13 February 2012

The Director of UQ’s Centre for Critical and Cultural Studies, Professor Graeme Turner, has been appointed to the new-look Prime Minister’s Science, Engineering and Innovation Council (PMSEIC).

PMSEIC has been the government’s peak science and research advisory body since it was established by the Hawke government.

Professor Turner is one of six individual standing members chosen for their personal expertise and their contributions to science and research.

The Federal Government recently announced reforms to Australia’s peak science and research advisory body to make it more relevant and responsive to the immediate challenges and opportunities facing the nation.

Professor Turner was initially appointed to the Council at the end of 2008, when it was a much larger group of more than 20 members.

At that time, he was only the second humanities researcher to have served on the Council.

He said due to the review and reduction of the size of the committee there was no guarantee that a humanities perspective would be retained.

“The new composition of the committee is a clear indication that the government sees humanities research as an essential contributor towards understanding the big national policy questions for the future,” he said.

“If we are looking at big changes in response to some of the big science questions, this necessarily involves a cultural dimension.

“An example we have looked at in the past has included changing culture as part of the response to adapting to climate change.

“Food security is another example in which cultural patterns play an important role.”

Professor Turner said he was delighted that former Australian of the Year, epidemiologist Professor Fiona Stanley would continue to provide a social science perspective in the committee.

The new smaller Council will meet three times a year to provide more timely independent scientific policy advice to Government on existing and emerging issues that a nation like Australia must confront.

The Council will also continue to provide essential advice to Government on issues facing Australia’s long-term future, looking five to 30 years ahead.

Professor Turner is one of the leading figures in cultural and media studies in Australia and internationally.

His research has covered a wide range of forms and media – literature, film, television, radio, new media, journalism, and popular culture.

He has published 22 books with national and international academic presses, with the most recent being Ordinary People and the Media: The Demotic Turn (Sage, 2010) and What’s Become of Cultural Studies? (2012, Sage).

A past president of the Australian Academy of the Humanities and convenor of the ARC-funded Cultural Research Network (2006-2010), Professor Turner has had considerable engagement with federal research and higher education policy. He was the chair of the Humanities and Creative Arts panel for the government’s trial of their Excellence in Research Australia process in 2009.

Last year he was awarded a $270,000 ARC Discovery for an international study on the changing socio-cultural functions of television in the Philippines, Mexico and Cuba, with Centre for Critical and Cultural Studies’ Australian Postdoctoral Fellow Dr Anna Christina Pertierrra.

His ARC Federation Fellow project 2008-2011 was an international comparative study of the role television plays in the post-broadcast, digital environment in Asia, Latin America, and the West.

Media: Jan King 0413 601 248