RegNet Annual Report 2016

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RegNet report

Message from the Director

In 2016 tensions around national governance triggered great change on a global scale, and brought to the world’s attention how crucial connected, authentic local, national and global governance is, and will be, going forward. These tensions were fuelled by a confluence of widening social inequities, global environmental change, inequities in human wellbeing, and shone a light on some fundamental ruptures in society as we know it. The events of 2016 reminded us at RegNet how critical our research on global governance and regulation is, and focussed our sights on how our research, which is based on principles of social justice, environmental sustainability and human wellbeing, can impact and underwrite movements for change.

In 2016 we took the opportunity to make our research focus more explicit and renamed ourselves the School of Regulation and Global Governance; we are still known familiarly as RegNet, and the essence of what we do remains unchanged: interdisciplinary and innovative scholarship in regulation and global governance. While global is in our new name, our work spans the global, the Asia and Pacific regional level and national levels. Much of our work asks questions of how global governance architecture and decision making processes interact and affect nation states’ sovereignty and resulting policies. I am delighted that in 2016 we had many opportunities for productive engagement with the UN system, including with the UN Security Council, UN Standing Committee on Nutrition, WHO, and WTO, as well as non-state actors including international NGOs and the private sector, particularly in areas of investment, rule of law, peace building and global health.

In 2015 we reorganised our research into five broad research clusters: climate, energy & the environment; human rights; law & justice; society, safety & health; and trade, investment & intellectual property. 2016 was in many ways a year of consolidation for us at RegNet. Historically an area of research strength, we further built out our trade, investment and intellectual property cluster expertise, welcoming three leading academics to the group (Susan Sell, Miranda Forsyth and Anthea Roberts).

Led by Peter Drahos, we also put the finishing touches on our RegNet e-textbook, Regulatory Theory: Foundations and Applications. The book, now available free from ANU Press, brings the theoretical, methodological and conceptual contributions RegNet scholars have made together in an etext which will be freely available to scholars in our region and across the world. The accessibility of our research has been an ongoing concern for RegNet scholars over the years and Regulatory Theory is not only freely accessible, but also presents our key contributions in the fields of regulation and global governance in an accessible text, having been designed with the PhD student, regulatory practitioner or policy maker in mind.

We celebrated our interdisciplinary environment through our Resistance seminar series, welcoming colleagues from across the College, University and the policy world to participate. The series, a timely one during a year of large-scale displays of resistance, was a highlight for RegNet and an opportunity for us to further interrogate what it means for us to be a research school pushing the limits of qualitative and quantitative interdisciplinary research.

New educational programs are also on the horizon. From 2018 we hope to add to our educational offerings a Master of Crime and Regulation to be delivered in partnership with the ANU’s College of Arts and Social Sciences (CASS). Much of 2016 has been spent preparing the way for this program, which will facilitate greater collaboration with CASS, but also introduce a new generation of postgraduate students to the interdisciplinary work of RegNet.

Finally, this report also takes a quick tour through the enormous contributions our staff and students have made to the public debate around key policy and regulatory issues here in Australia, the Asia Pacific region and elsewhere.

Governance and regulatory research can provide key insights into the new global environment and the local and national environments shaped by it. We are challenged as researchers and educators not only to continue to deliver high quality, innovative and interdisciplinary research and teaching but to integrate it better, engage with our audiences better and bring evidence to new audiences. 2017 promises to provide many opportunities for us to engage with our wider networks.

Thank you for your interest in the work of RegNet.

Sharon Friel
Director, RegNet
School of Regulation & Global Governance

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Updated:  10 August 2017/Responsible Officer:  Director, RegNet/Page Contact:  Director, RegNet