Professor Jo Barraket

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Jo Barraket is Professor and Director of the Melbourne Social Equity Institute. She is also a member of the Dilun Duwa Centre for Indigenous Business Leadership.

A political sociologist, Jo is Australia’s premier researcher of social enterprise and a leading researcher of social innovation. Her work focuses on how social equity is improved through new ways of organising, resourcing and scaling social change, and the relationships between state and civil society organisations in policy processes. Jo’s current projects include comparative research on implementing social procurement policies in Victoria and Scotland, and a study of the effects of social procurement on youth unemployment in the construction industry. She has previously led national and state-based mapping of social enterprise, action research on the impacts of social enterprise through the Social Enterprise Impact Lab, and was a founding researcher of the Australian Digital Inclusion Index. She has led multiple evaluations for governments, philanthropy and social economy organisations, including evaluating the Commonwealth Social Enterprise Development and Investment Funds.

Jo is passionate about community-engaged and transdisciplinary research in support of a fairer world. She conducts research that generates high quality research publications, as well as outputs – such as interactive online tools, policy and practice guides – which support the uptake and use of research knowledge. She has led or co-led more than $11 million, including six ARC grants, in funded research and 75 scholarly publications in her areas of expertise. Jo is a regular advisor to governments, philanthropy and industry and has been national expert advisor to the OECD on two initiatives related to improving inclusive employment through the social economy. Prior to her current role at the University of Melbourne, she was the founding director of the Centre for Social Impact Swinburne, which she built into the largest social economy research centre in the world.

Jo is a member of Philanthropy Australia’s policy and research committee, and a board member of the Westpac Foundation.