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Research and Policy

Policies of existential importance
Our policy work focuses on the issues of greatest immediate and long-term consequence for our communities. Climate change, care, and people & democracy provide the focus for our current public policy programs.

We are unafraid to address the most immediate, pressing and politically-contested issues of the day, but do so in ways that focus on what really matters. We address the full complexity of these problems and provide clear, timely and practical responses.

We plan to increase even further our efforts in our current areas of focus: climate change, care and civil society. Our approaches in these fields set us apart and promise practical gains that will change people’s lives. 

Our policy work eschews fixed, narrow categories, and recognises the interconnections between issues. We find that one set of problems is often part of the solution to another. For example, the climate, the economy, care and workers’ rights all are connected. Learn more about our current research in each public policy program and browse our publications.

Current areas of research and practice

Climate change

Helping members of carbon-intensive and climate-affected communities come together to decide how they might transition justly to a low-carbon world. 

Read more about The Real Deal and the Lab’s other projects on climate change.


Connecting care providers, care recipients and academics to forge a new narrative and ethical framework that will help us reimagine the future of care and revalue the care economy.

Read more about Australia Cares and the Lab’s other projects on care.

People and democracy

Broadening our well-received work on civil society and the Covid-19 pandemic into an investigation on the theme of ‘people and democracy’, encompassing issues of migration and forced migration. 

Read more about the Lab’s projects on people and democracy.

Tim Soutphommasane

Tim Soutphommasane
Former Race Discrimination Commissioner, Australian Human Rights Commission
"It's exciting to be involved with the Sydney Policy Lab's efforts to bring together research and public policy. The lab's work is of utmost importance at what is a turbulent time for liberal democratic politics."
View Tim's profile

Facts & figures

Our story in short

  • 6 research leads
  • 144 full research members
  • 500+ engaged researchers
  • 150+ external research partners
  • 200+ annual media appearances
  • 10,000+ annual workshop attendees