Wednesday, September 3, 2008

HASS in the Capital 2008 - Day #1

I am at HASS in the Capital 2008, the annual gathering of leaders in the Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences (HASS) organised by the Council for Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences (CHASS) in Canberra.

Tuesday night involved a dinner at the Old Parliament House, where the keynote speaker was Professor Mary O'Kane, former Vice-Chancellor of the University of Adelaide, chair of the recent review of Co-operative Research Centres, and now the CEO of the Australasian Centre for Interaction Design (ACID).

Key points from Mary O'Kane' talk were:

  • universities need to be agile in allowing new knowledge fields to emerge that cross disciplinary boundaries;
  • there is a need to let go of discipline areas as required as new opportunities emerge
  • if the 20th century was one where science and technology fields were the key knowledge driver, this will not be the case in the 21st century, as the underlying conditions have become much more complex
  • this presents a big opportunity for the HASS sectors in explaining the changes that underpin new technology developments
  • the HASS sector is being strongly encourage to have a greater role in Co-operative Research Centres (CRCs)
  • CRCs are to put a lot more emphasis on 'market failure' issues and generating research rather than commercialisation outcomes.
As someone from the HASS sector involved in a CRC (the Smart Services CRC, to have its Brisbane launch on Thursday), these observations were interesting, particularly as they relate to the under-representation of the services sectors in current CRCs.

HASS will today discuss future directions. There is not a meeting with parliamentarians this year.

There will also be a lunch-time speech by Senator Kim Carr, the Minister responsible for research and innovation in the Rudd Labor Government. I'll post on that later.

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