads and improve access, quality, value and safety of care services and systems. However, growth in care technology innovation is inhibited by poor uptake of new tools by both formal and informal carers.

To address these problems, the Care Technology domain uses the skills and knowledge of LTU experts and external collaborators with expertise in Information Technology and in the social, health, cultural, political, ethical, regulatory and economic implications of technologies. In this way, we can focus on addressing a key question that currently preoccupies stakeholders across the care economy: How might technologies be co-designed and implemented to support the provision of trusted, responsible, efficient and effective care?

A diverse and dynamic Care Workforce is the foundation and the future of the care economy, including those who have formal, paid roles and those who make crucial volunteer and unpaid contributions. There is a crisis in recruitment and retention of the care workforce, with a lack of adequate career pathways and expertise that can rapidly transition across the care sectors.

LTU is exceptionally well placed to address Care Workforce problems. Law and Humanities and Social Sciences scholars bring expertise in migration pathways, work, cultural diversity and the global care. This complements our expertise in clinical schools, Academic & Research Collaborative in Health (ARCH) partnerships, Nursing and Midwifery, Allied Health, Rural Health, Business and Technology. Together, we will contribute to solutions on how to build the social, cultural, economic and ethical dimensions of a sustainable, supported, effective and well-planned care workforce.

The Care Delivery domain addresses fair access and delivery of health and social care for Australians from diverse backgrounds across the life course. The care delivery sector currently faces many challenges: consumer confidence and trust are low; services are delivered in silos; the health and social sectors rely on multiple systems; and there are major inefficiencies in administration of care delivery. The current approach is mostly reactive rather than proactive. There is an urgent need to change this approach. The main research question being investigated by this domain is how can we enhance delivery of consumer-driven best health and social care that is fit for purpose, accessible and efficiently delivered to the diverse populations of Australians who need it across their life course?

Our interdisciplinary researchers from economics, business, data analytics, healthcare, humanities, social sciences and law examine how to best develop care markets, and how to ensure that care is connected.

The Care Experience domain explores the lived experience of consumers and identify gaps in service design and delivery. How consumers understand their health and care needs and their care decisions should be at the centre of design and delivery and technology of care. However, persistent failings in the care sector show that despite an increasing emphasis on co-design with consumers, the consumer is still having to ‘fit in’ with how sectors work and what they offer. The main research question being investigated by this domain is how can the voices of carers and consumers across all groups influence improved service design, delivery, and supporting technology?

This domain focusses on methods for building knowledge and understanding of the experience of consumers, carers and volunteers, so that they can have equal input to inform service design and policy. This involves developing world-leading approaches to co-design that are informed by social and cultural expertise and strong community relationships, built through collaborations across disciplines that prioritise placing the voices of the person at the centre of care.

TheCare Economics, Social and Policy domain examines the broader context of care. The interdisciplinary expertise assembled within this domain informs research strategies that examine the care economy and innovation. Expertise within this wide-ranging domain include:

  • applied economics and econometrics,
  • social enterprise and entrepreneurship,
  • healthcare management and partnerships,
  • strategy,
  • marketing,
  • public and social policy,
  • digital transformation,
  • data analytics,
  • social impact,
  • finance,
  • accounting,
  • management,
  • business systems,
  • commercial services,
  • human resources,
  • organisational behaviour,
  • logistics and supply chain,
  • social impact, and
  • overall care economy business fundamentals.

The main research question being investigated by this domain is what frameworks and models can accelerate an economically and financially sustainable care economy in Australia? The domain will also explore how social determinants of health and social policy can be aligned to provide accelerated care economy social outcomes, innovative solutions, and impact to Australia’s care economy.

Get involved

To find out more about CERI, or to partner with us to help change our Care Economy, contact us on or join below.