Horsham Research Hub

The Horsham Research Hub aims to help regional and rural communities achieve innovation and collaboration, with a focus on economic development, effective service delivery and a strong sense of wellbeing.

Regional and rural communities are in a competition, for funding, resources, people and skills, and change and investment require sound planning and good evidence. Governments are increasingly reliant on data to support investment decisions, and the Horsham Hub is dedicated to providing an evidence base to facilitate this process.

Research themes

Horsham Research Hub focuses on three themes:

  1. Service gaps – The Hub explores innovative ways to address issues of geography, thin markets and population dispersal on service delivery. It explores areas where market failure exists for service delivery and looks for alternative approaches to improve economic participation.
  2. Addressing disadvantage – The Hub applies evidence-based approaches to understand and address exclusion and marginalisation of communities and individuals from economic participation and social inclusion.
  3. Economic development – The Hub applies evidence-based approaches to understand rural economic drivers, the impacts of regulation and change, and support innovation across industry and service sectors.

Recent research

Rurality and Workforce Participation: Exploring the Prevalence of Part-time and Insecure Work in Grampians Public Sector Roles

This research, undertaken by the Horsham Hub research team, engaged with public sector workers in the Grampians to understand issues leading to higher rates of part-time and casualised work. The work highlighted the impact of external challenges on workforce participation in a rural context, which included fewer structural supports for women. This situation is the result of continuing gendered expectations around caregiving and limited access to structural supports for this, such as childcare and after-school care.

Read more about this project here and watch a short video discussing some of the key themes from the research below:

Research team

Professor Keir Reeves

Co-Director, Future Regions Research Centre


Professor Keir Reeves is Co-Director of the Future Regions Research Centre at Federation University Australia. Keir’s current research works at the intersection heritage, cultural tourism, regional studies and history. Prior to joining Federation University his previous teaching and research positions were at the University of Melbourne and Monash University. He has also held visiting research fellowships/professorships at King’s College London, Clare Hall Cambridge, Ghent University, Utrecht University, University of Highlands and Islands and Wakayama University.

Keir has been a past chair of the University Professoriate, and he is particularly interested in enhancing the postgraduate research experience, and also mentoring early career researchers. Keenly interested in themes of regionalism and rurality, he works closely with the FRRC Horsham Research Hub based at the Wimmera Campus and the Ararat Jobs and Technology Precinct initiative.

Keir is currently an editorial board member of the Journal of Cultural Heritage Management and Sustainable Development and the Journal of Heritage Tourism. Keir has been a APDI or Chief Investigator on seven Australian Research Council (ARC) funded projects. He was also an ARC funded PhD student on the Mount Alexander Diggings project.

Dr Cathy Tischler

Team Lead and Postdoctoral Research Fellow


Dr Cathy Tischler has a doctorate from Federation University in rural social justice and regional development. Dr Tischler researched the ideologies, values and behaviours reinforcing power dominated by prestige leadership in the Wimmera Southern-Mallee, with implications for understanding change and resistance in regional communities. Cathy regularly conducts research in a rural setting, working in the fields of rural and regional development, social justice and practice change.

She also has a strong background working in rural advocacy and farmer engagement, having worked in senior roles with Victorian Farmers Federation and Wimmera Catchment Management Authority and Department of Primary Industries. Cathy is also currently Deputy Chair of the Wimmera Southern Mallee Regional Partnership and the Communities of Respect and Equality (CoRE) Alliance Leadership Group, and maintains strong networks into regional communities and organisations in Western Victoria, where she lives and works.

Dr Kelsey McDonald

Postdoctoral Research Fellow


Dr Kelsey McDonald is a Wimmera-based researcher with strong links with community, professional, business and government stakeholders throughout the Wimmera Mallee region. Dr McDonald's primary research and professional practice interest is in strengthening rural and remote community engagement and empowerment, particularly within the education and social welfare sectors. Kelsey has contributed to a number of research projects with the Horsham FRRC team in partnership with several community service organisations and community groups.

Kelsey holds a PhD in social science from Federation University Australia. Her doctoral thesis, “Partnership Rhetoric and Risk Realities: The implications of risk in government/non-government family services partnerships,” utilised a qualitative research framework in a regional Victorian setting.