Indigenous Futures Projects

    Our goal is to support Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander empowerment and prosperity across health, education, employment, housing, law, justice, language and culture.

    Aboriginal projects

    Lowitja Institute-Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health CRC - LI Cooperative Research Centres (CRC) funding

    The Co-production of the Lowitja Institute Knowledge Translation to Research Impact for Empowerment Approach

    Indicative Funding: $225,000 over 1 year

    This research project will involve the co-development of a Knowledge Translation to Research Impact for Empowerment Approach with the Lowitja Institute Research and Knowledge Translation (R&KT) team. The co-development of this approach will incorporate and work off three major products that will provide the building blocks to improving Knowledge Translation (KT) and research impact for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health research: 1. Lowitja Institute Knowledge Translation and Research Impact Indicators; 2. Lowitja Institute Research for Impact Tool co-developed with James Cook University (JCU); and 3. Lowitja Institute KT to Research Impact Framework. This research project will combine the proposed programs of work which will lead to the JCU team and the Lowitja Institute developing the first known Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander KT to Research Impact Approach that will underpin research commissioning, monitoring and reporting, translation of knowledge into practice, workforce development and so on. It is anticipated this work will have significant implications for the broader Australian health research environment.

    Investigators:  Felecia Watkin, Komla Tsey and Lynda Ah Mat (Indigenous Education & Research Centre, College of Arts and Society & Education)

    NHMRC (1062377)

    Quality improvement in Aboriginal primary health care: Lessons from the best to better the rest

    Indicative funding: $598,580 over 3 years

    High performing primary health care (PHC) services are essential to "close the gap" in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health outcomes. Little previous research has investigated the contextual factors around a particular service that influence the success of quality improvement initiatives. We aim to transfer knowledge about the processes that facilitate the success of quality improvement initiatives in these services whilst building research and evaluation capacity in the services.

    Chief Investigators: Sarah Larkins, Sandra Thompson, Jacinta Elston, Christine Connors, Komla Tsey, with the help of Dallas Leon, Elizabeth Moore, Jacqueline Ward, Ross Bailie, Ru Kwedza, Tania Patrao and Veronica Matthews

    Collaborating Schools/Institutions: School of Medicine & Dentistry; The University of Western Australia; School of Public Health, Tropical Medicine & Rehabilitation Sciences; Department of Health (NT); The Cairns Institute; Queensland Aboriginal and Islander Health Council; Aboriginal Medical Service; Menzies School of Health Research; Queensland Health

    ARC Discovery Indigenous (IN130100023)

    Inspiring Indigenous youth to build resilience and sustain participation with education and employment: The role of targeted mentoring support

    Indicative funding: $515,000

    This project will develop a model illustrating the attributes and effectiveness of a mentoring program to enhance resilience, and education and employment prospects for Indigenous youth will be developed. The model will inform practice and contribute policy-relevant knowledge toward Government targets of improving Year 12 attainment rates and employment outcomes.

    Chief Investigators: Roxanne Bainbridge [Cairns Institute Adjunct], Komla Tsey, Adrian Miller, Christopher M Doran, Anthony Shakeshaft, Roz D Walker

    Collaborating Schools/Institutions: The Cairns Institute; School of Education; Southern Cross University; University of New South Wales; University of Newcastle; Telethon Institute for Child Health Research; The University of Western Australia

    Lowitja Institute

    Sustainable implementation of Indigenous early childhood family support programs that work: a Family Wellbeing (FWB) case-study

    Indicative funding: $503,552 over 4 years

    The aim of the project is to define and develop funding models and mechanisms that can support FWB empowerment program integration and implementation within early childhood family support programs. The FWB program attends to the social and emotional wellbeing needs of the family and in this instance will integrate FWB at different levels to enhance broader community capacity to create supportive environments for children to thrive. A whole of community approach is a defining feature of this project which will bring together Indigenous early childhood family support service providers, policy makers and researchers through collaborative partnerships. Improving the health and wellbeing of children is vital to ensuring that good health continues into adulthood which has implications for positive social, cultural, educational and economic outcomes.

    Investigators: Yvonne Cadet-James, Komla Tsey, Irina Kinchin [Cairns Institute Fellow], Roxanne Bainbridge [Cairns Institute Adjunct], Claire Campbell and Jane Mills in collaboration with Catherine Brown, Janya McCalman [Cairns Institute Adjunct], H Klieve, Mary Whiteside and Louis McPherson (Australian Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Centre; College of Arts, Society & Education; The Cairns Institute; Central Queensland University; College of Healthcare Sciences; Griffith University; La Trobe University)

    ARC Linkage Project (LP100200455)

    National research study of the civil and family law needs of indigenous people

    Indicative funding: $466,157 over 4 years, in partnership with Legal Aid Queensland ($15,000 over 3 yrs); Legal Aid Western Australia ($30,000 over 3 yrs); the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Legal Service (Qld) Ltd ($15,000 over 2 yrs); the Northern Territory Legal Aid Commission ($30,000 over 3 yrs) and Victoria Legal Aid ($30,000 over 3 yrs)

    This research will benefit Indigenous communities by improving access and equity in legal services. By identifying and addressing the civil and family law needs of Indigenous people, the research will make a key contribution to improving legal and social justice outcomes. Partner organisations in the research will actively implement the findings to the national benefit, creating more appropriate, accessible and better targeted legal services aimed at meeting identified needs. The research will make an important contribution to the Commonwealth's welfare reform and participation agendas, particularly its Access to Justice Framework as better access to legal services can play an important role in alleviating economic and social disadvantage.

    Investigators: Chris Cunneen, Melanie Schwartz and Larissa Behrendt 

    Collaborating Institutions: The Cairns Institute; College of Business, Law & Governance; University of New South Wales; University of Technology Sydney; Victoria Legal Aid; Northern Territory Legal Aid Commission; Legal Aid Queensland; Legal Aid Commission of Western Australia; Victorian Aboriginal Legal Service Co-operative Limited; North Australian Aboriginal Justice Agency Limited; North Australian Aboriginal Family Violence Legal Service; Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Legal Service (QLD) Limited; Aboriginal Legal Service of Western Australia Inc.; Central Australian Aboriginal Family Law Unit


    NHMRC - Career Development Fellowship

    Reducing harms from substance misuse in remote indigenous communities requires interventions delivered as promised with measurable impacts?

    Indicative Funding: $439,920 over 4 years

    The aims of the CDF scheme will allow me to achieve my objectives in that i) I am a mid-career researcher becoming independent and self-directed, ii) my research builds on Australia's public health research capacity, iii) my work program focuses on building and disseminating evidence for health policies that is iv) directly translated into practice and which v) engages with key components of the substance misuse prevention and treatment sector.

    Investigators: Alan Clough [Cairns Institute Fellow] (College of Public Health and Medical & Vet Sciences)

    ARC Discovery - Future Fellowships (FT110100587)

    Digital relations: New media in Arnhem Land

    Indicative funding: $432,356

    Digital media provide powerful new ways for remote indigenous Australians to participate in a globalising world. Research partnerships between clan groups, community-based Aboriginal organisations, and international institutes will reveal how Yolngu are creatively re-articulating contemporary social concerns and identities via new media forms.

    Chief Investigator: Jennifer Deger [Cairns Institute Theme Leader & Fellow]

    Collaborating Institution: The Cairns Institute

    ARC Discovery Project (DP130100184)

    A comparative analysis of youth punishment in Australia and the United Kingdom

    Indicative funding: $429,000 over 3 years

    The punishment of young offenders is a major feature of contemporary criminal justice policy. The Youth Punishment Project compares Australian and UK approaches to juvenile punishment and penal policy. The Project will examine developments in juvenile punishment, with a focus on the reasons behind increases in juvenile detention. The Project will examine countervailing influences in youth punishment including risk aversion, children's rights, restorative justice and retribution approaches. The Project uses an innovative multidisciplinary and comparative approach combining law, criminology and penology. A major outcome of the study will be policy-relevant analysis of differing approaches to juvenile penalty and their outcomes.

    Investigators: Chris Cunneen, Eileen Baldry, David Brown, Barry Goldson and Melanie Schwartz (College of Business, Law & Governance; The cairns Institute; The University of New South Wales and University of Liverpool)

    Lowitja Institute-Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health CRC - Research Activity Funding

    Developing a physical activity program for Aboriginal families with Machado Joseph Disease (MJD) living in the Top End of Australia

    Indicative funding: $99,076 over 3 years

    Worldwide, no research has been conducted to investigate the impact of physical activity on individuals with MJD. MJD is 100 times more prevalent in Aboriginal communities in the Top End than anywhere else in the world. This project will develop a physical activity program derived from the voices of the Warnindilyakwa people with MJD, scientific literature and strengthened using a modified Delphi consensus approach. The program is expected to:

    • Reduce the impact of MJD and keep families "stronger for longe"
    • Be transferrable to other communities
    • Build capacity of community research partners
    • Develop resources for health services to improve care for MJD families in Australia.

    Chief Investigators: Ruth Barker and Jennifer Carr with the help of Anne Lowell, Alan Clough [Fellow], Libby Massey, Joyce Lalara, Gayangwa Lalara and Gloria O'Hare (College of Healthcare Sciences, Charles Darwin University, College of Public Health, Medical & Vet Sciences and MJD Foundation)

    North Australian Indigenous Land and Sea Management Alliance Ltd (NAILSMA)

    1. Northern Australia policy development and sector development
    2. Northern Gulf community development

    Indicative funding: $40,000

    1. This project will develop a policy discussion paper concerning potential for a pan-northern Indigenous response to the Northern Australia White Paper that will support NAILSMA to engage with the wider Indigenous community and negotiate key outcomes with the Commonwealth Government.

    2. This project will support ANGIC to strengthen its governance arrangements to enable the development of critical economic and regional economic opportunities among its key traditional owner member groups.

    Chief Investigator: Allan Dale, The Cairns Institute


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