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New research partnership to explore critical social issues in Victoria 

Promoting important research into the causes and impacts of poverty and disadvantage in Victoria will be the focus of a new partnership being launched by RMIT University and VCOSS.

The partnership will fund researchers to work within organisations on innovative projects that broaden our understanding of critical social issues in Victoria.

The RMIT University and VCOSS Industry Fellowship Research Program, launched today, will support a chosen fellow to spend up to six months researching an area relevant to their own field of expertise, to assist their organisation and the community services sector as a whole. This is the first in a range of collaborative research initiatives that will be rolled out through the partnership, including additional fellowship opportunities and the upcoming RMIT/VCOSS PhD Scholarship.

“Community sector organisations will benefit from quality research which seeks innovative solutions to social issues and meet the needs of people who are experiencing disadvantage. This is critically important if we want to create a just and fairer society aiming to build a Victoria without poverty,” said Emma King, CEO of VCOSS.

“This research partnership can help identify trends and determine the most effective ways of responding to emerging social issues as they arise, and will help build and disseminate knowledge that may not have otherwise been possible to develop ,” said Emma King.

“This MOU is a terrific initiative and enormously important to VCOSS, RMIT University and this growing sector,” said Vice-Chancellor Martin Bean CBE, RMIT University.

“Since it started in 1887, RMIT has been about meeting industry needs; about helping to cultivate minds for skilled hands that deliver economic development. The MOU will produce this through fellowships and scholarships that link RMIT and the social sector in the deepest of ways.

“Ultimately, this valuable collaboration will lead to the co-production of knowledge, opportunities for careers and assisting to meet today’s pressing social needs – exciting news for this caring and critical sector and for RMIT.”

The Fellows will conduct their research from the RMIT School of Global, Urban and  Social Studies. They will receive an honorary fellowship/appointment with RMIT for the period of the fellowship, along with project support from RMIT and VCOSS.

The Industry Fellowship Research Program marks the first in a series of collaborative research initiatives between RMIT and VCOSS. Later in the year the two organisations will seek applicants for the RMIT/VCOSS PhD Scholarship, which will generate new evidence for the community sector in providing innovative solutions to overcome the complex causes of disadvantage and poverty.  Applicants for the Industry Fellowship Research Program have until 22 July to submit a research proposal via the VCOSS website.

VCOSS is also launching a major new report, Building on the value of Victoria’s community sector, which outlines the unique role of community sector organisations in strengthening the state’s economy and society. The community sector’s focus is supporting people to overcome disadvantage and poverty, effectively responding to short and long-term community needs, advocating on people’s behalf and building stronger communities.