About Us

About Us

About Us

In providing health and human services Australian governments, private organisations and not-for-profit agencies collect vast amounts of information about Australians. This information is a valuable national resource which can be used to improve our understanding of disease, develop treatments and improve services.

The Population Health Research Network (PHRN) is a national collaboration that enables existing data from around Australia to be brought together and made available for important research. The PHRN was established in 2009 and implemented through the National Collaborative Research Infrastructure Strategy framework, an initiative of the Australian Government. State and territory governments and academic institutions have made significant cash and in-kind contributions to PHRN activities.

The PHRN is a national network coordinated by the Program Office located in Perth, Western Australia and comprising of a network of Project Participants and Data Linkage Units located in each Australian state/territory.

Our Vision

Linking life data to improve the wellbeing of all Australians

Our Mission

To lead and enable the linking of data for world class, action-oriented research

Our Values

Working together collaboratively is the key to enabling innovative data linkage infrastructure and using it to support world class, action-oriented research.

Innovation is essential to building high quality linked data and using it to support world class, action-oriented research.

Ethical Conduct
Ethical conduct is fundamental to maintaining trust in the data linkage infrastructure and the people who operate it.

Community Involvement
The Australian community should reap the benefits of the use of their data for research, and should be involved in decisions about research priorities, policies and practices.

Honesty, reliability and a commitment to following the rules and regulations, particularly in regard to privacy, are essential qualities for maintaining the trust of our stakeholders.




The Population Health Research Network (PHRN) has been established to build a nationwide data linkage infrastructure capable of securely and safely managing health information from around Australia.

Data linkage - the method by which information about people, places and events from different data collections is brought together - has been successfully operating in parts of Australia since the mid -1990's. With the establishment of the PHRN, data linkage units and managing nodes have been set up in every state and territory in Australia, allowing population health research to be carried out more thoroughly and more effectively.

The work of the PHRN will greatly improve the way health and related data is made available to approved researchers. This innovative collaboration between every state and territory in Australia will allow population health research on a scale not previously possible in this country. With the ability to provide larger cohorts and larger sample groups, the PHRN will be assisting a greater whole-of-population approach to health related research.

The PHRN is developing and testing leading-edge technology to ensure the safe and secure linking of data collections whilst working to protect the identity and privacy of individuals. Whilst the PHRN does not collect or hold personal health information, it fulfils the role of trustworthy conduit between those who do hold the data collections (Data Custodians) and the researchers who receive approval to analyse it.

The Population Health Research Network has received a $20 million allocation from the Australian Government's National Collaborative Research Infrastructure Strategy (NCRIS) program. The original funding period runs from 2008-09 to 2010-11. The Australian Government announced a further $10 million for the Population Health Research Network in the May 2009 budget.
The allocation is sourced from the Education Investment Fund. The additional funding will enable further enhancement of the infrastructure developed through the NCRIS program in 2011-12 and 2012-13. In addition, state and territory governments and academic partners are contributing $32 million in cash and in-kind contributions to the Population Health Research Network in the 2008-09 to 2010-11 period.
NCRIS funding for the PHRN continues under current arrangements until June 2012. The National Program Office is currently coordinating a significant investment application for continued funding until June 2013 under the Australian Government's Education Investment Fund (EIF). Continued funding under the next NCRIS Roadmap is also being investigated for 2013 and beyond. Income via cost recovery data linkage projects is also a key part of the PHRN's sustainability strategy.
The Population Health Research Network is governed by a Management Council and comprises a National Program Office hosted by the Telethon Institute for Child Health Research in Perth, Western Australia, a Centre for Data Linkage (link to cdl page) based at Curtin University in Western Australia and five state/territory participating nodes. ( link to participant page and data linkage units page).