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Professor Jane Farmer

Director, Swinburne Social Innovation Research Institute


Professor Jane Farmer is Foundation Director of the Social Innovation Research Institute at Swinburne University of Technology, Melbourne. She has a distinguished track record of research in rural health services design, social enterprise, social capital and social connection and the role of technology and data science in addressing social challenges.  Throughout her career, Jane has worked in collaborations and partnerships with citizens, communities, community and other types of organisations. Addressing disadvantage and social and health inequity is central to her research activity. In recent years, she has developed innovative work to codesign data analytics projects with non-government organisations and the wider community and humanitarian sector. Jane has a longstanding interest in innovative research methodologies.

Jane’s current projects include an Australia Research Council (ARC) Linkage Project 'Activating Social Connection to end isolation in Australia', ARC Discovery Project ‘Optimising the roles of online communities in rural resilience’ and an ARC Linkage Project ‘Data Co-op Platform for Social Impact and Wellbeing’. She is involved in many other projects including about community mental health initiatives, social connection and community data collaborative projects. Jane has also led large international multidisciplinary, multi-site projects such as O4O: Older People for Older People, a five-country, European-Union funded, prize-winning project that examined older people’s involvement in establishing rural social enterprises to provide basic local health and social care. She has undertaken research, evaluation and consultancy for governments internationally.

Jane worked in Scotland as Co-Director of the Centre for Rural Health Research at University of the Highlands and Islands from 2006-10 and was then Head of the La Trobe University Rural Health School, Australia from 2010-13, followed by senior research leadership positions at La Trobe University, Melbourne until 2016.

Research interests

Public and Environmental Health; Aged care; Entrepreneurship; Innovation; Social enterprise; Social impact; Service Design

PhD candidate and honours supervision

Higher degrees by research

Accredited to supervise Masters & Doctoral students as Principal Supervisor.


Available to supervise honours students.

Fields of Research

  • Policy And Administration - 440700
  • Health Services And Systems - 420300
  • Public Health - 420600


Also published as: Farmer, Jane; Farmer, J.
This publication listing is provided by Swinburne Research Bank. If you are the owner of this profile, you can update your publications using our online form.

Recent research grants awarded

  • 2023: Design and Implementation of the Social Connection Assessment & Enablement Toolkit *; ARIIA Grant Program
  • 2022: Activating social connection to address isolation in Australia *; ARC Linkage Projects Scheme
  • 2022: The InterGen Project: Creating a community model for intergenerational social connection *; Victorian Health Promotion Foundation
  • 2021: Collaborative data analytics exploring family safety outcomes *; Department of Health and Human Services Fund Scheme
  • 2021: Members and Connection *; Australian Red Cross
  • 2021: Mental Health Deep Dive *; Zurich Australia Fund Scheme
  • 2020: Data Co-operative Platform for Social Impact and Wellbeing *; ARC Linkage Infrastructure and Equipment Scheme
  • 2020: Optimising the roles of online communities in rural resilience *; ARC Discovery Projects Scheme
  • 2020: Regional Alliance for Social Inclusion *; Department of Jobs, Precincts and Regions
  • 2020: Regional Data Co-op Project *; Bendigo Community Health
  • 2020: Rural Outreach Program Evaluation *; Edenhope and Memorial Hospital
  • 2019: Advancing Social Connections *; Australian Red Cross
  • 2019: Efficiently Doing Good *; Australian Red Cross
  • 2019: Proposal to support the Foundation’s review into investing in rural Australian mental health improvement *; The Paul Ramsay Foundation
  • 2019: Strengthening the Not for Profit Sector: Data for Good Sandpit *; Lord Mayor’s Charitable Fund (LMCF)
  • 2018: Community collective impact for local best-practice community co-produced rural mental health services *; Helen Macpherson Smith Trust Grants
  • 2018: Landscape review of maternity services education in Victoria *; VMIA State-Wide Maternity Services Program
  • 2018: Linked semantic platforms for social & physical infrastructure & wellbeing *; ARC Linkage Infrastructure and Equipment Scheme
  • 2018: Measuring social impact and attitudes towards gender and family violence project *; Department of Premier & Cabinet Victoria
  • 2018: WOmen’s action for Mums and Bubs (WOMB): A pragmatic trial of participatory women’s groups to improve Indigenous maternal and child health *; NHMRC Project Grants
  • 2017: Community Participation Method for Rural Medicare Local population health planning *; NHMRC Partnership Project
  • 2017: HelpDem: Skilled Volunteers for Dementia - Evaluation of Volunteer Training Program *; Foundation for Rural & Regional Renewal
  • 2017: Improving Health Equity of Young People? The role of social enterprise *; ARC Linkage Projects Scheme
  • 2017: Increasing inclusion in rural, generalist health services *; ARC Discovery Projects Scheme
  • 2017: Mapping the effect of social enterprise on regional city disadvantage *; ARC Discovery Projects Scheme
  • 2017: The Virtual Dementia Friendly Rural Community (VERILY) Project *; Australian Government Department of Health

* Chief Investigator

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