Curtin Ageing Research Network (CARN)

The Curtin Ageing Research Network (CARN) is a multidisciplinary collaboration of more than 25 researchers at Curtin University.

CARN conducts and facilitates the translation of high-quality research that enhances and supports the well-being, capability and independence of older people.

Our overarching aim is to improve the experience of ageing. Our research is conducted in community, residential care and hospital settings, as well as the transitions for older people between these settings.

Senior couple hiking above coast

Research areas of focus

CARN has three key streams of research, although each is underpinned by a number of sub-streams:

  • Ageing well (physical activity, falls prevention, mental health, health behaviour change, health education, enablement / reablement)
  • Accessing care well (informal caregiver support, research translation, health literacy, health and care service transitions, health services research)
  • Dying well (end of life care, bereavement support, palliative care)

Priority populations for our research include people living with disability, people living with dementia, culturally and linguistically diverse populations, and Indigenous Australians.


We are one of 17 Collaborating Research Centres of the Australian Association of Gerontology (AAG). AAG Collaborating Research Centres engage in discussions on issues affecting gerontological research nationally, and have an opportunity to contribute to policy and planning through the AAG.

We also collaborate with many partner organisations through our research.  Current and recent research partnerships have included: Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital, Royal Perth Hospital, Injury Matters, Alzheimer’s WA, Silver Chain, Juniper, Amana Living, Carers WA and Council on the Ageing WA (COTA WA).

Medical Team Meeting With Senior Couple In Brightly Lit Hospital Room

Recent research outcomes

Members of CARN were chief investigators on 11 grants with grant income of over $950,000  coming to Curtin University in 2018.  A small selection of recent and current successful grants are:

  • 2018-2020 Healthway Health Promotion Intervention Research Grant.  Hill AM, Kickett M, Ivers R, Hill KD.  $390,000.   The Ironbark Program: Older Aboriginal People Standing Tall and Strong.
  • 2019-2023 NHMRC Project Grant.  Toye C, Hill AM, Moyle W, Moorin R, Hill KD, Slatyer S, Bryant C, Waldron N, Aoun S, Parsons R.  Multicentre randomised controlled trial: caregiver, patient, and system outcomes from a program supporting informal caregivers of older people discharged home from hospital.  $1,500,380.
  • 2015 -2019  Injury Control Council of WA (Injury Matters). Jancey J, Leavy J, Crawford J. Evaluation of Stay on your feet, No Injury. $131,000.
  • 2018-2019. Courtenay Harris, Anne Same, Lauren Breen. Social Care Volunteer Program Evaluation. Silver Chain. $112,703.
  • 2018  James A, Rowley S, Stone W.  Delivering effective downsizing options for older Australians.  Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute. $63,320.

Current higher degree by research students (PhD and Masters) and Honours students

Our researchers supervise research students at Honours, Masters and PhD levels, and are keen to expand collaborations for our student research activities.  Examples of current PhD students enrolled at Curtin University undertaking their research studies in areas related to ageing, and being supervised by one or more CARN supervisors include:

  • PhD – Emma Logan (School of Psychology). What is normal anyway?: Exploring the effect of social norms on grief expectations, expressions, and social support (completed 2018). Primary Supervisor: Associate Professor Lauren Breen. Co- supervisor: Associate Professor Jenny Thornton.
  • PhD – Elaine Wong (School of Public Health) A physical activity and nutrition intervention for Singaporean women aged 50+: A community RCT. Primary Supervisor: Associate Professor Jonine Jancey.
  • PhD – Michelle Ng (School of Physiotherapy and Exercise Science).  Seniors Exercise Park for older people with mild balance or mobility impairment.  Primary Supervisor: Prof Keith Hill. Co-supervisor: Dr Elissa Burton.
  • PhD – Matthew Wittorff. (School of Nursing, Midwifery and Paramedicine) Combined vision and hearing impairment in the aged care sector – exploring attitudes, prevalence and outcomes of rehabilitation. Primary Supervisor: Associate Professor Chris Toye, Co-supervisor: Dr Elissa Burton and Prof Gill Lewin (Adjunct).
  • PhD – Tara Lees (School of Occupational Therapy, Social Work and Speech Pathology). Buddhism in end of life care: Triangulating multiple perspectives. Primary Supervisor: Dr Barbara Blundell, Co-supervisors: Prof Donna Chung and Associate Professor Lauren Breen.
  • PhD – Margaret Gidgup (School of Physiotherapy and Exercise Science). Physical activity for older Aboriginal people in WA – evaluation of a tailored physical activity program.  Primary Supervisor: Prof Anne-Marie Hill, Co-supervisor: Prof Marion Kickett.
  • PhD – Sheridan Read (School of Nursing, Midwifery and Paramedicine). A grounded theory study of the experiences of people with dementia to inform person centred planning in dementia care. Primary Supervisor: Associate Professor Chris Toye. Co-supervisor: Prof Dianne Wynaden.
  • PhD – Marlene Kritz (School of Psychology). The role of peer leaders in the promotion of physical activity, health and psychological wellbeing in residents in retirement villages. Primary Supervisor: Prof Cecilie Thøgersen-Ntoumani, Co-supervisors: Prof Nikos Ntoumanis and A/Prof Barbara Mullan.
  • PhD – Omobola Adebayo (School of Nursing, Midwifery and Paramedicine). Culture, Institutions and Dementia Care: the Experiences of Migrant Care Workers from Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Populations. Primary Supervisor: Associate Professor Karen Heslop. Co-supervisors: Associate Professor Bianca Brijnath (National Ageing Research Institute) and Dr Pam Nichols.

Expressions of interest from future prospective PhD or Masters students are encouraged.

Grandfather with grandson gardening

Contact us

The Curtin Ageing Research Network has an Executive Committee that coordinates a range of activities to further the aims of CARN.

Director, Curtin Ageing Research Network: Dr Elissa Burton

For further information about the Curtin Ageing Research Network, email: