Data Catalyst Network

Breaking cycles of disadvantage through collaboration and data

The Data Catalyst Network brings together people from across sectors, to break cycles of disadvantage through the innovative use of data.

Participants of the Data Catalyst Network will advance their data maturity while sharing and improving data insights through unique cross-sector partnerships to disrupt disadvantage.

As a collective, the network will harness data and knowledge from the not-for-profit community sector, academia, government and business to better use and manage data to improve the lives of people across Australia. 

Community of practice

The Data Catalyst Network is made up of close to 50 organisations working with data from the not-for-profit community sector. Together, these organisations have a focus on supporting people through the early years, in education and into fulfilling employment.

They are joined by those with lived experience alongside academics, government bodies and business professionals with unique data skills and ambition to collaborate and break cycles of disadvantage using data. The community of practice come together for monthly data capability building webinars.

Members of the network include 54 Reasons, Mission Australia, The Smith Family, Relationships Australia South Australia, Raising Literacy Australia, the South Australian Government, Social Ventures Australia, the University of Melbourne and more.  

Creating opportunity for everyone

Data paints a bleak picture of disadvantage in Australia. It shows us that if you’re born into poverty, it's unlikely you’ll escape poverty in your lifetime. We know that children from households with the lowest incomes are twice as likely to be developmentally unready for school, and more likely to leave school early. 

We know early school leavers find it harder to find fulfilling and stable employment. We also know that everyone deserves the chance to reach their full potential in life, which is why the Data Catalyst Network is focused on using data to help break cycles of disadvantage.

Barriers tend to grow as one life event begins to unfairly predict the next, but despite its existence and persistence, cycles of disadvantage can be disrupted. By working together and sharing our insights and expertise, we can better understand these cycles and create effective evidence-based methods to disrupt them for good. 

Working groups

The Data Catalyst Network has three working groups focused on data analysis around cycles of disadvantage. Together working group members share data insights, collaborate to identify gaps and hypothesis areas, and aim to generate new insights and evidence to help break cycles of disadvantage.  

Small-scale funding will be provided for innovative data projects from the working groups that can help accelerate collaboration and further disrupt disadvantage.  

Working Group One: Supporting children in early years before school

Helping children to engage and thrive at school is paramount in setting them up for success in life. Hosted in Adelaide, South Australia.

Working Group Two: Supporting early school leavers into employment, training and beyond

Working Group Three: Growing the impact of place-based initiatives

Supporting place-based initiatives to collect, manage and interpret data to achieve social change. Hosted in Brisbane, Queensland.

Helping young people transition from school to meaningful and sustainable employment is crucial to break cycles of disadvantage. Hosted in Melbourne, Victoria.

News and events

Opinion: CEO David Spriggs in

Third Sector

Introducing the 2023 NFP Data Award Winners

Data Catalyst Network


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