Thursday, February 29, 2024

Social sciences shape policy and promote development

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Universe He invited the Australian Educational Academies to review 2023 and explore 2024 in this end-of-year series.

Written by Richard Holden


Academy of Social Sciences of Australia

2023 has been an exceptional year for the Academy of Social Sciences Australia, marked by some major milestones. Vibrant Social Sciences Week (every September) is in its sixth year, showcasing the social sciences through more than 85 events across the country. From lively discussions about the societal role of sport to the launch of… Parliamentary Friends of the Social SciencesThis week captured the attention of audiences in academia, policy makers and the public spheres with live theatre, lectures and competitions.

It is worth noting that the Academy was awarded Rechnitz Fund Grants for exceptional Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander social science researchers early in their careers. These $20,000 grants each support innovative projects including developing a framework for Torres Strait Islander women to map out their communities' vision for their future; On understanding the experience of culturally inclusive education in schools, and the antecedents of online racism around the Voice referendum.

The Academy is pleased to launch a new educational program for schools of social sciences. This initiative includes expert-reviewed curriculum resources on important social science topics, complemented by an inspiring program.”Social sciences are everywhereA campaign to promote academic and professional paths.

In addition, the Academy is leading new research collaborations in Asia-Pacific, which are supported by Association of Asian Social Science Research Councils With support from the Canadian Government's International Development Research Centre.

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The dream for 2024:

The Academy's aspirations for 2024 are ambitious and purpose-driven. Collaboration with government and academic bodies signals a shift towards valuing expert insights in addressing global challenges.

There are many promising signs, with the Commonwealth Government and many state and territory governments working actively with experts and academia, including our own and other academies and the Australian Council of Learned Academies. We envision a society that not only values ​​the contributions of social scientists, but actively seeks their expertise in addressing pressing global challenges.

There are several ongoing reviews of our universities and research systems including the Universities Agreement and the Australian Research Council review, among others. The dream that will be shared by many in the sector is for a government response to these reviews that clarifies and integrates the purposes of our publicly funded research system in a way that provides more appropriate funding, and reduces inefficiency, duplication and unnecessary research. Competition and perverse incentives that have developed over decades under the current system. Most researchers enter their fields to make a positive contribution to society, and the raw thought, creativity and problem-solving ability found within our research workforce is a tremendous public resource. The more our governments can unleash this capacity through policy, the better off all Australians will ultimately be.

This involves recognizing the profound impact that social science research can have in shaping policy, promoting inclusivity, and promoting sustainable development.

Looking to the future, we hope to see a surge in young people choosing social sciences as their academic and professional pursuits, inspired by the potential for positive change that this field offers.

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