Our Research


DBS approach to sustainability, PRME and SDGs facilitated by the UN SDG Agenda and PRME principles, DBS is working towards a shared future, integrating economic, environmental and social aspects of sustainability in all dimensions.

In 2020 DBS introduced four areas of reputational excellence (Themes) to ensure we are consistent with our accreditation reports. Internally, we use the Themes as a shortcut term; externally, they are aggregates of our impact with a focused and explicit commitment to sustainability. Each theme is designed to be external facing allowing them to become conduits for enhancing the intellectual contributions and reputation of DBS while also helping DBS achieve its mission of supporting the communities with whom we engage. These themes intersect with all aspects of DBS from teaching to research to engagement.

Four strategic themes:

Capital Markets

SDGs: 4, 8, 9

Capital markets are fundamental to modern society, yet critics frequently point to the instability or unsustainability of various facets of modern capital markets. Areas of focus within the capital markets theme consequently include: financial stability, and Integrated Reporting.


Deakin Integrated Reporting Centre (DIRC)

DIRC provides strategic and operational leadership in integrated reporting (IR) policy and technical knowledge, as well as academic and executive education and cutting-edge research. DBS launched DIRC with the aim of making the innovative integrated reporting model the 'new normal' in Australia in 2019. The first of its kind in Australia, the Centre is a collaboration between the DBS, Association of Chartered Certified Accountants, Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand, and KPMG.

Integrated Reporting takes traditional financial reporting further to give a transparent picture of what organisations are working towards. That's critical information for investors, and in fact all stakeholders including customers, employees and regulators, and is also an important way to build trust in the community.


Impact Finance Hub

We explore how innovations in finance and investment can be used to generate beneficial economic and societal impact, toward a world where all financial innovations generate beneficial economic and societal impact by design.

Areas of research:

  • Fintech
  • SDG investment and financing
  • Islamic financing
Small Business and Entrepreneurship Small Business

SDGs: 4, 8, 9

Businesses with fewer than 20 employees make up 97.8% of all businesses in Australia while employing 44.2% of all Australians. Yet this vital part of the economy remains poorly served by academic research. This theme consequently examines ways of improving the productivity and performance of small business.


IPA-Deakin SME Research Centre (IDSRC)

The Centre’s scope of activities includes providing issues briefings, policy papers and academic research with a SME focus. These include areas such as, but not limited to, enhancing the productivity and performance of SMEs, the well-being of SME owners, SMEs access to finance, sustainability, governance, small business regulation, self-managed superannuation funds and financial services. The Centre is affiliated with leading international SME researchers and research centres, such as Professor Robert Blackburn and the Small Business Research Centre at Kingston University.

Research undertaken within the Centre has brought together unique expertise in the areas of SME governance and regulation. This Centre is rapidly gaining a distinctive footprint with its links to leading international SME researchers and research centres such as the Small Business Research Centre at Kingston University in the UK; high profile government submissions, policy papers and briefings; and high-quality academic research. The work of IPA Deakin SME Research Centre provides a model of applied research leading the world in delivering critical reform to the SME sector backed up with tangible policy announcements.

How IDSRC’s research is making an impact

Protecting the mental health of small-medium enterprise owners—The Institute for Public Accountants

The IPA-Deakin SME Research Centre is participating in a research project funded by the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) partnership grant. This 3-year project, which received $1.27 million in NHMRC funding in 2019, is in partnership with the Institute of Public Accountants, Beyond Blue, Worksafe Victoria and Mental Health First Aid Australia. This innovative multi-disciplinary research project evaluates a potentially high- impact intervention strategy to help upskill accountants to deliver mental health first aid to their SME clients who are particularly vulnerable to mental health and financial stress issues.

Support mental health among small businesses

DBS researchers Professors Andrew Noblet (Management) and George Tanewski (Accounting) were awarded a $2.24 million Category 2 grant from the Department of Innovation, Science, Energy and Resources (DISER) in October 2020. Announced by Federal Treasurer during the federal budget, the grant was part of the government’s COVID-19 Response Package to support mental health among small businesses. The DISER grant enables the researchers to expand the Mental Health First Aid’ (MHFA) and ‘Relationship Building’ (RBT) training of the NHMRC partnership to reach up to 5,000 participants and to add two booster training sessions to the program, enabling enhanced knowledge transfer in the accounting profession. The DISER project also offers an important avenue for the early identification, management or prevention of various mental health conditions.

White Paper for SMEs

The Federal government has adopted key recommendations from the White Paper for SMEs developed by IPA Deakin SME Research Centre in 2018 and introduced a $2 billion securitisation fund for SMEs. This will provide incentive and capacity to smaller banks and non-bank lenders to free capital up and lend to more small businesses, giving small businesses the confidence to grow and employ. The government has also clearly indicated its establishment of an Australian Growth Fund again directly attributable to the work undertaken through the IPA Deakin SME Research Centre and the Small Business White Paper process.

More recently, the Centre has written a White Paper entitled 'Small Business White Paper 2021: Post COVID Policy Options to Enhance Australia’s Innovation Capabilities' which has been launched in July 2021.

Australian Accounting Standards Board (AASB) grant

The SME Research Centre in October 2018 received $20,000 from the Australian Accounting Standards Board (AASB) to undertake a research project on the 'Financial Reporting Practices of For-Profit SME Entities Lodging Special Purpose Financial Reports with ASIC'. Outcomes of this research led to AASB releasing exposure draft and amending the accounting standards as follows:

  • Exposure Draft 293 in July 2019: “AASB ED 293: Amendments to Australian Accounting Standards –

Disclosure in Special Purpose Financial Statements of Compliance with Recognition and Measurement Requirements”

  • Exposure Draft 295 in August 2019 “AASB ED 295 General Purpose Financial Statements –

Simplified Disclosures for For-Profit and Not-for-Profit Tier 2 Entities” for feedback, comments and consultations.

  • The AASB released in March 2020, “AASB 2020-2: Amendments to Australian Accounting Standards –

Removal of Special Purpose Financial Statements for Certain for Profit Private Sector Entities”. This Standard applies to annual reporting periods beginning on or after 1 July 2021.


Women's Entrepreneurship Research Alliance

We develop research-based programs that empower women in India and Australia to engage in entrepreneurial activity. Our vision is for women in India and Australia to have the same participation and success rates in entrepreneurial activity as men.

Areas of research:

  • Examine the social and cultural determinants of entrepreneurial behaviour and success amongst women
  • Trial and evaluate entrepreneurship training and development programs
Business and Technology

SDGs: 4, 8, 9, 12

Many businesses have struggled to adapt or implement technology in ways that fully unlock its transformative potential. The overarching focus of this theme is on addressing the barriers to successfully adopt technology within firms focusing on: analytics, decision support systems, and people.


Deakin MarTech Clinic

Helping Australian SMEs to harness Marketing Technologies (MarTech) efficiently and effectively, through research, education, and engagement.

Areas of research:

  • Effective application of marketing technologies by Australian SMEs, with the aim of delivering tangible (e.g. efficiency gains and cost savings) and intangible (e.g. employee participation and satisfaction) business benefits
  • Design/architecture and implementation, marketing automation tools, as well as data and analytics platforms
  • Services marketing, customer analytics and marketing communications
Business and Society

SDGs: 3, 4, 5, 8, 10

The focus on the symbiotic relationship that exists between business and society forms the philosophical foundation of this theme. The theme focuses particularly on the potential for businesses to transform society positively and on increasing business resilience to future shocks: health and well-being, sustainability, diversity and inclusion and resilience to future shocks.


Centre for Refugee Employment, Advocacy, Training & Education (CREATE)

CREATE aims to build knowledge and understanding of how best to support people from a refugee background to rebuild their careers after leaving their home country through obtaining meaningful employment and accessing vocational training and education. The Centre works closely with non-governmental and governmental organizations to develop practical solutions which support refugee integration into the workplace and the vocational and higher education sectors, as well as advocate on behalf of the refugee community to foster policy changes that support such integration.

The research centre undertakes the following activities:

  • Develops innovative research projects that improve understanding of how to support people from a refugee background to access education and training, and obtain employment.
  • Undertakes research-informed training and education programmes that support refugees to re-establish their careers.
  • Undertakes advocacy on behalf of the refugee community to instigate changes in government policy which reduce the barriers faced by refugees in obtaining employment and accessing education.
  • Holds workshops where academics, policy makers and representatives from non-governmental organizations can discuss issues related to refugee employment, training and education.

How CREATE’s research is making an impact

Careers Clinics for People from a Refugee Background

The Centre runs career clinics to provide people from a refugee background with career advice. The clinics have been designed to help people from a refugee background to: identify career pathways; give them the tools to build their networks as well as assisting in sourcing employment opportunities; and to prepare job applications, resumes, cover letters, and responses to key selection criteria. The clinic program is based on a mentor-mentee program. The mentor (someone with experience in the Australian employment landscape) and mentee (person from a refugee background) work together to explore pathways to meaningful employment for the mentee.


Centre for Energy, the Environment and Natural Disaster (CEEND) Refugee Employment, Advocacy, Training & Education (CREATE)

The Centre works at the forefront of contemporary debates on energy, the environment and natural disasters. It focuses on the business and economic dimensions of three interrelated issues that regularly feature in Australian public debate: energy, the environment, and natural disasters. It works together and in close partnership with government and industry to deliver independent, academically rigorous and impactful research to facilitate emerging policy debates. Recent significant funding to the Centre has come from the Bushfire and Natural Hazards CRC and industry (e.g., AusNet Services), and research emanating from this funding is shaping how the Australian public service evaluates the economic impact of natural disasters and informing the market offerings associated with new forms of green energy distribution.

How CEEND’s research is making an impact

Optimising Post-Disaster Recovery Interventions in Australia

Ulubasoglu. M. Optimising Post-Disaster Recovery Interventions in Australia. Funding Body: The Bushfire and Natural Hazards Cooperative Research Centre, Australian Federal Government. Funding Amount: $560,000. Project Period: 2017–2020.

The primary objective of this research project is to estimate the sector-disaggregated economic effects of the QLD Floods 2010–11, the Black Saturday Bushfires 2009, and Cyclone Oswald 2013 to support the decision-making process in the design of post-disaster recovery interventions.

Does Desulfurization of Power Plants Reduce Pregnancy Risk?

Air pollution poses a major environmental risk to human health, increasing the risk of morbidity and mortality at all ages. Dr.

Shuddhasattwa Rafiq from CEEND has recently published on of the pioneering studies assessing the success of a technology- based intervention for air-pollution abatement in Chinese power plants that is targeted at improving outcomes for prenatal maternal health. This natural experiment-based research indicates that desulfurizing a power plant with a capacity of 10,000 MW decreases high-risk pregnancy for at least 177 mothers in every 10,000 cases. From a policy perspective, this study estimates that the adoption of Flue Gas Desulfurization (FGD) in China saves approximately 83,405 mothers from high-risk pregnancy in a five- year period.

Webinar on Disaster Recovery

Prof Mehmet Ulubasoglu’s webinar on, “Economics in disaster recovery: Optimising post-disaster recovery interventions in Australia” hosted by the Bushfire and Natural Hazards CRC (BNHCRC) in partnership with Deakin University.


Prof Mehmet Ulubasoglu’s article, “Natural disasters increase inequality. Recovery funding may make things worse”, published in The Conversation contributes to the public debate.


Arts and Cultural Organisations Research Deakin (ACiRE)

This Unit helps arts and cultural organisations to flourish.

Areas of research:

  • Organisational change
  • Audience engagement
  • Stakeholder engagement
  • Workforce development
  • Policy analysis
  • Impact evaluation
  • Market and brand development


Better Consumption Lab

The lab provides consumer and service insights to help address the world’s consumption challenges, to transform consumption into something that is healthy, sustainable, and just.

Areas of research:

  • Health and wellbeing consumption
  • Sustainable consumption
  • Consumption and justice


Learning Futures Hub

The Leadership Futures Hub works to make a positive impact on society through helping existing and emergent leaders build the capabilities needed to address contemporary and future challenges.

With organisations facing escalating challenges in an uncertain and volatile world, the Leadership Futures Hub provides cutting-edge research and resources to help leaders from all industry sectors build their capabilities and use problem-solving skills to create new opportunities.

Bringing together scholars and industry leaders, the hub produces advanced leadership knowledge and best leadership practices through collaborative research projects, training and mentoring, public forums and consulting services.

Our work focuses on the following areas of leadership:

  • crisis leadership
  • responsible leadership
  • leadership for health and wellbeing
  • leadership for equity, diversity and inclusion.

We establish partnerships between organisations, leaders and academics to exchange ideas and investigate solutions to key leadership challenges. Our research also informs Deakin's teaching through course materials for the Master of Leadership program and an upcoming short course on crisis leadership through FutureLearn.

The hub's work is released through a variety of channels including academic publications, industry reports and masterclasses.