State of the Social Sciences 2021

30 November 2021

ISSR’s Director Professor Mark Western recently chaired the Steering Group that oversaw the State of the Social Sciences 2021 report (the Report) published by the Academy of Social Sciences in Australia (the Academy). State of the Social Sciences 2021 provides a guide to the trends, challenges and opportunities impacting Australian social science and identified a number of Grand Challenges for Social Science that included:

  • Reconciliation with Australia’s First Nations.
  • Understanding and addressing threats to democracy.
  • Fairly managing the response to climate change.
  • Using the recovery from COVID-19 to build a stronger, more equitable and prosperous Australia.

The Report describes a vibrant ecosystem across schooling, vocational education and training, universities, industry and the community sector, highlights what is going well, and where there are challenges.

The Report makes a strong case for the value of Australian social science, which provides the educational foundations for 1.2 million students in vocational education and training, almost 4 million university graduates, and 850,000 university students.

Social science matters because “the social” matters.

Social systems shape our lives – our health, our education, our happiness and grief, our families and our freedoms. The social can also make or break our world, whether it’s our response to climate change or a global pandemic, Australia’s ability to manage international relationships, or the impact of new technologies like artificial intelligence. The social sciences are the key disciplines to explain, understand, predict, influence and respond to our changing world.

The Report is a future-oriented document, cross-sectoral, in-depth and consultative, and interactive, and it will be updated periodically by the Academy.

For more information you can visit the project website, which includes options to read or download the report, drill into the data, and sign-up to stay involved.

ISSR: Professor Mark Western