Discussion paper

Rigour and relevance: extending the role of the social sciences and humanities in public policy research

26 May 2008

Australia needs to encourage a new form of research that contributes directly to the formulation of policy in government, according to this report. Such research is initiated by the end user rather than the researcher. It is characterised by being strategically driven, problem oriented and cross-disciplinary.

The paper proposes a series of changes to enable integrative research in the public policy arena:

  • establish a research plan in each government portfolio to address critical policy problems and issues, funded as a required element of overall portfolio budgets
  • reorient of the Cooperative Research Centres Program to enable CRCs to address fundamental questions that affect public policy and industry performance
  • extend the rural research and development corporation model to other industry sectors
  • reconfigure the research and teaching agenda in universities, so that administrative units, reward structures and funding systems encourage rather than inhibit interdisciplinary work.
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