Professor Billie Giles-Corti, Director of the McCaughey VicHealth Centre for Community Wellbeing will lead the national research team.
The Centre will bring together a team of international researchers to identify the most cost-effective improvements to the built environment to create healthy, liveable and more equitable communities. It will study the impact of human-made environments on chronic disease, physical activity, obesity, and mental health, and how the built environment can better support health and wellbeing in the context of rapid population growth.
Researchers will work with policy-makers and practitioners across planning, urban design, transport planning and health to develop research questions and tools that will inform urban planning policy and practice.
University of Melbourne Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research) Professor James McCluskey said it was an exciting development in an important area of research that crosses several professional and research boundaries.
“The University is pleased to be working with the NHMRC to develop a Centre of Excellence in Healthy, Liveable and Equitable Communities and contribute research that feeds into addressing the University’s Grand Challenges by contributing to Health and Wellbeing and aligning Melbourne with the very best research institutions in the world,” he said.
“The University of Melbourne is committed to working with partner institutions to help address the leading challenges facing society.
“Professor Giles-Corti brings extensive experience and research expertise on the impact of the built environment and health and community wellbeing.”
Professor Giles-Corti said the Centre would bring together researchers from different areas of the University to solve complex problems, which is one of the strengths of the University of Melbourne.
“The Centre’s research is expected to impact on a local, national and international level and will involve collaborators throughout the world,” she said.
Collaborating universities include the University of Western Australia, Queensland University of Technology, University of Queensland, University of South Australia, Cambridge University, Harvard University, University of London St George and public health research capacity The Centre of Excellence in Intervention and Prevention Science (CEIPS).
“We hope our research will help answer questions about how much change to the urban environment is needed to improve health and wellbeing outcomes.”
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