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Crawford School introduces our fantastic staff, so you can get to meet the people of Asia and the Pacific’s leading graduate policy school. This time, Associate Professor Hoang Long Chu tells us about the different ways of making policy impact, and reveals how the ingredients of pho are connected to Vietnam’s regions.
1. Why did you choose to work at Crawford?
Crawford School is a great place to work. It is a leading policy school in the world where you can feel the impact of your academic activities. Working in Crawford maximises the chance of seeing our research output used in decision-making. Teaching at the School is also a channel of making policy impact, because many students are policymakers or will become policymakers after they graduate. On top of that, Crawford offers a very collegial working environment with respected colleagues who have deep policy engagement in Australia and around the world.
2. What is – in your opinion – the most interesting development in your research area?
I am an applied data analyst and economic modeller. My research focuses on optimising sustainability and resilience as well as balancing economic efficiency with social and environmental considerations. This research area is drawing more attention nowadays. It is interesting to see the jargon we use in research and teaching like ‘flattening the curve’ or SIR (Susceptible - Infected – Recovery) become common these days, even on Facebook and Twitter.
3. Can you tell us about a student that made you proud?
Crawford School has many students who excel in their careers after graduation, both in Australia and around the world, in academia and policy environments. To name some of them, Dr Dzung Doan (who took my course in 2010) is now working for the World Bank in Sydney after returning from the institution’s headquarters in the US. Dr Khoi Dang moved to Vietnam after graduation to lead a Policy Research Institute within the government sector and is now returning to Australia to work for the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare. Another example is Dr Giang Nguyen, who is working for the Australian Department of Education, Skills, and Employment and is also a part-time lecturer at ANU. I’m proud to have contributed to their professional development.
4. Can you tell us about a feel-good dish that you or someone in your family makes in stressful times?
It’s pho, a traditional Vietnamese dish with rice noodles served with beef or chicken, and it’s quite popular in Australia. The key to a good pho is its soup. A good bowl of soup can help us enjoy the flavour of three regions in Vietnam, shallot and herbs from the Delta, cinnamon and star anise from the mountains, and dried squid from the coast. My wife is great at cooking this dish.
5. Can you give us your top 3 tips about how to stay positive during the COVID-19 outbreak?
Number one is ‘follow the rules’. We should adhere to policies about social distancing, and hygiene advice such as regular hand washing and limiting social gatherings. There is no need to panic. If we follow the rules, the chances of us catching the virus are slim.
Number two is ‘stay connected and innovative’. While working from home, we should keep in contact with colleagues, students, and research collaborators. Technology and the Internet have made this a lot easier. We try to be innovative, for example working out online assessment techniques that promote students’ curiosity and help them learn without physically attending classes.
Finally, look after yourself and your family. This is an unprecedented situation, so many things are not working the way the normally do. Adults have to work at home, often with fewer facilities as compared to our offices on campus. Kids are not going to school while they still need social interaction. This may cause physical and mental stress, so we should be aware and prepared.