Barwon Health

Improving health and wellbing in partnership

Deakin and Barwon Health have partnered for more than two decades, improving health services and powering innovation in the Barwon region and beyond. The partnership helps to build a health workforce of medical, nursing and midwifery, and allied health clinicians.

We’ve collaborated on over 100 research projects to support better health outcomes locally, regionally, nationally and internationally. Our research partnership enhances social, cultural, economic and community outcomes including mental health, cancer services, maternal and child health, healthy ageing and population health.

Institute for Mental and Physical Health and Clinical Translation

The Institute for Mental and Physical Health and Clinical Translation (IMPACT) is a medical research institute within Deakin's School of Medicine. The team of more than 300 researchers, clinicians and students work to explore and discover new solutions to complex mental and physical health problems. IMPACT is unique in its transdisciplinary and collaborative structure, with a silo-free approach allowing findings from the benchtops of science laboratories to quickly reach the bedsides of clinical trials patients. Clinicians at Barwon Health, such as psychiatrists and dietitians, are involved with IMPACT, providing synergy between real-world clinical and research settings.

Barwon Infant Study

The Barwon Infant Study (BIS) is one of the most successful birth cohort studies in the world and has been awarded more than $12m from 15 separate grants. Building on a high level of community and participant engagement, 1074 mothers and their infants were recruited and have now been followed for more than a decade. BIS has been designed to place cutting-edge laboratory research in a real-world setting. The BIS team have produced over 70 peer-reviewed papers describing novel targets for the prevention of some of the most common and important challenges in the modern world, including food allergy and asthma, autism, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, learning difficulties and increased cardiometabolic risk.

Geelong Osteoporosis Study

The Geelong Osteoporosis Study (GOS) is a large cohort study that has been running in the Geelong region for 30 years, generating serial data for adults selected at random from electoral rolls. This is one of few large population-based cohort studies in Australia, which is documenting changes to the health and wellbeing of young, middle-aged and older men and women over decades.

Key activities of the GOS are to generate and analyse serial data and biological samples from GOS participants to provide evidence for factors that challenge physical and mental decline during ageing. We reveal potential mechanisms that underlie their decline, focused on disuse, low-grade inflammation, ectopic fat accumulation, metabolic and neuropsychiatric imbalances, and nutritional inadequacies.

Shaping the future together

Building on our past research partnership activities, we'll deliver new initiatives to support our joint clinical academic strategy and the expansion of impactful leadership development opportunities. Our future initiatives demonstrate our strong continuing commitment to grow our partnership in ways that directly benefit our communities over the short, medium and long term.

Barwon Health partnership projects

We continue to look forward to building a bright future with a shared vision for developing the workforce of the future and research that transforms lives across our communities.

Clinician Scientist Pathway

We are creating Australia’s most innovative Clinician Scientist Pathway, co-investing $1.34m over four years to fund 10 clinician PhDs across medicine, nursing and allied health. We know a thriving clinician PhD program is vital to the future of our partnership and brings immediate and long-term benefits to patient care.

Business of Health Initiative

Deakin’s Faculties of Health, Business and Law and Barwon Health will support nine seeding grants over three years for early career researchers to gather information that supports competitive external grant applications. The initiative includes mentoring from experienced academics and enables exploration of key health service challenges, including workforce growth, education and clinical practice, leadership, research training, sustainability and facility-related challenges.

Change to Improve Mental Health co-investment

The Change to Improve Mental Health (CHIME) translational research partnership between Deakin and Barwon was established in 2020 with start-up co-investment of $300k. This investment has subsequently leveraged $1.7m in research activity from external and internal sources, including $1.3m in competitive funding and government contracts.

Leadership development opportunities

A bespoke leadership development program has been developed by Deakin Co for Barwon Health. Piloting in 2023, the program will initially focus on building the leadership capability of Barwon Health’s senior nursing workforce. Evaluation will be undertaken at the conclusion of the program, with a view to subsequent expansion across other areas of need at Barwon Health.

MBA Capstone Project

The MBA Capstone Project requires MBA students to apply knowledge and learning from across their MBA to a significant organisational issue at Barwon Health. Leading People in Organisations will see a team of MBA students working intensively with Barwon Health over a four-week timeframe to develop solutions to a leadership and management-related challenge in the sector.

CIIDIR seeding grants

The Centre for Innovation in Infectious Disease and Immunology Research (CIIDIR) leverages existing strengths in human infectious disease, microbiome and immunology research. The Centre conducts innovative, locally relevant and internationally important research that enhances prevention, control, and treatment of infectious and immune-mediated diseases.

Our partnership

Partnership governance is supported by Barwon Health – Deakin University Partnership Oversight Group, co-chaired by Barwon Health’s Chief Executive, Frances Diver, and Deakin’s Vice Chancellor Professor Iain Martin. The group sets the partnership strategic direction, objectives and priorities and oversees implementation of agreed initiatives.


  • Innovating for community benefit in response to current and future sector challenges.
  • Operating as an integrated research-practice partnership that facilitates innovation and translation.
  • Building capacity in education, training and leadership and training the best clinicians across regional and rural communities.
  • Leveraging university and health service capability to achieve outcomes that translate directly to improved care at the bedside.
  • Leveraging our respective networks and engagement with regional consumers and communities to support research.
  • Partnering with our communities to conduct and translate internationally significant population-based studies and clinical trials.
  • Prioritising strategic joint investments that support our aims to impact positively across the community.
  • Establishing a joint health innovation and translation precinct to serve regional and rural Victoria.

Contact us

Get in touch with Co-Director of Research, Erica Grundell, Barwon Health, to learn more about the Barwon Health Partnership.