Happy New Year! Learn about our latest updates, Fellows honours and achievements, plus an exciting grant review opportunity.
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Making news
this month:

We’re celebrating stand-out honours and achievements by Fellows and looking to the year ahead.

Scroll down to find more news and events, and tips on the latest social sciences updates to read, watch, listen, and attend.

President's Message

It’s a pleasure to wish you a Happy New Year, and I hope you had an enjoyable and restorative holiday season. 

As the new year began, eight of our Fellows were acknowledged with Australia Day honours, for their contributions to various aspects of the social sciences and Australian academia. Reading through their citations reminds me of the breadth of our fellowship and the extraordinary impact that our Fellows have over their careers. 

Late last year I was invited to write a short piece for Cosmos on behalf of our Academy. Reflecting the universal truth that sub-editors are much better than authors at coming up with titles, it is called Social science shapes policy, fosters inclusivity and promotes sustainable development. I was pleased to be able to let a broader audience know about the Rechnitz Fund, our progress on the schools program, and other initiatives of the Academy.  

On a final note, I want to let you know that we will be reconfiguring our annual events from this year. As always, the new Fellows welcome and presentations will be a cornerstone of our events, and it is a highlight of the academic year for many of us. Academy lectures will proceed as usual and our annual dinner will give us a chance to come together with friends old and new, celebrate the year, and present the Paul Bourke awards as well as pins and certificates to new Fellows. 

But we will not be proceeding with the annual symposium in its traditional format. A combination of factors has led to relatively low attendance over several years, and we can no longer justify the significant financial and non-financial cost of putting on an event in that format. We are planning to have several more targeted, geographically distributed events throughout the year and Social Sciences Week, led by the Academy, will form a major part of this. The Executive Committee, I, and the National Office feel that this will be a more effective way to foster academic community and have events that speak to the future of the social sciences. More details will be coming soon—sign up to the events mailing list for direct updates. 

I wish you a healthy and productive 2024 and look forward to seeing many of you throughout the year. 

Richard Holden 


Joint submission

On 19 January 2024, Australia’s Learned Academies made a joint submission to the Senate Education and Employment Legislation Committee inquiry into provisions of the Australian Research Council Amendment (Review Response) Bill 2023. Consistent with previous submissions to the review, the Academies have welcomed the proposed clarification of Objects, including support for fundamental research, the establishment of a Board and the limitations on Ministerial intervention in grant decisions. The submission calls for greater clarity on an Australian Research Council Advisory Committee, on the nature of ‘designated research programs’, and on international and security grounds that could justify involvement of the Minister in grant decisions.

Call for Indonesia-Australia research grant reviewers—applications due 23 Feb

The KONEKSI program, supported by the Australian Government and Australian Council of Learned Academies (ACOLA), is seeking reviewers to assist in the assessment of applications to a $6M Australia-Indonesia bilateral grant round focused on digital transformation in health, energy and food security. Reviewers will be paid at ARC rates and must have a PhD, 10+ years academic and/or industry experience plus experience in grant assessment and must not be involved in an application to the program. Find out more and apply on the KONESKI website.

Open: Call for NIAS Fellowships

The Netherlands Institute for Advanced Study (NIAS-KNAW) has opened its annual call for fellowship applications. This is an opportunity for scholars who want to carry out curiosity-driven research and be part of the interdisciplinary NIAS community in Amsterdam. Applications close 18 March 2024. 


Since our December newsletter, Fellows have continued to make remarkable strides locally and globally. We are proud to celebrate the following exceptional achievements:

Congratulations to Fellows recognised with Order of Australia honours, including Professors Lorraine Mazerolle, Debbie Terry, Ian Hickie, Deborah Cobb-Clark, Peter McDonald, Jenny Gore, Kim Cornish and Anna Haebich.

Fellow Roy MacLeod has been elected as a Fellow of the International Science Council (ISC). ISC Fellows are appointed in recognition of outstanding contributions to promoting science as a global public good and the Fellowship is the highest honour that can be conferred on an individual by the ISC.

The Federal Government has appointed Fellow Marcia Neave as part-time Commissioner to lead an inquiry into justice responses to sexual violence to improve the experience of victims and survivors.

Fellow Sharon Pickering has been announced as Monash University's next Vice-Chancellor.

Fellow Megan Davis will visit Harvard University as the Gough Whitlam and Malcolm Fraser Chair of Australian Studies and Visiting Professor of Law at Harvard Law School for the 2024-2025 academic year. 

Fellow Kaarin Anstey has been appointed to the World Dementia Council (WDC). The international charity consists of 24 senior experts and leaders in research, academia, industry, governments, and people with lived experience in dementia across six continents.

Fellow Anthony Elliott was awarded Outstanding Academic Title for 2023 by CHOICE for his edited volume on The Routledge Social Science Handbook of AI.


Congratulations to all!

Read, Watch, Listen, Attend


Explore how differing media philosophies shaped public opinion and influenced policy development through Fellow Philip Mendes’ comparative analysis of The Age and Herald Sun editorials from 2017 to 2022 on Victoria's supervised injecting room initiative. Read the analysis in the Australian Journal of Social Issues.

Money is increasingly cheap, digital and mobile. In Money in the Twenty-First Century, Fellow Richard Holden examines the virtues and risks of low rates interest rates, mobile money and cryptocurrencies, and explains how these three elemental forces will continue to play out—in our wallets, on the blockchain and throughout major economies—in the decades to come. 

The British Academy of the Social Sciences new report Reimagining the recipe for research and innovation: the secret sauce of social science emphasises the vitally important, yet often poorly-understood, role of the social sciences to the United Kingdom’s (UK) current research, development and innovation system, and outlines four key ingredients that the social sciences contribute to enable world-leading and future-focused UK research.


Missed the Academy’s 2023 Annual Symposium ‘Digital Society: Social science perspectives for a better future’? Catch up or rewatch the sessions on our YouTube channel.


In case you missed it, our final Seriously Social podcast episode came out at the end of last year, featuring Fellow and 2023 Senior Australian of the Year Professor Tom Calma, reflecting on his hopes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, and for all Australians, in the wake of the Voice Referendum.


The National Reconciliation Week theme for 2024 has been announced—Now More Than Ever. It is a reminder to all of us that no matter what, the fight for justice and the rights of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people will —and must —continue.

Events schedule
View and register for upcoming events.

Policy and publications
Read recent submissions and other publications.

Listen to the latest Seriously Social episodes.

The Academy of the Social Sciences in Australia acknowledges Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples as the First Peoples of Australia.

We acknowledge and pay our respects to the traditional owners of the land on which our national office is located, the Ngunnawal and Ngambri peoples, and

to their elders past and present.

Academy of the Social Sciences in Australia
ABN: 59 957 839 703
3/95 Northbourne Ave, Turner ACT 2612
Postal: GPO Box 1956, Canberra ACT 2601
Tel: (02) 6249 1788

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