The Centre for Policy Futures has partnered with Australia's Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) to examine the policy, regulatory, and ethical implications of CSIRO's Future Science Platforms (FSPs).  The CSIRO-UQ Alliance is a five-year co-funded $3.9 million agreement which began in December 2017.

Assessing the benefits, risks and uncertainties that science and technology innovations present for society and the environment is a key priority for research institutes and universities. Such assessments are increasingly being located within the innovation development process, rather than after the innovation has launched on the market.

CSIRO's FSPs represent a strategic investment in emerging science that underpins innovation and has the potential to help reinvent and create new industries for Australia.  They are also designed to grow the capability of a new generation of researchers and attract the best students to work on areas of future science including synthetic biology, robotics and digital technologies, data mining and decision-making for agricultural and environmental management, precision health, and future energy systems. 

Working across CSIRO’s FSPs, the Alliance will focus on several, inter-related areas of inquiry to bring social science and humanities insights into innovation processes:

1. Identifying the multidimensionality of potential risks and responsibilities
2. Understanding trust in emerging technologies
3. Developing institutional effectiveness to seize opportunities and manage risk
4. Highlighting policy, regulatory, legal and community mechanisms to facilitate the positive outcomes from emerging technologies while minimising social, cultural and environmental risks.

Upcoming PhD opportunities

The CSIRO-UQ Alliance is offering eight PhD scholarships for high-calibre social science or humanities graduates seeking to undertake doctoral research in the policy, regulatory, legal, social, environmental or ethical challenges posed by new areas of science and technology. Each scholarship is funded through the Alliance.

The PhD projects will engage directly with one or more of the CSIRO’s FSPsQualifications in the disciplines of social studies of science and technology, psychology, digital social science or humanities, policy studies, political science, law, public administration, sociology, anthropology, media and communication studies, philosophy and ethics will be particularly well suited to the PhD projects. 

A broad range of supervisors drawn from within UQ and CSIRO will provide the necessary expertise, and this community of PhDs and supervisors would become a Community of Practice, from which yet more opportunities can be seized.  The cohort will be given various opportunities not previously aligned to PhD studies, including training opportunities, funded projects, co-authorship opportunities, secondment arrangements with the industry partner, summer schools, and social occasions.

Register your interest here.

Professor Karen Hussey
Director, Centre for Policy Futures, Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences UQ

Associate Professor Paul Henman
Principal Research Fellow (CSIRO-UQ Responsible Research and Innovation Alliance)

Dr Justine Lacey
Principal Research Scientist, CSIRO

Matt Herington
CSIRO-UQ Alliance Researcher
 
Yuwan Malakar
CSIRO-UQ Alliance Researcher