Revisiting the role of research in society
Governments around the world have invested substantial resources to assess the societal benefit of research, despite a lack of clarity around the underlying definitions, methodologies and processes. In Australia, the ARC has just completed a review of the Excellence in Research for Australia and the Engagement and Impact Assessment. A strategy for future assessments has also been developed.
While confidence in how research systems work is crucial, acknowledgement of inherent challenges is essential for robust universities. Is there a tendency for evaluation to focus on what can be measured, rather than what should be measured when considering the societal benefit of research? Such examinations are especially pressing to ensure the evaluation of research in Australia and elsewhere is responsible, appropriate and ethical. Come along to this critical issues seminar to hear experts explore how we can better understand and revisit the appropriate or desirable role of public-funded research in society.
Professor Jenny Lewis is Professor of Public Policy and is the President of the International Research Society for Public Management. She is a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences Australia, and an expert on policy making, policy design and public sector innovation. Jenny is a previous President of the Australian Political Studies Association and was the founding Director of The Policy Lab. She was an Australian Research Council Future Fellow for 2013-16, has received multiple research grants within Australia and internationally, and is the author of six books, and more than 80 journal articles and book chapters.
Professor Terry Nolan is Redmond Barry Distinguished Professor at the University of Melbourne, and head of the Vaccine and Immunisation Research Group (or VIRGo) at the Peter Doherty Institute for Infection and Immunity and the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute. He was the Foundation Head of the Melbourne University School of Population and Global Health between 2001 and 2019. As an expert in immunisation, pandemic planning and response, and clinical trials of new vaccines, he has more than 240 publications in refereed journals. He is also a recipient of several Awards, including the prestigious Officer of Order of Australia.
Dr Gemma Derrick is Senior Lecturer in Higher Education at Lancaster University. She is also a leading member of the COMbINE network (Complementary Methods in Evaluation Research) and a UK-representative for the Eu-COST Action ENRESSH (Evaluative Research in the Social Sciences and Humanities), as well as serving on the Steering Committee for the World Health Organisations Evidence Informed Policy Network (WHO EVIPNet). Gemma’s research concentrates on science and innovation policy and its impacts. She also conducts research into the evaluation of competing notions of research excellence in academia, including scientific impact, societal impact and interdisciplinary.