National Research Infrastructure: Investing in Australia’s Future

AAH News Media release, Policy & Research

The Australian Academy of the Humanities welcomes the commitment from the 2018 Federal Budget to implement the Research Infrastructure Investment Plan. The Plan directs investment in current and future platforms, assets and facilities as prioritised in the 2016 Research Infrastructure Roadmap.

A national, integrated platform for humanities, arts, social sciences (HASS) and Indigenous research is one of nine priority areas. Investment is needed to ensure that the 41% of the nation’s researchers who work in these fields are well-positioned to contribute to our national future, enabling researchers to ask questions about culture and society at a scale hitherto unimaginable.

“We are at a pivotal juncture as a nation,” said Professor Damousi FASSA FAHA, President of the Australian Academy of the Humanities. “In a time of artificial intelligence, precision medicine, globalisation and social change, discussion of our national future depends on informed ethical, historical and cultural perspectives provided by humanities, arts and social science researchers.”

“New technologies and data linkage developments promise to transform our engagement with our past and our present to drive better futures for the people of this country,” said Professor Damousi. “We have the opportunity here to advance a national strategy to unlock and connect the vast and rich record of cultural and social life in Australia.”

“Despite being identified as a priority area for investment in roadmapping exercises since 2008 a Platforms for HASS agenda is yet to be funded,” said Professor Damousi. “Investment in underpinning infrastructure to support the work of Australia’s humanities, arts and social science researchers is long overdue.”

Over the last decade, the humanities, arts and culture research sector, and Australia’s collecting and cultural institutions, have undertaken significant work on this issue.  Building on this momentum, the Academy has led sector-wide effort to articulate infrastructure needs to drive transformations in the way researchers and the broader community discover, access, curate and analyse social and cultural data.

The Academy looks forward to the release of the detailed plan for investment and continuing its work with the Department of Education and Training, representatives from the research infrastructure sector, and leaders in the cultural and collecting sector, in order to strengthen Australia’s data capability and next-generation HASS research workforce.


Summary

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