EVERY COUNTRY STRUGGLES TO ADDRESS questions LIKE HOW TO ENSURE PROSPERITY, WELLBEING, QUALITY OF LIFE, FAIRNESS AND SECURITY.

OUR WORK AS SOCIAL SCIENTISTS IS TO PROVIDE THE EVIDENCE that is needed to improve policy and practice, AND TO ENSURE OUR RESEARCH IS RELEVANT AND TRANSLATABLE TO THE BIG QUESTIONS AND to the GLOBAL CHALLENGES OF INEQUALITY AND SUSTAINABILITY.

Institute for Social Science Director
Professor Mark Western

Who we are

Who we are

ISSR is The University of Queensland's (UQ) flagship institute for research innovation and teaching in the social sciences. 

Our research interests are wide-ranging but our work is underpinned by a commitment to building the best possible knowledge to improve economic and social wellbeing for individuals, households and communities in Australia and internationally.

We have a $40 million research portfolio, 85% of which is generated through research grants, contracts with government, industry and the not-for-profit sector, consulting services and other commercial activities. We are unique in our ability to apply academic rigour and expert subject knowledge to real-world problems.

We also have significant research infrastructure, including Australia’s largest academic survey research facility and more than 100 research and professional staff.

The Institute also hosts the ARC Centre of Excellence for Children and Families over the Life Course (the Life Course Centre) for the study of intergenerational transmission of disadvantage and the design of remedial interventions. 

ISSR’s researchers have wide-ranging methodological strengths including:

  • program and policy evaluation
  • social determinants of health
  • survey research innovation
  • the science of social disadvantage
  • community capacity building and development effectiveness.

We also teach social statistics and research methods to academics, government and industry.

Our track record

Our track record

Partnerships and provider panels

Many government agencies choose to partner with ISSR for our social science expertise and methodological integrity and objectivity. We are currently on nine research provider panels for the Australian Federal Government.

Our repeat research clients include the Australian Federal Police, the Department of Social Services (DSS), the Department of Health, the Queensland Department of the Premier and Cabinet, and the Queensland Police Service.

Research and evaluation services

We have a proven track record in the successful delivery of research and evaluation services, which include:

  • Leading the team carrying out the national evaluation of the Australian Government’s Paid Parental Leave (PPL) scheme for the Department of Social Services (DSS)
  • Designing and administering a three-year (2008-2010) longitudinal study of 2,500 respondents to measure social wellbeing and disadvantage in Queensland for the Together Union
  • Developing interactive statistical software for the Australian Federal Police that monitors criminal activity and police performance over time and identifies statistically significant changes
  • Conducting an ongoing study of community resilience, crime, disorder and inter-group violence with repeated surveys of 10,000 respondents living in 298 communities in Queensland and Victoria
  • Evaluating the impact of government programs to reduce homelessness under the Council of Australian Government's (COAG) National Homelessness Partnership and including the Street to Home and Way2Home interventions for rough sleepers
  • Designing and implementing randomised controlled trials to measure the effects of targeted interventions designed to address issues such as truanting and trust in the police
  • Undertaking advanced statistical analysis of national government datasets to show how parental separation affects Indigenous children and families
How we started

How we started

Develop evidence-base for challenging policy

The Institute for Social Science Research (ISSR) was founded by The University of Queensland in 2007 to concentrate and grow expertise in evidence-based social science research that finds solutions to challenges facing society and to:

  • Provide an evidence-base for policy makers on issues and challenges facing the nation and the region
  • Engage with stakeholders and partners in research and practice that makes a positive difference
  • Position UQ as one of the world's leading social science research universities
  • Further grow the strong multi-disciplinary social science research conducted at the university
  • Contribute to the learning experiences of students at the university
  • Train the future social science research leaders.

In a short period of time ISSR has become one of the largest social science research institutes in Australia with a profile that combines rigorous research with strong external engagement with governments, industry and the not-for-profit sector.