Research Networks and Initiatives

The School of Social and Political Sciences has one of the strongest concentrations of social and political science researchers in the Australasian region. Our researchers are actively involved in collaborative research activity, within the school and other areas of the University, and with international research partners and networks.

SSPS Research Initiatives

A number of research initiatives have been established within the school to facilitate interdisciplinary and cross-disciplinary research. The supportive environment created by these initiatives provides a space and time for existing collaborations to flourish, and new opportunities to seed and develop.

Cross-university research collaborations

The University funded Sydney Research Networks Scheme (SyReNS) aims to develop large and productive collaborations that enable high quality multi-disciplinary research. Researchers from our school lead two of the major research initiatives, the Sydney Social Justice Project (Associate Professor Danielle Celermajer) and the Sydney Network on Climate Change and Society (Professor David Schlosberg). Several of the other networks include collaboration from SSPS researchers, Learning Technology and Learning Sciences (Dr Karl Maton); the Sydney Infectious Diseases and Biosecurity Network (Dr Cynthia Hunter, Dr Adam Kamradt-Scott, Dr Frank Smith); and the Energy Storage Research Network (Dr Lynne Chester).

In the face of new, exciting and dangerous political trends, the Sydney Democracy Network (SDN) is a vibrant and active network of researchers, activists, policy-makers and citizens concerned with the future of democracy. Based at the University of Sydney with a strong focus on the Asia-Pacific region, the SDN aims to foster a broad rethinking of democracy, not only as a form of government but as a way of life committed to greater equality and accountability of power. The SDN offers opportunities for PhD scholarships and three-month student exchanges with its European partner, the WZB Berlin Social Science Centre

The Electoral Integrity Project is an independent academic study with a research team based at the Department of Government and International Relations at the University of Sydney and the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. It has been generously supported by many agencies, especially the $2.6m Kathleen Kitzpatrick Laureate Award from the ARC to Professor Pippa Norris in 2011, as well as by the University of Sydney, International IDEA, and at Harvard University by the Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation, the Committee on Australian Studies, and the Weatherhead Center for International Affairs. The five year project was officially launched in Madrid in July 2012.

Worldwide Universities Network (WUN)

Worldwide Universities Network (WUN) is a network of 18 research-led universities that helps to build global research communities by supporting collaboration. It has members in Australia and New Zealand, the United States, South America, Europe, China and South Africa. Many of our researchers are currently engaged in international research collaborations under the auspices of WUN.

WUN Asia Pacific International Relations

This research network examines political, cultural and economic relations throughout the Pacific Rim and investigates how the Asia-Pacific’s international and regionalised relations are shaping global governance, economy and society. Dr James Reilly is the Principle researcher from the University. The network includes a sub-theme on China-Latin America relations. Professor Goodman, Dr Adrian Hearn and Dr Minglu Chen all participated in the sub-theme’s international workshop hosted by Leeds in May 2011. The workshop resulted in a special edition of the Journal of Current Chinese Affairs, as well as an edited volume titled The Asia-Pacific, Regionalism and the Global System (Chelthenham: Edward Elgar, 2012).

WUN Contemporary China Centre

The Centre addresses contemporary China as a geographical unit of research and explores geographical, political, economic, environmental, social and cultural perspectives. Professor Goodman is the Principle researcher from the University. A large-scale research project on Perceptions of Class in China is being mounted as part of this collaboration.

WUN Global Factory

This network investigates how multinational enterprises are responding to international policies concerning climate change, while remaining internationally competitive. This group will contribute to research on adaptation to climate change from a combined political economy, engineering, and international business perspective. This project will feed research outcomes into both the WUN Asia-Pacific International Relations Network and the WUN Contemporary China Centre. Professor Hans Hendrischke and Dr John Mikler are the Principle researchers from the University.

WUN Megacities

This network focuses on megacities in the era of globalisation. The rapid growth in the number of megacities through mass urbanisation is a major social and political issue for the 21st century. The network aims to develop comparative theoretical frameworks and methodologies to provide greater insights into the contemporary challenge of mass urbanisation. Professor Michael Humphrey is the Principle researcher from the University.

WUN Networking Young Citizens

This network focuses on the engagement of new media and social networking applications in helping young people to develop new civic capacities. It explores whether and how traditional political institutions can respond to these new youth media practices. Associate Professor Ariadne Vromen is the Principle researcher from the University.

Associate Professor Ariadne Vromen, and WUN partners were successful in their bid of $312,000 to the US based Spencer Foundation for a two year project titled The Civic Network: A comparative study of the use of social media for enhancing young people’s political engagement.

WUN REMEDiE – Social Impacts of Regenerative Medicine

Examines the socio-economic, political and bioethical implications for Europe of near-term and future global developments in the field of regenerative medicine. Professor Catherine Waldby is the Principle researcher from the University. The University is named in a €1.3 million FP7 grant administered by the University of York; and named in a €1.54 million European Cooperation in the field of Scientific and Technical Research (COST) Action.

WUN Transformative Justice Network

This network brings together an international team of scholars interested in various aspects of transformative justice after mass violence and the role of non-governmental actors. Dr Wendy Lambourne is the Principle researcher from the University.

WUN White Spaces Network

This research network aims to research experiences of racial inequality in institutional contexts across a range of multicultural states. This comparative project uses an innovative whiteness studies approach to explore the implementation of programs that challenge white privilege in a range of spaces (educational institutions, private businesses, public sector organizations and social movements). Associated Professor Catriona Elder is the Principle researcher from the University.