Breaking The Cycle Of Disadvantage

The Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for Children and Families over the Life Course (the Life Course Centre) is a national research centre investigating the critical factors underlying disadvantage to provide life-changing solutions for policy and service delivery. Established in 2014, the Centre is administered by The University of Queensland and is a collaboration with The University of Sydney, The University of Melbourne and The University of Western Australia as well as international partners and experts. It is supported by key government agencies that have responsibility for developing and implementing Australia’s social and economic welfare programs, and by non-government organisations that work at the front line to deal with real-world problems of poverty and disadvantage.

The Life Course Centre is uniquely positioned to tackle the intergenerational transmission of deep and persistent disadvantage, which is characterised by the spread of social and economic poverty within families and across generations, despite overall improvements in the broader society. Our vision is to leverage evidence-based research to develop new knowledge, technology and practices to benefit Australian children and families living in disadvantage, including: identifying the drivers of deep and persistent disadvantage; developing and trialling new solutions in policy and practice; training the next generation of research leaders; and building capacity across government, researchers and non-government organisations.


Putting research into practice

What separates the Life Course Centre from other research initiatives is our core translational component. Our research is focused not only on describing and understanding the key causes of disadvantage but also developing innovative solutions to address it. By examining how people construct their lives we can identify the drivers of disadvantage, and also the critical life course junctures and opportunities for innovative public policy and social interventions.


Disadvantage Systems

The Life Course Centre’s Disadvantage Systems Research Program aims to identify how disadvantage occurs. The program investigates how social and economic systems, the community, and institutions shape deep and persistent disadvantage, and determines how new data systems and technologies can inform this research.


Human Capabilities

The Life Course Centre’s Human Capabilities Research Program sheds new light on the factors that lead to disadvantage and analyses the effectiveness of current practices and policies that aim to alleviate disadvantage.


Social Transformations

The Life Course Centre’s Social Transformation Research Program aims to improve life outcomes for children and families. It builds on the findings of the Disadvantage Systems and Human Capabilities research programs and identifies new integrated social interventions to trial.


Working Paper Series

The Life Course Centre Working Paper Series showcases important and well-timed research on pressing social issues facing Australia today. The Working Paper Series is the ‘go to’ place for the latest research on Australian social disadvantage.



Academic and non-academic publications are a key research output from the Life Course Centre. Click here to explore the variety of research undertaken.


Fact Sheets

As part of our commitment to making the research of the Life Course Centre more accessible, our Fact Sheets highlight key areas of research focus and findings.



Engaging Communities

The Life Course Centre collaborates with a wide range of community service providers to deliver innovative real-world outcomes for Australia’s most vulnerable people.


Informing Policy

The Life Course Centre forms partnerships with government at all levels to develop practical solutions to tackle the persistent problem of disadvantage in Australia.



For Students

The Life Course Centre has initiatives to encourage collaboration and mutual support for all our students. We welcome expressions of interest from applicants who would like to enrol in a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) or a Master of Philosophy (MPhil).


For Researchers

The Life Course Centre Fellowship Program is building a rich and dynamic network of researchers, policymakers and knowledge professionals who have a commitment to addressing the problem of deep and persistent disadvantage in Australia, and internationally.


For Visitors

The Life Course Centre’s critical mass is enhanced by its Partner Investigators and Associate Investigators, who are exceptional leaders in their fields. The Centre also welcomes visits from respected leaders from both affiliate and non-affiliate international universities.


Internal Grants

The Life Course Centre places a significant emphasis on capacity building, which includes: opportunities to work with leading international researchers; advanced technical training; opportunities for research collaboration; and general academic training.




The Life Course Centre is represented at many national and international conferences and the Centre also hosts its own bi-annual conference.



The Life Course Centre hosts regular seminars presented by academic researchers at each of its partner universities throughout the year.



Life Course Centre researchers and partners regularly come together for collaborative workshops to address the problem of disadvantage.


Public Lectures

Public lectures are hosted by the Life Course Centre throughout the year on various research topics of public interest.


News & Media

Centre News

Stay up to date with all the latest news from the Centre covering our evidence-based research, events, people and achievements.



Connect with The Life Course Centre by subscribing to our regular newsletter.


Annual Reports

The Centre produces an Annual Report each year as part of the Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence reporting requirements.


Media Resources

Information for the media on major Centre media announcements, releases, alerts and other resources.



Life Course Centre

The Life Course Centre is committed to leveraging evidence-based research to develop innovative new practices to benefit people living in disadvantage. Our mission is to identify the mechanisms underlying the transmission of disadvantage across generations and within families over the life course, and to translate our findings to enable the delivery of policies and programs with real-world impact.


Centre Partners

Established in 2014, the Life Course Centre is administered by The University of Queensland and is a collaboration with The University of Sydney, The University of Melbourne and The University of Western Australia. The Centre also has a wide range of collaborative links to national and international partners, including research institutions in North America, Europe and Asia.


Strategic Plan

Our strategic objective is to identify the causes and mechanisms of deep and persistent disadvantage, to develop and trial innovative new policy and practice solutions to reduce disadvantage, to train the next generation of research leaders, and to build capacity across government, non-government and community organisations.



The Life Course Centre’s major resource is people: our researchers, students, partners and stakeholders. In the Life Course Centre, we support our people by delivering transparent and inclusive governance within the framework of a strong strategy and shared vision. The Centre’s governance structure is designed to allow a flow of information and ideas to the Centre Executive.



The people who make up the Life Course Centre are committed to understanding and overcoming the problems of disadvantage, and to helping improve the lives of disadvantaged children and families.


Get In Touch

To contact the Life Course Centre, please fill in the form. Thanks for your interest.
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