Established in 2009, the Alfred Deakin Research Institute (ADRI) looks forward in 2010 to a year of expansion and high research impact.
The year ahead is set to feature excellent research outcomes, the building of bigger teams around key research foci and high profile public events and engagement with policy-makers all as part of ADRI’s mission.
“We were delighted to welcome recently to ADRI Professor Mark McGillivray, former Chief Economist at AusAID and a world-renowned expert in international development,” said Professor David Lowe, ADRI’s inaugural director.
“Mark will play a lead role in our burgeoning research in this field, especially in relation to the multi-faceted question of measuring well-being.
“Governments need more sophisticated ways than we currently have of judging whether life is getting better or worse for different groups of people in order to respond with the correct policies and aid – and Mark brings extensive expertise, publications and prestigious research networks to bear in addressing this issue.“
On April 14th ADRI will host (in Melbourne) the Australian launch of the United Nations Development Program Report 2009, the most prestigious and widely read annual international development publication; and ADRI will also host consultations on the same day on the Human Development Report for 2010.
ADRI’s focus on political lives and ideas in politics unfolds in several ways during the year. With partners from the ANU, University of New England and the History Council of NSW, Professor Lowe will launch the Australian History and Policy Network, a web-focused group of historians bringing innovative historical work bearing on contemporary public policy to the attention of the media and policy-makers.
Professor Lowe also begins Australian Research Council sponsored research into Australian politicians’ uses of history; and his biographical study of the late Percy Spender, former Foreign Minister, Ambassador and Justice of the International Court will be published in April (Australian between Empires: The Life of Percy Spender).
Senior Research Fellow Dr Jon Ritchie, who is involved in several aspects of the research on history and policy, commences his biographical research into the life of Papua New Guinean politician and nationalist, the late Sir Ebia Olewale. Jon’s research is sponsored by the Papua New Guinea Sustainable Development Program and also reflects ADRI’s ongoing research into Australian relations with a changing Melanesia.
One of the aims behind the formation of ADRI was to foster multi-disciplinary research into urgent questions that demanded collaboration across the physical and social sciences. Accordingly, ADRI researchers play prominent roles in the university’s large and emerging research groups focusing on aspects of sustainability, and on the future of regional communities and development.
In conjunction with the Geelong-based G21 alliance of government, industry and community organizations, ADRI is developing plans for a Regional Data or Regional Resource Centre designed to maximize the understanding of change in the Greater Geelong Region and enable effective planning.
ADRI researchers take seriously the injunction of a former thinker who wrote that it was not enough to interpret the world: the point was to change it.
Associate Professor Tina Murphy provides ample evidence of this in her several projects relating to the value of procedural justice. In separate Australian Research Council sponsored projects, she is exploring how authorities in taxation, welfare and policing can best manage or prevent defiance of regulations; and she is a partner in a (Queensland-based) Centre for Excellence in Policing and Security considering community engagement and issues of legitimacy in policing.
The training of police in procedural justice measures has the potential, according to the hypothesis being tested, to increase both compliance with the law and the popular sense of police legitimacy.
In addition to special seminars and conference activities members of ADRI will launch in March a new Working Papers Series, with papers relating to some of the above themes freely available via the ADRI web-site; and ADRI will host a new high-profile lecture series featuring prominent intellectuals reflecting on the big issues affecting our lives.
“We will, therefore, enjoy our unfolding public impact through several measures. ADRI’s website will become a source of the latest research findings, key events information and informed debate,” said Professor Lowe.
ADRI core staff also work in research teams made up of leading Faculty researchers who, collectively, interpret issues surrounding Citizenship, Governance and Globalisation in a changing world.
“We also take seriously the legacy of polymath and visionary politician Alfred Deakin, whose capacity to advise, as needed, on irrigation, religious beliefs, legal systems, defence policy and political pragmatism remains an inspiration to current researchers,” Professor Lowe said.
“And we are following in Alfred’s footsteps in building new international perspectives and participation into some of our projects.
“In short, there’s an infectious air of research activity at ADRI that will see us emerge in bigger and bolder ways in the wake of our foundation last year.”