Piloting social interventions that lead to practical pathways out of disadvantage and transform human capabilities

Translating research based on a life-course approach remains an under-developed field. Small intervention programs for addressing disadvantage often underperform when instigated at a larger scale. These shortcomings can, in part, be addressed through a better understanding of social connections and how they serve to actively transmit deep and persistent disadvantage over the life course.


The Life Course Centre’s Social Transformation Research Program aims to improve life outcomes for children and families. It builds on the findings of the Disadvantage Systems and Human Capabilities research programs and identifies new integrated social interventions to trial. The goal is to influence the multiple dimensions of social disadvantage, and measure the effectiveness of each intervention at alleviating deep and persistent disadvantage.


Projects in this program are:

  • identifying the key factors that foster and inhibit the capacity of community members to engage in informal control over time in ways that will reduce and prevent deep and persistent disadvantage
  • assessing whether social connectedness can disrupt longitudinal pathways to delinquency, crime and other measures of disadvantage
  • designing improved methods for quasi-experimental research in social intervention studies
  • piloting a tiered population-level social intervention system that includes whole-of-population strategies that are light touch and universal, as well as more intensive programs
  • determining how to optimally combine universal and targeted policies and programs aimed at prevention with those that seek to remediate disadvantage
  • integrating new targeted social interventions based on and evidence from pilot studies and simulations in Program 2 (Human Capabilities) into the system for evaluation
  • identifying the political, social and community determinants of program uptake by end-users and consumers.

Program Leader: Professor Lorraine Mazerolle