UQ will be the headquarters for a new world class research centre that will improve the social and economic wellbeing of Queensland communities.
The University will collaborate with the Queensland Government and four other Queensland universities to establish the Queensland Centre for Social Science Innovation (QCSSI).
Funding for this state-of-the-art centre was announced by Premier Anna Bligh last week, with the Government and universities jointly committing $10 million for the first five years.
Vice-Chancellor Professor Paul Greenfield welcomed the government’s recognition of the role of high-quality social science in improving service in areas as fundamental as health and education.
“UQ is excited by the opportunity to work with our colleague universities to deliver research that will leave no excuses for poor service delivery,” Professor Greenfield said.
In an Australian first, the QCSSI will undertake applied research into projects and areas that the government and university partners will jointly determine, the first of its kind to analyse raw State Government data.
A key part of the centre’s strength will be its ability to access and analyse anonymous and confidential data that will be made available to researchers through the Office for Economic and Statistical Research.
Premier Anna Bligh said the centre would position Queensland as a world leader in social
“Around 75 percent of the Queensland Government budget is directed to social and human services, like education and health, and targeted, relevant research will ensure the best use is made of this substantial financial investment, to improve quality of life for Queenslanders,” she said.
Professor Mark Western, Director of UQ’s Institute for Social Science Research (ISSR), said the new funding reflected the strength of the institute and its researchers.
“This is a an important initiative for Queensland and an achievement for UQ, as QCSSI will be headquartered in the Institute for Social Science Research and the Centre Director will be a UQ staff member.
“ISSR is one of Australia’s largest social science institutes and our researchers address important problems in areas such as education, employment, crime control, community wellbeing and disaster preparedness."
Professor Western said the new centre would analyse data to see which programs were effective and how they could be better designed in the future.
"We will undertake effective evaluation of government programs and we will do research that will help government spend its money effectively around the delivery of services.
“This is a significant opportunity for government and social scientists to work together to identify priorities and problems that have real impacts on people and communities, and then address these issues by utilising the expertise in the member universities,” he said.
The Queensland Government has identified a number of projects for the centre to research in its first program in 2012, with the Premier listing better responses to disasters and more realistic ways of improving Indigenous health as top of the agenda issues.
Media: Professor Mark Western (07 3346 7344, firstname.lastname@example.org) or Kristen Bastian UQ Communications (07 3346 9279, email@example.com)