USYD Law Building

Research Incubator

Supporting research and informing urban policy

Our flagship research scheme supports multi-disciplinary teams develop and disseminate a program of research around key urban problems, advancing dialogue between researchers, policy makers, practitioners and the wider community.

Current Incubator

The research incubator program is our flagship funding scheme, designed to foster opportunities for multi-disciplinary teams to build impactful research projects and collaborations. Led by outstanding mid- or early- career researchers, previous research incubators have focused on housing, Aboriginal housing, citizen engagement, and infrastructure governance. We are delighted to announce our next research incubator ‘Climate change, place and mental health’ will be led by Dr Marlee Bower. This incubator aims to understand the causal pathways and intersections between built environment and mental health in the context of growing climate change in Australia.

The program is led by Dr Marlee Bower, a Research Fellow at the Matilda Centre. Dr Bower’s work addresses the broader social determinants of mental health and how this relates to the built environment. She is currently working as the Academic Lead on Australia's Mental Health Think Tank. 

Past Incubators

The Infrastructure Governance Incubator takes a comprehensive approach to develop an infrastructure governance model for Australian cities. Informed by international best practices, the incubator aims to develop a novel infrastructure governance model for Australia enabling alignment between strategic planning and project delivery in terms of visioning and policy formulation, financing, and public engagement.

More information on the Infrastructure Governance Incubator

Project Team

The Infrastructure Incubator is led by A/Prof. Tooran Alizadeh based at the University of Sydney, and includes a multi-university core team of A/Prof. Liton Kamruzzaman (Monash University), Dr. Crystal Legacy University of Melbourne), A/Prof. Glen Searle (University of Sydney) and Postdoctoral Research Fellow Rebecca Clements (University of Sydney).

The Housing for Health research incubator brings together Australia’s leading experts in Indigenous social policy analysis, health and housing. Working closely with industry partner, Healthabitat, to tackle the challenge of decent housing and infrastructure in Indigenous Australia.

Housing for Health incubator – Research project (

Project Team

The Housing for Health Incubator was lead by Professor Tess Lea (University of Sydney), in collaboration with Dr Liam Grealy, Dr Kirsty Howey, Stephanie King, Professor Allan McConnell and Dr Christen Cornell (University of Sydney).  

This Incubator contributed to scholarly understanding of citizen participation in urban governance. It provided an international comparative analysis of how urban alliances are formed, how they operate, how they relate to existing forms of citizen participation in existing structures of urban governance and planning, and their effectiveness as vehicles for citizen engagement and empowerment.

Project Team

This Incubator was led by Associate Professor Kurt Iveson from the University of Sydney’s School of Geosciences and Professor John Keane, Dr Madeleine Pill, Dr Adrienne Keane, Prof Helga Leitner, Assoc Prof Mark Davidson, Professor Jane Wills, Professor Romand Coles and Professor Leo Penta.

Housing is central to socially just and economically productive cities, yet provision of appropriate and affordable housing near transport and jobs remains a key challenge.  Bringing together a multi-disciplinary team of urban planners, data scientists, economists and geographers, this Incubator  examined Sydney’s housing system in comparative context and advanced a series of studies and publications on housing affordability, urban inequality, transport accessibility, regional populations, the impacts of the so called ‘sharing economy’ on cities and housing markets and more. The Incubator resulted in the ongoing Urban Housing Lab, hosted by the Sydney School of Architecture, Planning and Design.

Project Team

This Incubator was led by Professor Nicole Gurran from the University of Sydney’s School of Architecture, Design and Planning and Dr Somwrita Sarkar, with researchers Dr Jennifer Kent, Catherine Gilbert, Stacey Miers and Hanley Weng.