IHMRI acknowledges and pays respects to the traditional owners of country throughout Australia and their continuing connection to land, sea and community.

Discover the Illawarra-Shoalhaven

The Illawarra Health and Medical Research Institute (IHMRI) is based in Wollongong, a regional city approximately 90 km south of Sydney.

The Illawarra and Shoalhaven boast a 250 km stretch of picturesque coastline with a culturally diverse population.

In the past, Wollongong and the Illawarra were recognised as an industrial hub for steel and coal production and exports, but increasingly the region is becoming a tourism, education and innovation hotspot. 

Map of New South Wales coast showing location of Wollongong.

Map of New South Wales coast showing location of Wollongong.

Addressing health issues

IHMRI’s point of difference, as a health and medical research institute, is its regional context, community-centred focus and commitment to addressing health issues affecting our region and Australia as a whole.

Our region’s population is very diverse. Some established areas have an aging population, whilst other areas, such as Shellharbour, have a high proportion of young families attracted to new real estate developments.

Our region is also culturally diverse. In 2016, 14% of people in Wollongong City came from countries where English was not their first language (Wollongong City Council). 

There are areas of socio-economic disadvantage, including an increasing level of homelessness, high unemployment, and people reliant on welfare.

As a result, our region provides a snapshot of the health and wellbeing of Australia, including the high-incidence of chronic lifestyle-related diseases, such as diabetes and obesity, age-related conditions such as dementia, and mental illnesses.

For more information on the demographics of our region, visit the community profiles of Wollongong City Council, Shellharbour City Council Shoalhaven City Council.

Why research at IHMRI?

While the work of our researchers targets the main illness and disease concerns in our region, the outcomes and results from our research reach beyond Australian borders to a global audience.

This is due to our translational approach to research. We want the latest knowledge converted into new treatments and better health care for our community as quickly as possible.

For health and medical researchers, the region’s stable and accessible population base, which is set to grow to over 465,172 by 2036 (Wollongong City, Shellharbour City and Shoalhaven City Councils), demographic and economic diversity, and incidence of chronic disease, makes it ideal for population health studies and clinical trials.

IHMRI’s founding partner, the Illawarra Shoalhaven Local Health District (ISLHD) is committed to improving the quality of clinical care and range of health services available to regional residents. In 2017, ISLHD released Strategic Directions, a new three-year plan which makes research and innovation a strategic priority. IHMRI has strong links into the ISLHD’s major teaching hospital, Wollongong Hospital.

IHMRI’s other founding partner, the University of Wollongong (UOW), is a young, research-intensive university with a growing international reputation. UOW is also committed to improving the health of people living in regional and rural Australia. Their School of Medicine aims to produce doctors with a commitment to patient-centred, evidence-based medical practice for general practices in regional, rural and remote community settings. 

In pictures