CHASS Newsletter #48

Minister urges HASS to go on the front foot to meet future challenges

Innovation Minister Senator Kim Carr has told the humanities, arts and social science (HASS) sector that it should ‘go on the front foot to argue its importance’ in helping meet future social and economic challenges in Australia.

Speaking at the HASS On the Hill conference in Canberra, Senator Carr said he rejected the notion that the humanities, arts and social sciences were the ‘poor relations’ of the science and technology sector.

He said Australia’s strong performance in the humanities, arts and social sciences played an important role in the nation’s development and helped drive innovation across the economy.

The Minister urged HASS researchers at the conference not to be ‘defensive’ telling them that they had ‘strong advocacy in the highest places in government.’

“The Australian Government is committed to supporting the best quality research in our universities, regardless of the field,” Senator Carr said.

“Too often in the past, the excellent work of HASS researchers has been overlooked.”

He said this research had real and direct benefits for the Australian community.

“I recently announced two new Cooperative Research Centres. One is the CRC for Young People, Technology and Wellbeing and the other – the CRC for Mental Health. Both will draw heavily on the expertise of researchers in the social sciences,” he said.

Senator Carr said the Australian Government had invested billions of dollars in research – the highest level in Commonwealth history – but investment came with conditions.

“We ask you to help us not just interpret the world but to change it. This is the premise on which this Government operates. It is not just enough to understand, we have to make change.”

“We have heavy expectations and we know that a research system that does not take account of HASS research won’t meet the challenges of the future.”

The Minister said the Excellence in Research Australia (ERA) initiative showed that many disciplines within the humanities, creative arts and social sciences were performing highly.

“We are performing particularly well across the country in historical studies and in some of our centres and departments we are among the world’s best in politics, law, performing arts, cultural studies and philosophy.”

Senator Carr said ERA used objective measures to support an evidence based approach that relied on fact rather than supposition. He said this would help calibrate future priorities for research and inform decisions.

Senator Carr also foreshadowed the release of the Research Workforce Strategy in the next few weeks to identify the workforce needs of the research community to ensure it was equipped to face future challenges.

Council for the Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences
4 April 2011

HASS On The Hill 2011

HASS On The Hill was once again a great success. The Council for the Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences would like to thank all speakers, participants and delegates to HASS On The Hill for participating. The Council would also like to thank all sponsors and supporters of HASS On The Hill, without whom HASS On The Hill would not be possible. 2011 Sponsors include:

  • Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs (FaHCSIA)
  • Routledge
  • Australia Council for the Arts
  • DASSH – Australasian Council of Deans of Arts, Social Sciences and Humanities
  • Innovative Research Universities (IRU)
  • RMIT
  • Australian National University
  • Group of Eight
  • Macquarie University
  • National Tertiary Education Union

Please keep checking back into the HASS On The Hill webpages, as audio and photographs from HASS On The Hill be made available in the coming weeks.

Academic research lost without translation

Secretary of the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet, Terry Moran, spoke at HASS On The Hill of a disconnect between academics and policy-makers.


The Council welcomes Adjunct Associate Professor Peta Ashworth, Dr Camilla Couch, Associate Professor Rhian Parker and Associate Professor Michele Simons to the Council Board.

Communicating Humanities Research Workshop

The Communicating humanities research through scientific partnerships workshop will be hosted by the Council at RMIT University in Melbourne on Wednesday 13 April 2011. The workshop will use a roundtable format to examine, discuss and generate new ideas about building expertise in communicating new or interdisciplinary research in both the HASS and scientific sectors.

This event is open to post graduate students, early career researchers and leaders in the HASS and STEM sectors. Further information, including how to register is available on the Council website.

HASS at a glance

Chief Scientist for Australia

The Council wrote to the Ministerfor Innovation, Industry, Science and Research, Senator the Hon Kim Carr on the future role of the Chief Scientist for Australia.

Discussion paper on the strategic roadmap for Australian research infrastructure

The Department of Innovation, Industry, Science and Research has released the 2011 Strategic roadmap for Australian research infrastructure discussion paper. Responses to the Discussion Paper should be sent to Roadmap2011 [at] by COB Wednesday, 4 May 2011. Further information on the discussion paper is available on the Council website.

Fellowships at the Museum of Australian Democracy, 2011-2012

The Australian Prime Ministers Centre at the Museum of Australian Democracy awards Fellowships to researchers interested in the history, origins, traditions and contemporary practice of Australian democracy, with special reference to Australian prime ministers. Applications for the 2011-12 Fellowships close on 1 July 2011. Applications for the 2011-2012 Summer Scholarship program close on 30 September 2011.

Accessing Australia

High speed broadband could allow Australians to take cyber tours of the nation’s galleries, according to the Federal Arts Minister, the Hon Simon Crean MP.

Australian College of Educators (ACE)

The 2011 Australian College of Educators (ACE) National Conference Equity in Education – Connecting for Change will be held in Sydney from 13 – 15 July 2011.

Future strategies for craft and design centres

Tipping point – ACDC strategy for the future outlines the many programs delivered by the network of Australian Craft and Design Centres (ACDC) as a direct result of VACS. Further information including the full report is available on the Craft Australia website.

Prime Minister’s Prize for Australian History

Nominations are sought for the 2010-2011 Prime Minister’s Prize for Australian History. The Prize is for any work first published, produced or broadcast between 1 July 2009 and 31 December 2010 and may include a published book, a documentary film, a documentary for radio or television, CD-ROM, DVD, other form of multimedia or a series of these works. The subjects of works submitted could include, but are not limited to historical events; historical figures (including biographies); and work covering a particular subject.

Further information is available at the Prime Minister’s Prize for Australian History website. Nominations close at 5.00 pm AEST, 18 May 2011.