The giving and receiving of support and care is intensely personal and intimate. At the same time, support and care is formed by context and history. Its ethical, political and philosophical dimensions are highly contested.

In Australia, there is a growing demand for attention to support and care, for example in relation to future provision for older people, the contribution of unpaid carers, and the implementation of the National Disability Insurance Scheme.

Parallel developments are seen in many other countries.  Support and care is rapidly emerging as an urgent research and education challenge for the coming decades.

The Social Support and Care Research Program brings together researchers and educators within RMIT’s Centre for Applied Social Research.  Its objective is to create new understandings and practices that benefit citizens and communities in situations of vulnerability and precarity.


The key aims of the Social Support and Care Research Program are to

  • Advance social justice and promote social, economic and cultural inclusion
  • Engage in collaborative research that impacts on policy, practice and services
  • Create social innovation through user-centred design and place-shaping
  • Foster cross-disciplinary approaches and learn from experts-by-experience
  • Achieve benefit with and for the most disenfranchised and precarious populations


The program engages with the complexities that give shape to the lives of people in situations of vulnerability.  Inter-disciplinary perspectives and principles of inclusive research are central.  Members of the research program are drawn from across RMIT University.  The research proceeds through strong collaboration with community service organisations and consumer groups.

The research interests of the program span support and care in relation to older people, people with disabilities, mental health, children, youth and families, unpaid carers, and Indigenous communities.  It attends to multiple identities and interdependency in our social relations.  Integrated models of policy, planning and service delivery are of special concern.

Particular areas of research focus include:

  • Health, wellbeing, and critical care studies
  • Geographies and technologies of support and care
  • Marketisation in the support and care landscape
  • Precarity, resistance, and community capacity building
  • Consumer directed care and flexible funding models
  • Service design and co-production
  • Diversity, equity and access


The main activities of the program include

  • Generating shared discourses through inclusive conversation
  • ‘Meet and share’ events
  • Accessible and quick communication updates
  • Promotion of emergent research opportunities and recruitment of internal (RMIT) and external (academic and industry) project team members
  • Linkages to aligned RMIT research networks
  • Mentoring opportunities
  • Connecting with international research groups and thought leaders


Establishing core competencies for change in aged care services at Sumner House

Brotherhood of St Laurence (BSL) received funding from the Department of Health and Ageing and wish to engage RMIT to conduct research in accordance with the TRACS Funding Agreement.

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Auditing the Victorian Charter: Australian and international perspective on applied human rights

This ARC Linkage project will investigate one or more aspects of areas which are specific to disability and human rights

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Best practice guide for Disability Support Providers employing support workers within NDIS

The disability sector is experiencing a shortage of support workers and the deficit will worsen with the NDIS

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Evaluation of the Dignity and Debt Financial Difficulty and Getting Older initiative

An increasing proportion of the Older Person population are requiring specific supports to manage financial literacy

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First person disability narratives of human rights

This project uses secondary analysis of 96 narratives from people with disability based upon human rights frameworks specific to disability.

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Strengthening evidence base for using prizes, challenges and competitions

Prizes, challenges and competitions are becoming increasingly popular among government and philanthropic organisations as a way of promoting innovation

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Social care and support opportunities for RMIT

The aim of the study is to propose strategies for RMIT University in terms of teaching and research to position us as leaders in this new arena of social care and support.

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Precariousness in Law and Labour Markets: The Case of Temporary Migrant Workers

This project aims to analyse the implications of temporary migrant work in contemporary Australia.

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Making a Difference for Children and Families

The Department of Human Services has partnered with RMIT’s Centre for Applied Social Research to undertake a three year participatory, action-research project in Bridgewater, Tasmania.

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Knowledge Sector Initiative

The project aims to develop Indonesia’s knowledge sector, specifically the capacity to develop and use knowledge to inform policy development.

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Impact Evaluation Methods Lab

The Methods Lab aims to develop, test and institutionalise flexible, affordable approaches to impact evaluation (IE).

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Consultancy to develop and deliver webinars on impact evaluation to UNICEF

UNICEF Research methods used for evaluating the impact of interventions are important to UNICEF's work, but are sometimes met with limited understanding.

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Community accountability, empowerment and education outcomes in low and middle income countries

This systematic review summarised evidence about community accountability and empowerment interventions (CAEIs in low and middle-income countries).

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Accommodating DisabilityCare: Maximising Housing Choice in a Reformed Disability Sector

This project will analyse existing individualised disability service funding programs in Australia and internationally.

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Key People

Lead researchers

Associate Professor Martyn Jones

Associate Professor Martyn Jones

Associate Professor of Social Work

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Associate Professor Paul Ramcharan

Associate Professor Paul Ramcharan

Senior Research Fellow

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Professor Charlotte Williams

Professor Charlotte Williams

Deputy Dean, Social Work

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Associate Professor Jenny Martin

Associate Professor Jenny Martin

Associate Professor of Social Work

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Program researchers

HDR student researchers

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