Centre for Social Impact Swinburne

Areas of research

We work closely with industry, government and civic organisations to research in four key areas.

Social innovation

CSI Swinburne aims to solve complex and entrenched social issues, known as wicked social problems, which limit inclusive economic development. We focus on achieving social impact through a diverse and collaborative approach – by actively engaging with multiple stake-holders, service users, and lived experience from marginalised groups, we research creative and scalable solutions. We use a range of participatory and partnership-based methodologies with advanced technology to contribute to progressive and practical social impact. 

Social investment and philanthropy

CSI Swinburne focuses on understanding and enabling transparent and diverse investment and philanthropy. We focus on understanding and promoting leadership in this area, and characterising the nature of giving in Australia. We investigate how to optimise investment in social impact to advance both social and economic goals.

Our research adds to sectoral understanding into the social economy in Australia, the Asia-Pacific region, and around the globe.

Enterprise for social goals

CSI Swinburne is a leader in studying the nature and role of social enterprises in the Australian context and internationally. We explore the interface between social enterprise business activity and social goals and we investigate how businesses and corporations approach and perceive corporate social responsibility. We explore how to expand the role of enterprising business with a focus on social entrepreneurship, the social economy, rural livelihoods, and the role of private-sector business in achieving social impact.

Our research examines best practice approaches to doing business for the social good in an era of uncertainty, global risks and economic interdependencies.

Measuring social impact

Evaluation and social impact measurement is crucial to characterising the scope of social impact and understanding its real affects in society. Using an evidence-based collaborative approach, we explore measures and methods to pinpoint areas that require evaluation. Our measures and methods are practical and dynamic, and place real-time knowledge and power in the hands of the enterprises utilising them.

We implement evaluation and social impact measurement across each of our research areas, together with members of the CSI network.