The BSL Social Policy and Research Centre team includes staff who possess both international and national social policy and research experience.

We conduct research across a wide range of issues including climate and energy, disability, early years, education and training, housing and homelessness, income and social security, work and youth. The team also includes honorary research and policy associates, specialist social policy librarians and a research editor, as well as administrative staff.

Together we strive to create knowledge and build evidence that seeds new approaches to social policy, programs and practice that help shape a better future for people and communities experiencing poverty, inequity and social exclusion.

SPARC Leadership Team

  • Nicole Bieske , Director
  • Ismo Rama  Principal Policy Advisor
  • Joseph Borlagdan Principal Research Fellow, Youth Opportunity
    – Youth studies; homelessness; inequality; applied sociology; adaptive methodologies
  • Dina Bowman Principal Research Fellow, Work and Economic Security and Honorary Principal Fellow, University of Melbourne
    – Economic security; social security; financial wellbeing; work; poverty
  • Katy Cornwell  Head, Monitoring Evaluation and Learning
  • Kira Clarke Principal Research Fellow, Skills and Training
    – Youth transitions; vocational education & training (VET); post-compulsory education; practitioner research; initial teacher education; education policy
  • Damian Sullivan Principal, Climate Change and Energy
    – Climate change; energy affordability; energy efficiency; sustainability

    Specialist staff

    • Shanshan He, Executive Administration Assistant
    • Alex Bishop, Research Editor

    Researchers and policy advisors


    • Amber Mills, Senior Research Fellow

    Work and economic security

    • Emily Porter Senior Research Fellow
      – Financial inclusion; economic security; financial stress
    • Ursula Harrison Research Fellow
      – Work; economic security; Life Chances Study
    • Margaret Kabare Senior Research Officer
      – Women’s economic security
    • Kelly Bowey  Policy Advisor
      – Social security; employment services; financial wellbeing

    Climate change, energy and equity

    • David Bryant Senior Research Officer
      – Climate change; energy affordability; energy efficiency; sustainability
    • Emma Chessell Project Manager
      – Energy efficiency; regulated markets; renewable energy
    • Victoria Johnson Project Manager
      – Energy efficiency
    • Corinne Davis, Research Assistant
    • Rebecca Szwede, Research Assistant
    • Anna Semmens, Research Assistant
    • Vanessa Gooch, Research Assistant


    • Reana Cazar  Senior Research Officer
    • Sinead Gibney-Hughes Senior Policy Advisor
    • Liam Fallon Senior Research Officer
      – Employment; skills and training; disability supports
    • Eliza Cotton, Senior Research Officer

    Education skills and training 

    • David Longley Senior Research Officer
      – Vocational education; skills and training; apprenticeships; ‘clean’ skills
    • Madeleine Morey Senior Research Officer
      – Vocational education reform; social research methods
    • Jonathan Drew  Research Officer
    • Katrina Hart, Research Officer

    Monitoring, evaluation and learning (MEL)

    • Tim Gilley, Senior Research Fellow
    • Aradhana Barua Research Officer
      – Inclusive education; HIPPY; quantitative research method