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The forgotten frontier - commercialisation in the humanities, arts and social sciences.\n\n

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Media Release


June 29, 2004 MIN 777/04

I have informed the Council for Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences that I will be providing them with $50,000 in funding to undertake a study of the commercialisation of humanities, arts and social sciences research in Australia.

Researchers in these areas make a critically important contribution to the development of Australian society, economy and culture through both their commercial and non-commercial activities. For example:

● Researchers at the Centre for Cultural Research at the University of Western

Sydney have worked with the NRMA to understand what makes young drivers disproportionately likely to be involved in car accidents, and to understand the most effective ways of changing young peoples’ driving habits.

● Researchers at the Queensland University of Technology have developed

multimedia applications for the Kids Help Line - enabling the counselling organisation to develop a new online youth counselling service with special visual tools to help children to identify and express their mental states.

However, the Council for Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences has argued that the contribution of the humanities, arts and social sciences to Australian commercial activity and to Australian business is under-recognised.

I have therefore asked the Council to review the many avenues pursued by researchers in the humanities, arts and social sciences to commercialise their work - including publishing, performance, licensing, and industry collaboration - and to identify specific

examples of commercial impact.

The study will involve a series of focus groups of researchers leading to a description of the commercial activities of the sector, an understanding of the incentives and impediments to commercial engagement and recommendations for changes to Government policy or new programmes likely to encourage commercial activity.

I have also asked my Department to work with the Council for the Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences to develop additional research proposals up to the value of $450,000 over the next two years. I will be looking for ideas in particular that will inform policy debate and improve the capacity of researchers in the Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences to contribute to Australian innovation.

Knowledge is important but arguably of greater importance is how we adapt to new knowledge and understand its applications.

This is why Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences are so important.

The Council for Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences was set up in 2003 to strengthen the role of the humanities, arts and social sciences in Australia, and to provide a forum within which academics, students and the broader community could develop more effective ways of engaging constructively with policy-makers.

The Australia Government is supporting the organisation with an annual commitment of $200,000 through to 2007.

Media Contacts: Dr Nelson’s Office: Ross Hampton 0419 484 095 Dept of Education, Science & Training: Chris John 0412 650 549