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Bridging the academic-practice divide for global development

5 June 2017

The Rt Hon Helen Clark will join executives and thought leaders of Australian NGOs and universities in a unique cross-sector program focused on partnership. 

The former Prime Minister of New Zealand and Administrator of the United Nations Development Programme will deliver the conference’s keynote address.

The University will host over 400 delegates on 13-14 June, tackling some of the greatest global challenges of our time including food security, climate change, health crises and effective governance at the 6th Research for Development Impact (RDI) Conference.

Bringing together academics, practitioners, policy makers and the private sector, the event aims to showcase how partnership and collaboration across traditional divides produces greater impact.

The Australian Council for International Development (ACFID) - the peak body for NGOs working in international aid & development - is a key partner of the conference.

ACFID CEO, Marc Purcell will be speaking at the event, “The RDI Conferences create a unique space to bring together the spheres of academia and practice to work towards shared goals and find a common language. ACFID’s NGO members rely heavily on the evidence-base produced within Australian universities to ensure that project and program outcomes are achieved through informed and effective methods and practice”.

Ms Clark's address will respond to the conference theme: Partnering for Impact on Sustainable Development. She is a pioneer for women’s leadership globally and was voted #22 on the Forbes list of most powerful women in 2016.

Sustainable development is a complex interaction of issues and interests, addressed in research and practice through diverse institutions in Australia and the region. International governments expressed their willingness to step up to tackle these challenges when they signed up to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in 2015, committing them to undertake to achieve improved development and sustainability outcomes by 2030.

SDG 17 challenges all nations and institutions to work together to address global challenges. With this in mind, the conference features NGO executives, top development thinkers and emerging sector leaders. It will tackle some of the most pressing issues facing developing nations in the Asia Pacific region and beyond.

Professor Duncan Ivison, Deputy Vice Chancellor (Research) welcomed the opportunity this conference presents to showcase the University of Sydney as an active and innovative contributor to the global sustainability movement.

“The University of Sydney produces cutting-edge research which has real impact in advancing sustainable development globally, including through multidisciplinary centres and initiatives such as the Charles Perkins Centre for obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular disease, the Marie Bashir Institute for Infectious Diseases and Biosecurity, the Sydney Environment Institute as well as our regional approaches driven by the China Studies Centre and the Sydney Southeast Asia Centre”, he said.  

“We are also establishing exciting new partnerships and collaborations with other academic institutions internationally and with industry that have the potential to really make a difference in tackling large-scale, complex problems”.

Faculty members from across the University including the School of Public Health, School of Life and Environmental Sciences, School of Education and Social Work and School of Civil Engineering as well as the Charles Perkins Centre, the Sydney Southeast Asia Centre and the Research Portfolio feature on the conference program and organising committee, alongside the Research for Development Impact Network and other Australian universities and NGOs.

Australia Awards recipients from countries in the region who are currently studying at the University will also participate in the Conference proceedings. 

Jocelyn Prasad

Media and Public Relations Advisor