Win for humanities research infrastructure

HASS lobbies feel left-out

The Australian Academy of the Humanities is pleased indeed the Department of Education has decided to “expedite” a feasibility study of investment and infrastructure for HASS research. The government originally planned for the study to start next year but now it will be this. It is one of eight scoping studies for the Research Infrastructure Investment Plan, most of which are very sciencey.

It’s a small win, but a win nonetheless for the humanities, which with the social sciences, often laments being left out of the national research agenda.

In May last year the feds announced around $600m for nine major infrastructure spends over ten years which are STEM, strong – the only social science funding was around $25m for linking data sets for urban infrastructure and transport research (CMM May 16 2018).

This upset the humanities academy, “for a nation to be smart, we need to be smart about how we support our cultural institutions and our HASS researchers to be world leaders. Decisions like this hold back Australian research and impacts our international contribution and standing,” academy president Joy Damousi said (CMM May 17 ‘18).

The social scientists aren’t happy either.  In May, the Academy of Social Sciences in Australia responded critically to a review that found the nine official national research priorities* are well-served by the allocation of public funding. It’s not the priorities themselves but the way STEM research is favoured that annoyed ASSA. “The objectives behind the priorities and challenges would often be as well or indeed better addressed by integrating social science research, (CMM May 29).

* food, soil and water, transport, cyber security, energy, resources, manufacturing, environmental change and health.


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