Media Release – Tuesday 18 September 2012

The skills required by knowledge producers and public policy makers to work together to develop evidence-based policy, particularly when it comes to controversial issues such as climate change and health care, will be in the spotlight at a forum in Canberra next week.

The Inaugural CHASS (Council for the Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences) Forum — to be held at the University of Canberra on Tuesday 25 and Wednesday 26 September 2012 — will focus on the impact that rapidly changing technology and scientific research are having on the lives of Australians.

Leading commentators, academics, strategists, politicians and journalists from Australia and overseas will be exploring and debating the big issues in diverse areas including the arts, technology, science, policy making and national identity.

“There’s no doubt the times are changing rapidly, and the impact of this change is being felt far and wide and in a variety of areas, from the arts through to education,” said CHASS President, Professor Sue Willis.

“It’s vital to ensure that the human element is not forgotten in amongst these challenges and opportunities.   This forum puts this very issue into the spotlight, and represents a unique opportunity to learn from and engage with great minds on a variety of topics.”

“The forum will reveal the latest thinking about how the human dimension is integrating with the changes happening across technology, science and society in general.  These are issues of national and global significance, and we’re looking forward to some robust discussions,” Professor Willis continued.

As part of the session Integrating knowledge to influence public policy, speakers will discuss the skills and strategies knowledge producers need to be able to clearly explain their findings to policy makers, including what the findings mean in practical terms.  Similarly, the skills and strategies required by policy makers to understand the meaning of research outcomes, as well as how to use them, will also be addressed.

Speakers at the session include Professor Julian Thomas (Director – Swinburne Institute for Social Research), Paul Harris (Deputy Director – HC Coombs Policy Forum, ANU) and Dr Jakelin Troy (Director of AIATSIS Research, Indigenous Social and Cultural Wellbeing).  The session will be chaired by Professor Rhian Parker, CHASS Secretary and Senior Research Fellow at the ANU.

These speakers will join a who’s who of national and international social commentators and industry experts at other forum sessions, including Joe Hildebrand (journalist and public commentator), Waleed Aly (broadcaster, author and academic), Lars Klüver (Director – Danish Board of Technology) and Harsh Shrivastava (Consultant – Planning Commission, India).

For more information and online registrations go to: http://www.conferenceco.com.au/chass.

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