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Message from the Director
The relevance of the School of Regulation and Global Governance’s guiding principles of social justice, environmental sustainability and human health and wellbeing has never been clearer in a year where inequality played out in the world’s response to climate change, leaving some of the world’s smallest countries in the Pacific to argue the importance of real climate change action; in a year where nations struggled with the aftermath of decisions taken democratically but which threaten democratic institutions; and more locally, in a year that left Australians struggling to come to terms with a crippling water crisis and devastating fires.
In some ways though, 2019 has been an encouraging year, where citizens released their collective power in civil society, leveraging their social capital to challenge governments and decisions around the world in protest movements. These coalitions of influence are at the heart of RegNet’s work which acknowledges that there are many actors who can work together to create hope and change. Alongside these social movements have been major policy shifts at the global, national and local levels. At RegNet, our work in climate finance, criminal justice, development, health, energy, environment, trade and investment has continued to pave the way forward, reimagining the role of regulation and governance in an uncertain world.
Support for much of this research comes from the key Australian funding agencies and government departments plus major international funders including the European Commission. In 2019 we had continued grant success with seven government and industry grant awards as well as six awards from the ANU College of Asia and the Pacific’s APIP award scheme. We await news from the Australian Research Council of the outcomes of our 2019 applications and will submit seven new applications in 2020.
After the expansion of our educational offering in 2018, our new Master of Criminology, Justice and Regulation (MCJR) entered its second year in 2019. With the harmonisation of the University’s masters degrees, the new degree has been restructured to be a 72-credit single year masters degree with the option to continue into an advanced masters with a thesis component. We’ve been delighted to have this cohort of students interacting and participating in the wider RegNet community.
We also had our first cohort of students from Access Canberra joining for a two-week intensive ‘taster’ course, which we hope will act as a bridging course in the future to the new Graduate Certificate in Regulation (offered from 2020). This course brought local regulators into RegNet to study new ways of looking at implementing effective regulation in our region, the theories which sit behind these approaches and taking a deep dive into some local case-studies, including the Barton bridge disaster. We are excited about this course going forward and the opportunities it will bring for us to further contribute to and interact in to our local community and its regulatory landscape.
The breadth and depth of RegNet scholars and our links to the wider community was in focus again, not only through our research grant success but in other awards and recognition throughout the year. Our scholars work to take their research beyond the university—and all the way to the United Nations in Virginia Marshall’s case—where she was one of three Australia/Pacific representatives at the UN Indigenous Peoples Climate Change Summit. Our academics have also been called upon to participate in parliamentary inquiries on topics that span a range of societal issues and have also led the way in public discussions of important issues— such as Christian Downie’s research on global energy governance which has been reported widely in national newspapers and television media.
Amongst many awards over the year, I’m delighted to note that two of our former PhDs were recognised in different ways— Cynthia Banham, who was shortlisted for the 2019 Prime Minister’s Literary Award with her non-fiction narrative, A Certain Light: A Memoir of Family, Loss and Hope and Sharynne Hamilton, RegNet’s inaugural Indigenous intern, now based at UWA, was awarded the Shell Aboriginal STEM Student of the Year. Anthea Roberts’ book Is International Law International? (Oxford University Press) added to its already long list of accolades, when it was awarded the Hart—SLSA Book Prize as a piece of outstanding socio-legal scholarship.
Our academic community continues to grow deeper and wider. We welcomed a new MCJR convenor, Dr Mai Sato in February. Mai joins us from University of Reading and brings a strong criminology background to the role with a particular focus on the death penalty and the UK Criminal Cases Review Commission. We welcomed three new Research Fellows to RegNet, Dr Yandisa Ngqangashe (Smart and responsive regulation approach to population nutrition and the governance of ultra-processed foods in the Asia Pacific), Dr Abidah Setyowati (Climate Finance Initiative) and Dr Lee White (Zero Carbon Energy for the Asia-Pacific, ANU Grand Challenge). Two old friends rejoined RegNet: Associate Professor Kate Henne returns from her time as Canadian Research Chair in Waterloo and Dr Melanie Pescud returns to investigate the question of complexity in public health. We appointed two new Braithwaite Fellows, Dr Jensen Sass and Dr Ashley Schram. These five-year Fellowships give each researcher the opportunity to forge an exciting and innovative research program in regulation and governance.
Finally, the School will welcome a new Director in 2020. It has been my pleasure to be the RegNet School Director over the past five and a half years. Working with academics, professional staff and PhD students who care passionately about making a difference through research, education and engagement has made my role of steering the ship a very enjoyable one. Now, as I immerse myself into a program of research concerned about governance for planetary health equity and engage with some of the world’s best interdisciplinary scholars located here in RegNet, I count myself incredibly lucky to have found my tribe.
Our 2019 Annual Report gives a snapshot of the broad scope of contributions RegNet researchers and students have made throughout the year, through their research and work in policy engagement and to the public debate.
Thank you for your ongoing interest in the work of RegNet.
Professor Sharon Friel
Director, School of Regulation and Global Governance (Regnet) 2014-2019