Noel Chan, winner of the award for best policy and governance paper. Image by Belinda Thompson.

Public policy in uncertain times

05 November 2013

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The Crawford School PhD conference 2013 examined the challenges facing the global economy and the implications of increasing uncertainty for policymaking through presentations by doctoral researchers at Crawford School of Public Policy.

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A record crowd and dynamic research made a powerful combination at the fourth annual Crawford School PhD Conference ‘Public Policy in Uncertain Times’ held on 4 November.

More than 200 people attended the event, which showcased research by later year students. Some 21 papers highlighted student research on topics as diverse as the economic consequences of terrorism and environmental regulation.

Senior academics awarded prizes to the four most outstanding presentations. Ramesh Sunam, from Environment and Development, was recognised for his research on pathways to lift the rural poor out of poverty in Nepal. Scholar Noel Chan’s discussion of utility affordability in Victoria won the award for best policy and governance paper.

The outstanding calibre of the economics papers saw the judges decide to award two prizes; one to Tuan Phan for his work on output composition of monetary policy transmission mechanism; and one to Akshay Shanker who asked whether environmental regulation could enhance productivity.

First year student Jiao Wang was recognised as the best discussant for the economics stream for her feedback on Luke Hurst’s research.

The President of the 2013 PhD Conference committee, Shane Johnson, said he was delighted at the high level of interest in the conference, particularly from the public service.

“The main reason the conference is held is to provide the opportunity for PhD students to present their research to individuals who they otherwise wouldn’t have access to,” Mr Johnson said.

“It is an opportunity to network with the broader public policy community, both to advance their research and for future employment at the conclusion of the PhD.”

In addition to the student research, attendees heard from Crawford School’s Dr Ken Henry AC, former Secretary to the Treasury, speaking on the topic of ‘The policy challenges facing Australia and the region’.

To wrap up the conference, a distinguished panel of experts chaired by Professor Michael Wesley of the National Security College, Crawford School, discussed the ‘The state of public policy and the policy debate in Australia’.

The panel featured Lin Hatfield Dodds, National Director, UnitingCare Australia, Laura Tingle, Political Editor, Australian Financial Review, Professor Warwick McKibbin, Chair in Public Policy, Crawford School and Jim Murphy, Executive Director at Treasury.

The conference was supported by the Sir Roland Wilson Foundation. The Sir Roland Wilson Foundation was established in 1998 with donations from ANU and the Wilson family estate to advance the study and development of public policy and management within Australia and internationally.

The conference is organised by first-year PhD students in collaboration with Crawford School’s PhD Academic and Research Skills Advisor, Dr Megan Poore. This year, the committee were: Shane Johnson, Rebecca Mendelsohn, Steven Thomas, Belinda Thompson, Wee Koh, Ben Ascione and Julia Talbot-Jones.

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