About ESRI

Health, education and inclusion - for all learners

Since its creation in 2014 as one of the University of Wollongong’s Research Strengths, the Early Start Research Institute has been working to overcome disadvantage and impact the lives of children, youth and families through its world class research.

The Early Start Research Institute’s primary business is to conduct world class, evidence-based research that drives government policy and assists industry professionals and the broader public in making informed educational decisions for policy and practice.

ESRI is made up of 26 members and more than 110 higher-degree research students across the areas of education, psychology, health sciences, arts and creative arts, and is currently ranked in the top 4 UOW Research Strengths based on research income, thesis completions, and publications. Seven of our members are full professors and are internationally recognised for their expertise in education, cognition, health, and physical activity.

The Institute comprises of three intersecting themes (Public Health, Social Inclusion, and Learning, Design, Cognition & Pedagogy) with a proven track record of collaboration among researchers from different disciplines across all three themes.

In the year 2013, ESRI members were awarded more than $4 million in competitive grants and contract funding, including eleven ARC/NHMRC grants and fellowships.

ESRI is the new face of the Interdisciplinary Educational Research Institute, which began in 2009, and was relaunched in 2014 as part of the Early Start initiative.

Impacting policy and practice

ESRI’s research is focused on impacting policy and practice, not only in the communities with which our researchers work, but nationally and internationally. ESRI’s research has recently worked to impact policy and practice through:

  • Developing the Physical Literacy Continuum for the NSW Department of Education & Communities.
  • Reviewing NSW Health's Supported Playgroups program.
  • Leading the research consortium that is updating the National Physical Activity Recommendations for school-aged children and adolescents.
  • Leading the development of the National Physical Activity Recommendations for children 0-5 years.
  • Evaluating the Stephanie Alexander National Kitchen Garden Project.
  • Creating Slowmation, a simplified way for students to design and make a stop-motion animation to explain a concept or tell a story. It is now being used in science education courses in at least 8 Australian universities, 14 overseas universities, and schools around the world. 

Annual Report

ESRI Annual Report 2015 (PDF)ESRI Annual Report 2015 (PDF)