Recognition for public policy expertise

20 February 2014

Four new Public Policy fellows were announced by the Public Policy Fellows Nomination Committee last month.

Each Fellow is active in public debate in their area and the University places a high level of importance on recognising their contributions.

New Fellows are Professor Valerie Braithwaite from the ANU College of Asia and Pacific; Professor Sharon Friel from the National Centre for Epidemiology and Public Health; Professor Amin Saikal from the Centre for Arab and Islamic Studies; and Professor Brian Schmidt from the Research School of Astronomy and Astrophysics.

Professor Braithwaite is an interdisciplinary social scientist with a background in psychology. Her areas of expertise include citizenship, public policy, social policy, public administration and criminology. She currently works at the Regulatory Institutions Network, where she is examining psychological processes in governance and regulation.

Professor Friel's main areas of expertise relate to health policy and public health awareness, focusing in areas of social determinants of health, food systems, urbanisation and non-communicable disease prevention. She is currently a Chief Investigator on several major research collaborations relating to social and environmental determinants of health inequalities.

Director of the Centre for Arab and Islamic Studies, Professor Saikal is one of the world's leading authorities on politics in the Middle East and Central Asia. His knowledge about these regions is highly regarded and is evident in the extensive media coverage he receives.

Professor Saikal says he is motivated by sharing his knowledge and views with the wider community.

"And I see this as part of the public responsibility of an academic," he says, adding the greatest moment of his career was the establishment of the Centre for Arab and Islamic Studies.

A Nobel Prize winner and Laureate Fellow at RSAA, Professor Schmidt is well-known for his expertise in commenting on a range of topics including exploding stars and supernovae.  He has also played an integral role in building the new SkyMapper telescope, which is in the process of mapping the southern sky.

All four academics join a list of 20 exisiting public policy fellows.