In Summary

Renowned social sector innovator and Pro Bono Australia founder Karen Mahlab AM has been appointed Chair of the Advisory Committee of Swinburne’s Social Innovation Research Institute.

The Social Innovation Research Institute is one of five institutes the university has established to work at the frontiers of research and innovation in priority areas in line with Swinburne’s 2020 Research and Innovation Strategy.

It builds on Swinburne’s dedication to impactful and innovative research, employing design-driven thinking and technology to solve complex social issues such as:

  • Growing pressure on public services from an ageing population and health system costs
  • Polarisation in wealth distribution
  • Labour market disruptions like automation, the sharing economy and casualisation
  • Family violence, stalking, arson, internet offending, terrorism and cybercrime
  • Growing populations in the correction system requiring new approaches to justice

Swinburne Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research and Development) Professor Aleksandar Subic says: “Karen Mahlab is well known in the third sector. She has been an innovator in initiating social change programs. Her experience and leadership will be invaluable to our team as we work together to create social impact through world class research. We look forward to her involvement with the Institute.”

After a successful career in advertising and publishing, Ms Mahlab launched Pro Bono Australia in 1999 as one of Australia's first social purpose business ventures. Pro Bono Australia is now a major gateway and media organisation for the Australian not-for-profit sector. Ms Mahlab has been a board member of many organisations including the Australian Communities Foundation, Stand Up, Ten20, and currently the Reichstein Foundation and the Australian Art Orchestra.

She was awarded an Order of Australia (AM) Queens Birthday 2015 for contribution to the Australian Not for Profit sector and Innovation in Philanthropy.

Industry Advisory Committee

The Industry Advisory Committee offers the Institute Director advice, expertise and experience relating to achieving its vision, objectives and strategy. This includes matters relating to specific program themes, relevant industry/sectoral trends, policy, skills and training, business development and market intelligence.