Professor Marian Baird speaking at the Sydney Policy Lab launch.

A policy powerhouse launches at University of Sydney

17 August 2017

The University of Sydney has launched the Sydney Policy Lab with 14 projects aimed at addressing vital Australian and international policy issues. 

Sydney Policy Lab launch

Cybersecurity, housing, domestic violence, the National Disability Insurance Scheme, the impact of mining and youth unemployment all come under scrutiny in the Lab which has been established to drive creative and collaborative solutions to some of the major challenges of our time.

Fourteen research groups from across the University, funded with $330,000 of grants, have joined forces in the Lab with policy experts from industry, government, community groups and non-government organisations.

Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research) Professor Duncan Ivison said, “The inaugural projects were selected from 49 high-quality applications highlighting the excellent policy-focused work already underway at the University. This year is the 'start-up' phase for the Sydney Policy Lab testing our operating model and carving out space in the domestic and international policy arenas to make an impact.”

Dr Michael Spence, Vice-Chancellor and Principal at the University of Sydney said“The Sydney Policy Lab is another extraordinary world-class multidisciplinary centre of the University, drawing on our range and depth of research excellence to address complex issues. It also speaks to our strategic focus on partnerships, in this case in a policy setting.”

Mark Scott, Secretary of the NSW Department of Education, who delivered the launch’s keynote address said, “The launch of the Sydney Policy Lab is timely and important. We need sharper thinking, smarter collaboration and the robust testing of ideas to come up with better solutions to some of the most challenging issues facing our society. It is wonderful the Lab will stimulate policy formation when some of our finest minds come together for the common good.”

The day brought together a diverse group of senior leaders from government, industry, peak bodies, advocacy organisations and academia to share big challenges they are facing and discuss and debate solutions. Focusing on the ‘future of work, wellbeing and technology’, ideas were sparked, perspectives shared and connections formed. Discussions included the impact of automation and articial intelligence; ensuring equitable access to opportunities for marginalised and disadvantaged groups; legal implications of the changing nature of work and the future of school education.

Read the highlights of those discussions in this report or read more about the 14 inaugural projects the Lab is running.

A new scheme, the Sydney Policy Lab Fellows, to commence in 2018, was also announced at the launch. It draws on the successful Sydney Social Justice Network Fellowships program where practitioners undertake policy-related research projects with mentorship and support from the University for three months full-time or six months part-time. 

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