Primary Purpose and History

The primary purpose of the CHSD

The Centre for Health Service Development (CHSD) is a research centre of the Sydney Business School, University of Wollongong. We were established in 1993 "to undertake a continuing program of active research into methods to improve the management and provision of health services with the goal of making a significant contribution to improving the funding and delivery of health services in Australia". Our ideas of improvement include achieving greater equity in the distribution of resources, promoting fairer access to services, better continuity within and across the health and community care sectors, and basing management decisions on evidence.

The CHSD consists of 25 research and support staff from a variety of academic disciplines and career backgrounds. This diversity of experience – including health service management, policy, administration and clinical work – brings a unique ‘real‐world’ focus to our research. CHSD is held in high regard for its health service research, as indicated by the fact that the centre generated over $2.5m in research funding over 30 projects in 2017.

To the end of 2010, the CHSD carried out 335 health service research, development and evaluation projects. Between 2010 and 2018, the CHSD carried out 300 projects. These have ranged in size from under $10,000 to $1.5 million and last from several weeks to over three years. This body of work supports a core team of CHSD staff plus additional researchers who contribute specific skills required for each project. Project funds are supplemented by an infrastructure contribution from the University of Wollongong.

In addition to producing standard academic output, our work results in a range of practical advice to a variety of government and non-government agencies and interest groups. We design research and information-based strategies for program coordination to help allocate resources on the basis of need, as well as tools to support decision-making and to help managers develop funding models.

Historical context of the CHSD

After considering its strategic position within the academic and commissioned research fields, the CHSD made a decision in 2006 to begin a period of significant growth. Since that time, CHSD has expanded the range of disciplines in which it specialises and established sub-centres to focus on strategic aspects of health services research and development. 

A natural consequence of this growth was to expand CHSD’s organisational structure to better reflect requirements of the growth strategy. The CHSD now continues as the arm of the Australian Health Services Research Institute (AHSRI) that nurtures new research themes and programs. It serves as the ‘generalist health and community’ research group doing strategic project-based research as an AHRSI ‘centre’.  The seven other sub-centres operate as research centres within the AHSRI structure and focus on specific areas of health system activities and specialised areas of expertise.  CHSD maintains its flexibility and encourages staff to work across centres and projects depending on their interests and skills.

A 'Brief History' has been prepared to describe what has been achieved by CHSD in the period up to the formation of AHSRI, and a presentation on that historical review was given at the Australasian Evaluation Society conference in 2011. These are both available to download below:


Last reviewed: 29 August, 2018

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