Victoria University (VU) and Western Health have been working together since the late 1980s.

In June 2016, a formal Strategic Partnership Agreement was signed by VU’s then Vice-Chancellor Professor Peter Dawkins and Western Health’s CEO, Associate Professor Alex Cockram.

Today, the longstanding relationship is a collaborative partnership that spans many different areas of both organisations. These include:

  • joint research activities
  • education and employment opportunities for VU students and Western Health staff
  • development and operation of shared facilities for research and the public.


Our joint research projects with Western Health are a core element of the partnership. These involve several different VU academic colleges, research institutes and centres.

Western Centre for Health Research and Education (WCHRE)

VU and Western Health collaborated with The University of Melbourne on the development of the Western Centre for Health Research and Education (WCHRE). This is a state-of-the-art $51.6 million teaching, training and research centre at Sunshine Hospital. The WCHRE makes major contributions to the future health of local communities through leading research.

Our projects

Staff and students from our College of Health and Biomedicine, Institute for Health & Sport and VU Business School work closely with Western Health to understand a number of diseases. Current projects address:

  • breast and colon cancer
  • cancer metastasis
  • cardiovascular disease
  • chemotherapy side effects
  • inflammatory bowel disease
  • muscular dystrophy
  • osteosarcopenia.

Other research by staff from VU’s nursing and midwifery sector informs Western Health’s mission to provide the best care to patients. This research addresses the barriers that might affect the ability of nurses and midwives to successfully provide care. One such study focuses on helping pregnant women from low education and socioeconomic backgrounds make healthy nutrition choices.


Western Health is VU’s main industry training partner for provision of nursing and midwifery work-integrated learning. Each year, hundreds of VU students complete over 110,000 hours of clinical placement at Western Health locations. Just over 40% of nurses employed at Western Health are alumni of Victoria University.

We have also worked together with Western Health on the development of industry-relevant courses such as our Diploma of Nursing. This benefits our graduates by preparing them for the demands of employment in the health industry.

Our flexible study options and corporate training programs also allow Western Health staff to upskill in the workplace.

These joint education initiatives ensure both VU students and Western Health staff are appropriately trained and qualified. Through continuous learning and professional development, the health of the community is secured.


Like VU, Western Health caters for one of the most culturally diverse regions of Melbourne. Our partnership is based on a shared vision to improve health and education for our local communities.

Melbourne's west presents a unique set of challenges. There are many areas of severe socioeconomic disadvantage, low school performance, high disease prevalence and great cultural and ethnic diversity. It is also the fastest growing region in Australia.

Our partnership with Western Health creates numerous opportunities to work towards addressing these challenges and contributing to the realisation of the State Government's vision for an improved western region.

By ensuring the skills of VU graduates and Western Health staff, and conducting pivotal research, the partnership is improving overall standards of health and healthcare at a local and global level.

Recognition of partnership strength

In 2013, VU and Western Health won the prestigious Ashley Goldsworthy Award for Sustained Collaboration between Business and tertiary Education from the Business and Higher Education Roundtable (B- HERT). This award was developed in 1998 to recognise outstanding achievement in collaboration between business and higher education in the fields of research and development, and education and training.

In both 2013 and 2016, Victoria University Polytechnic, in collaboration with Western Health, was a finalist in the Victorian Training Awards - Victorian Industry Collaboration of the Year category.


To find out more about this partnership, please contact:

Associate Professor Alan Hayes
College of Health and Biomedicine
Phone: +61 3 9919 4658
Email: [email protected]