Social Sciences

Physical sciences (alone) can’t save us: we need to understand human behaviour, too.

Science is important in solving the world’s biggest problems.

But can the social sciences solve our planet’s biggest issues on their own?

Last month’s Woolworths’ and Coles’ plastic bag ban is a perfect example: environmental scientists have known for decades that plastic is harmful to the environment but changing habits at the individual level has not been simple.

Nature Sustainability’s Australian launch with (L-R) Tanya Ha, Rebekah Brown, Kath Rowley, Veena Sahajwalla and Robyn Schofield. Image credit: Melbourne Sustainable Society Institute/Claire Denby

Relying on the physical sciences alone to fix the world’s problems is futile. So the leaders of Springer Nature have decided it’s time for a journal that is broad based and cross-disciplinary. Nature Sustainability publishes research about sustainability from the natural and social sciences, as well as engineering and policy, and was launched in Australia on July 17 by Monica Contestabile, the Chief Editor of the new journal.

Academics are traditionally siloed into research areas and often forget to think about how the research will be embedded into society. Yet understanding human behaviour and how the public may respond to research can be the difference between failure and success in policy.

There is a need for academia and policy, along with the social sciences, to work together, so science can be developed with society in mind. And when these three things work together, real change can happen.

[continue reading…]

Professor Dali Kaafar to lead research at the Optus Macquarie University Cyber Security Hub

A focus on cyber security and privacy-preserving technologies.

Macquarie University is pleased to announce the appointment of Professor Dali Kaafar as Scientific Director of the Optus Macquarie University Cyber Security Hub.

Prof Kaafar will move from CSIRO Data61 on 3 October 2017.

“It is a pleasure to appoint Prof Kaafar who is regarded worldwide as one of the leaders in cyber security, in particular regarding data privacy issues,” says Dr Christophe Doche, Executive Director of the Cyber Security Hub.

“Privacy is a fascinating and important research area as it cuts across fields of information technology, business, law, criminology, psychology, and ethics,” he says. “This research topic is thus very well aligned with the philosophy of the Cyber Security Hub, which is to tackle cyber security issues with an interdisciplinary mindset. Privacy-preserving technologies are key to enable collaboration amongst organisations and to foster private and confidential data-sharing for wider and more powerful cyber security approaches.”

[continue reading…]

Power to the islands

Scientists available for interview in Bahasa Indonesia and English. More images below. 

View the release in Bahasa Indonesia here. Or read about the other collaborative research projects announced with the opening of the Indonesian Clean Energy Centre of Excellence in Bali on Thursday 11 Feb.

Over sixty-five million Indonesians live off the grid. But what does that mean in the era of micro-grids, batteries and efficient solar panels? And how do communities change with 24/7 energy?
Providing reliable electric power is one of the keys to unlocking the potential of the remote islands and landlocked areas of Indonesia and of Australia’s north, a priority for both countries.
How do communities change with 24/7 energy? Indonesian and Australian scientists are working to find out. Credit: Max Richter

How do communities change with 24/7 energy? Indonesian and Australian scientists have study sites, including villages in the Kai Islands, to find out. Credit: Max Richter

[continue reading…]

Power to the people

Indonesia and Australia to research delivering power to remote communities and to grow cities

View the release in Bahasa Indonesia here.

Announcing a portfolio of research projects:

  • To bring sustainable energy to remote communities.
  • To increase the reliability of Indonesia’s urban power.
  • To guide Indonesia as it boosts its electricity generating capacity by 70 per cent.
  • To help Australia decarbonise/move away from coal.
  • Trials in Borneo and Kai Besar (off West Papua).

Researchers available for interview in Bahasa Indonesia and English. More images below.

Today the Indonesian Minister for Energy and Mineral Resources, Sudirman Said, will open the Indonesian Clean Energy Centre of Excellence in Bali, with Australia to be an important partner in the Centre’s new activities.
Local and national projects assessing clean energy options are underway by Indonesian and Australian scientists. Credit: Max Richter

Local and national projects assessing clean energy options are underway by Indonesian and Australian scientists. Credit: Max Richter

[continue reading…]