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LWAs Social & Institutional Research Programme Canberra, 18-19 May 2010 Steve Dovers, Richard Price, Ken Moore.

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Presentation on theme: "LWAs Social & Institutional Research Programme Canberra, 18-19 May 2010 Steve Dovers, Richard Price, Ken Moore."— Presentation transcript:

1 LWAs Social & Institutional Research Programme Canberra, May 2010 Steve Dovers, Richard Price, Ken Moore

2 Why us? Steve – social scientist; scoping study and first program plan, later giving to and taking from LWA. Richard – anti-social scientist; PIERD Act; LWA from the start; midwife and obstetrician to the birth and early years. Ken – double-dip SIRPer, innocent of this ppt. Quiz question – who put the pictures in?

3 The life story… The Foreplay Years Prophylactics and Withdrawals >> The Conception SIRPs early years (what middle age?) Achievements: the childs a credit to us… The Gaps and Not-So-Goods Lessons from a short life, if… But first…

4 Why are we, or should we, be here discussing a social sciences program when most other LWA programs were not constructed in this way? -- do we need one – a pause to rethink? -- a discipline based program in a sector- and issue-focused world?

5 The Foreplay Years Early escapades in social sciences and NRM: -- agricultural economics, geography, history, extension, adoption … no blank slate, now or ever. National Soil Conservation Program, and onto LWRRDC: -- adoption research -- quantifying and qualitatively identifying benefits.

6 Prophylactics and Withdrawals (or, it shouldve happened earlier – who and what got in the way?!) Lack of coherence/support from social scientists (who are so good at whingeing…) A perceived blur between policy research, policy development and policy advocacy Dedicate a program or embed into others? It seems a good idea, but how… People from government

7 The Conception Peter Chudleigh – an early but lone Board advocate Jason Alexandra – an excitable and vocal Board advocate Leith Boully – a gents-the-time-has-come Board advocate Richard Price – a this-took-me-nine-years Staff advocate Scoping study (Mobbs & Dovers 1999): -- broad scope (social, legal, economic, policy, institutional… ) -- the role and sensitivities of policy research. -- should there be a Program or should social sciences be embedded?

8 SIRPs Early Years The first program plan. Early foci: - exciting and attracting social scientists >> -- testing social science methods for NRM fit -- mixing the economic, legal, sociological and political science ingredients (can we work together, or are we best focussing on our strengths?) -- its OK to publish!

9 The childs a credit to us… Unprecedented focus on social sciences in NRM, and on NRM by (some) social scientists. Increased comprehension of breadth and relative merit/relevance of social science disciplines. Guiding (some) social scientists to applications. Some very low cost-high output research. The PhD program. Trial, proving (or not) and communication of timely topics – eg citizens jury project

10 Mishaps & Misdemeanours Mixed and raised expectations >> Ignored broader issues of governance. Ditto the law (… many manifestations). Fadism? (eg. whither soils) Inability to comprehend books as product. Not bringing cognate sectors and NRM together (emergencies, public health, community development). Not bringing in senior social scientists from outside NRM for review and steering.

11 Lessons from a short life, if… … we renew intelligent investment in social sciences Whats the need for social sciences in NRM, and what matching needs in cognate sectors? A statutory authority (again), or have the times overtaken such a construction? Another form of program, ARC key centres, embedded elsewhere as appropriate…? Separate status versus dispersed integration of the social sciences? Other experiences (LWA not unique): RAC, BRS SS unit, GBRMPA, Bushfire CRC Program C, CERF-NERP.

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