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Social sciences and humanities critically important to Australia's research future.

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21 March, 2003 MIN 311/03

Some of Australia’s leading social sciences and humanities researchers will join members of the wider research community at the end of the month to make a vital contribution to the Commonwealth Government’s national research priorities - a key part of the $3 billion Backing Australia’s Ability initiative.

The March 28 conference at the National Museum of Australia in Canberra, will add the social sciences and humanities’ perspectives to Australia’s research priorities announced last year by the Prime Minister.

The research priorities, a way of aligning broad research efforts with the community’s economic, social and environmental needs, were developed after close consultation with science, engineering and technological research communities.

The meeting will bring together representatives from humanities and social sciences to build on last year’s activities and reflect the perspectives of their own areas of expertise.

The four national research priorities area are:

● an environmentally sustainable Australia;

● promoting and maintaining good health;

● frontier technologies for building and transforming Australian industries; and

● safeguarding Australia.

I am looking forward to the opportunity to work with representatives from the Australian Academy of the Humanities and the Academy of the Social Sciences in Australia to explore how we can also include the vital contribution of these fields in the research priorities.

The outcomes of the conference will be presented to a national research priorities forum in mid-April.

The social sciences and humanities - which cover areas including economics, sociology, psychology, history, philosophy, politics, languages, and the creative and performing arts - will play a critical role in contributing to the national research priorities.

Advances in science and technology raise as many questions as they answer. Science on its own cannot solve for us the really important questions in life - about who we are and for what we hope. The humanities and social sciences are critically important in helping answer those questions.

Further information on the contribution of the social sciences and humanities to the national research priorities is available from:

For further information:

Dr Nelson’s Office: Ross Hampton 0419 484 095

Dept of Education, Science & Training: Virginia Cook 0412 971 323