The role of the University in informing public debate and helping to shape public policy is both dynamic and vital. Every day our staff, students and graduates respond to the transformational forces that are changing the way people and societies see themselves, how they interact, and how they develop public policy.
Such activity at this University rarely comes packaged and stamped ‘public policy initiative’; rather it is an integral part of our research, our collaborations and often more explicitly, a direct reflection of the interactions of our university community across all walks of life.
We are about to commit to an international agreement with the US-based international think-tank, the Milken institute, which will support innovative solutions to global economic challenges.
Through this agreement, our University and the Milken institute will collaborate in research and high-level forums on policy issues in fields as diverse as finance, energy, natural resources, climate change, population health, and urban development. Our aim is to connect leading researchers and thinkers from across the world to ensure we stimulate debate which will lead to better solutions to global problems.
In recent months, the work of academics from our University has informed, guided and generated government policy crucial to the lives of people from around Australia. Our projects continue to affect the ways in which the State plans its cities and urban areas, including the City of Perth foreshore and new housing developments.
Recently-published research has the potential to impact on national mental health care policy, to guide child fostering practices, to shed light on better ways to manage healthy ageing and to improve the state’s education curriculum. The work of our researchers has been crucial to policy governing the management of coastal development to minimise environmental impact and policies for managing diminishing fish stocks.
And at a function recently to congratulate our two most recent Rhodes scholars – law-arts graduate and Australia-at-large Rhodes Scholar (2010) Jessica Panegyres; and science graduate and WA Rhodes Scholar (2010) Dustin Stewart – both gave thoughtful presentations about how they wanted to engage publicly to make a difference to our community and society more generally.
Universities such as ours provide a valuable lens through which the community can view issues of public importance – whether through research, analysis or policy development. Any examination of the qualities of the world’s top universities highlights that many of the highest-ranking institutions integrate international, national and local issues into research and teaching programs to support their communities in making decisions on complex issues.
Whether through strategic partnerships and engagement with leading academic institutions around the world, or with local decision-makers and leaders, our University helps to provide the necessary research and intellectual capital on which sound decisions can be made. In so doing we meet our University’s vision of being an intellectual and creative resource to the communities we serve and continue to build our international reputation for excellence.
- Vice-Chancellor Alan Robson
- UWA News 17 May 2010