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SSPS Celebrates its 5th Anniversary



9 November 2012

Staff from across the School of Social and Political Sciences (SSPS) this week converged in the University of Sydney Art Gallery to mark their milestone 5th year of operation.

Addressing a packed crowd of academic and professional staff, Head of School Professor Simon Tormey thanked his colleagues for their continued support along the School's "really amazing voyage."

"Watching a project like SSPS unfold, day-by-day not that much seems to change. But when you just look at the stats about the School, you realise that really you're in a very special place with a very special group of individuals."

Tormey paid tribute to the School's diverse and vibrant staff base, which has grown substantially to include a high proportion of internationally recognised academics, and which he sees as being a large factor in SSPS's ongoing success.

"They have brought forward new ideas, new projects and new experiences from abroad - it's an incredibly internationalised group now," he said.

"The School has had an extraordinary transformation at every level. We've taken on some of the best-known senior staff in their respective disciplines and we've hired some of the best junior staff from across the world. In terms of staffing it's been an incredible process of renewal.

He also pointed to the high representation of SSPS academics in the most recently announced round of Australian Research Council(ARC) funding as standing testament to the School's research strengths.

"It's not the amount of money that really counts; it's getting recognition, and the ARC is obviously the gold standard in Australia," he said. "To have 10-12 colleagues who are now nationally recognised for the excellence of their work is, I think, an incredible achievement."

In just five years, SSPS has grown to become one of the world's leading centres for social sciences research. Social science at the University of Sydney has consistently ranked highly amongst the top institutions internationally, placing in the top 40 worldwide in the past three Times Higher Education World University Rankings.

SSPS brings together research, teaching and scholarship from a broad range of disciplines, including Anthropology, Sociology and Social Policy, , Political Economy, and Government and International Relations. The School has expanded in recent years to incorporate the Graduate School of Government, the Centre for International Security Studies and the Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies.

The School houses numerous collaborative and interdisciplinary research clusters, such as the Biopolitics of Science Research Network, the Institute for Democracy and Human Rights, the Markets and Social Research Network and the Social Transformation and International Migration Initiative.

Looking ahead, Tormey envisioned SSPS's priorities would centre particularly on engaging their PhD and Postgraduate community, introducing such initiatives as the Sydney PhD program, more intensive research training and a greater integration of PhD candidates into the School community.

"We need the best students and we need to do the best for those students as well, because that's the next generation," he said. "And ultimately, the very best institutions and departments of social sciences in the world are judged by the quality of their graduate students."

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Contact: Kate Mayor

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