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President's Message
Image of Jane Hall
Next week we celebrate the official 50th birthday of our Academy of the Social Sciences in Australia.  It is a time to celebrate the excellence of social sciences in Australia, and the contribution they have made to the society in which we live.

Our health care system, our education system, our superannuation, immigration, child support and more, all have been shaped by social sciences and social scientists.

We are in uncertain and difficult times and social sciences are as relevant as ever to the challenges we face – in public health, addressing climate change, building an inclusive and fair society. 

Of course, the future state of the social sciences depends on the contribution of those who are now our early and mid-career scholars (EMCRs). I have long observed the pressure particularly on mid-career researchers: they frequently carry increasing administrative loads and new teaching responsibilities at a time when they are expected to develop a strong research track record. These requirements have increased as universities face the financial pressures brought on by COVID and its consequences, while our scholars deal with job insecurity and losses.

It is important that we invest and support this group. The Academy has joined with the Australian Academy of the Humanities to explore how we can do this, and I recently attended two roundtables with EMCRs. Thanks to those who participated – it was impressive to see the generosity of spirit and willingness to help others. If you have thoughts on how we can support EMCRs, please let the National Office know.

Finally, congratulations to the Events team for the launch of our first Reconciliation Action Plan. It was a memorable event – my first ‘in person’ for some time. You’ll find highlights elsewhere in this newsletter.

Professor Jane Hall FASSA FAHMS, President

Celebrating 50 Years of the Academy
In 2021, the Academy marks its 50th anniversary.

The Academy was formally incorporated on 7 July 1971 by members of the Social Science Research Council (SSRC). The SSRC in turn was founded in 1942, and was replaced by the new Academy replaced.

As Academy Fellow and Past President Professor Stuart Macintyre explains in The Poor Relation: A History of Social Sciences in Australia, the Academy was established to pursue a new vision of the social sciences; 'sharing a common purpose and method [and] marking out a distinctive domain of knowledge... [which] met important needs and augmented national capacity' (2010: 51). The Academy's legacy of recognising excellence in social science research and developing sound evidence-based advice stands strong today.

Celebrating 50 years
There are a range of events and activities taking place this year to celebrate the Academy's 50th anniversary. Keep an eye on our anniversary website and social media channels for news and updates.

  • Brisbane Fellows dinner - taking place on Wednesday 7 July. Places for this dinner have now booked out, but we hope to hold more events in QLD soon.
  • Canberra Birthday event. Due to the current COVID outbreak and restrictions the 50th birthday event planned for 7 July in Canberra has been postponed, and will announce a new date and time shortly. Please register your interest in attending here to be the first to receive updates.

Keep an eye out for more birthday events happening in your state later in the year.

Annual Symposium
The Academy's 50th Anniversary Symposium will be held in Canberra on 22-23 November, 2021. The Symposium will explore the future of Australian society with experts from academia, government, business, policy, and civil society tackling the big questions shaping our lives.

Can Australia overcome the social upheaval of COVID-19 to create a more just and healthy country? Can we achieve meaningful reconciliation with First Nations peoples? Can we ensure a productive and innovative society in the face of the changing nature of work? Can Australia be a world leader in addressing climate change?

Our speakers will consider these and other questions, with a mind to coming up with evidence-informed policy solutions. Taking lead from findings in the State of the Social Sciences report, the Social Future of Australia will illuminate the role of the social sciences in addressing these important questions and meeting these emerging social challenges head-on.
Celebrating the launch of our inaugural Reflect Reconciliation Action Plan
After endorsement by Reconciliation Australia earlier this year, we were delighted to launch the Academy’s inaugural Reflect  Reconciliation Action Plan in Canberra and online in June. The plan sets out the Academy’s priorities for action during the period February 2021 to May 2022 and is the beginning of an important journey for the Academy.

Download the plan here, and please get in contact with if you’d like to contribute to our RAP process.

It’s also a good time to rewatch our Acknowledgment of Country video, especially if you haven’t yet seen it. Developed in 2020, the Academy is proud to be using this video at the start of all our online events.

P.S. The stunning artwork featured on the cover of our RAP is designed by Kangoulu and Gungarri artist, Leigh Harris, creative director of ingeous studios.
Watch our Reconciliation Action Plan launch video
Opportunity knocks (twice!)
Know anyone working on a PhD thesis about PNG?
Let them know about the Hank Nelson Prize. This $1,000 award, established by family and friends of historian Hank Nelson to honour his commitment to PNG is for the best PhD thesis submitted by any student, internationally, on any aspect of PNG’s history or society.

For more information about Hank Nelson Prize contact ANU’s Professor Bill Gammage at

Are you Harvard University’s next Gough Whitlam and Malcolm Fraser Chair in Australian Studies?

Harvard University’s Committee on Australian Studies is seeking to appoint to The Gough Whitlam and Malcolm Fraser Chair in Australian Studies for the academic year 2023-24. Applications close 30 September 2021. For more information visit the website.   

Social Sciences Week (6 - 12 September 2021)
Social Sciences Week 2021 is coming up soon. Get involved by registering an event now.

For the 2021 program, we are welcoming virtual, in-person and hybrid events. Be as creative as you like, as all social-science themed events are welcomed. If you are unsure, please contact us directly to chat.

This year, we are proud to announce that Social Sciences Week has partnered with nine universities: Monash University, The University of Queensland, The University of Sydney, The University of Western Australia, UNSW Australia, Western Sydney University, The University of Newcastle, Charles Sturt University, and The University of Melbourne. We look forward to working with these universities to promote their Social Sciences Week events.
Six Fellows recognised in Queen's Birthday honours

Congratulations to our Academy Fellows whose achievements and contributions were recognised in the recent Queen's Birthday honours:

  • Professor Jane McAdam AO FASSA
  • Professor Ian Freckelton QC AO FASSA FAAL
  • E/Professor Beryl Hesketh AM FASSA
  • E/Professor Ann Curthoys AM FAHA FASSA
  • Professor John Connell AM FASSA
  • Professor Peggy Brock AM FASSA

Read more about the recipients here.

Webinar: ACOLA's Australian Energy Transition Research Plan
Fellows are invited to a webinar on ACOLA’s new Australian Energy Transition Research Plan on Friday, 9 July 2021 at 11am AEST. Academy Policy Committee Chair Professor Sue Richardson AM is one of the key speakers and attendees are welcome to submit questions before or during the webinar.

Released in June, ACOLA’s Australian Energy Transition Research Plan is the first of its kind and has been developed in close consultation with the energy sector. It highlights the urgent and strategic Research Priorities that need to be addressed if Australia is to successfully achieve net-zero emissions by 2050 (or earlier). The plan also calls on researchers and research funders to refocus the current energy transition research agenda to:

  • Direct  and fund  critical research gaps
  • Complement  existing strengths and reduce unnecessary duplication, and
  • Activate  research that will lead to a more sustainable, affordable, reliable, and fair future energy system.

Advance registrations are essential. Register here and feel free to share with colleagues.

Read, Listen, Watch
For a good read on the interaction between the thinking and the ‘doing’ of public police, grab a copy of Learning Policy, Doing Policy published this month by ANU Press. The book is co-edited by Fellows Brian Head and John Wanna, and a peek through the chapters will find other Fellows’ work inside.
Wondering what role evidence plays in parenting and family interventions? Attendees of the following online panel event will wonder no more. In an upcoming online event titled Thriving Futures for Kids and Families: The Role of Evidence-based Parenting and Family Intervention, two Fellows (Matt Sanders and Sara Dolnicar) are on the multidisciplinary panel which will explore evidence, interventions and where our focus should lie.

12pm-2pm Tuesday 13 July 2021. Register here.
As we prepare to kick off Season 4 of the Seriously Social podcast this month why not revisit our most downloaded episode? Masculinity 2.0: Why is it so hard to move past toxic masculinity? features fascinating research from Fellow Pauline Grosjean and has been downloaded over 5100 times – an incredible figure from any podcast without a major broadcaster behind it.

Or, for something (slightly) lighter: if you, like many of us, have recently found yourself caught up in canned plans and travel bans, you may enjoy a listen to a recent Bonus Episode from Season 3: Tourism, Where the bloody hell are you? Fellow Sara Dolnicar took us through what’s happened over the past 12 months and why it’s so hard for the tourism industry to plan for the future.

Look out for a big start to Season 4 coming later this month – we’ll be tying into the interest around the upcoming superannuation guarantee changes with episodes on retirement and on how we should support our ageing society.

Never miss an episode of Seriously Social podcast: Subscribe (free, of course) via your favourite podcast platform.
From Our Socials
The Academy is increasingly active on social media, and you can follow us on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and LinkedIn. (You can also follow our Seriously Social stories, videos and podcast episodes on social media – find all those links here.)
NAIDOC Week 4-11 July
The NAIDOC 2021 theme – Heal Country! – calls for all of us to continue to seek greater protections for our lands, our waters, our sacred sites and our cultural heritage from exploitation, desecration, and destruction.

NAIDOC Week celebrations are held across Australia each July to celebrate the history, culture and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. NAIDOC is celebrated not only in Indigenous communities, but by Australians from all walks of life. The week is a great opportunity to participate in a range of activities and to support your local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community.

NAIDOC originally stood for ‘National Aborigines and Islanders Day Observance Committee’. This committee was once responsible for organising national activities during NAIDOC Week and its acronym has since become the name of the week itself. Find out more about the origins and history of NAIDOC Week.

Wish more people understood the social sciences? Introduce them to Seriously Social.
Academy of the Social Sciences in Australia
ABN: 59 957 839 703
Location: 26 Balmain Crescent, Acton, ACT 2601
Postal: GPO Box 1956, Canberra, ACT 2601
Tel: (02) 6249 1788

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