Science and Society Network
SSN Spotlight video
SSN Spotlight video

Science and Society Network

A Deakin University network for collaborations between the physical and social sciences and the humanities

SSN Spotlight video

Space Ethics and Planetary Defence

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SSN Spotlight video

'Debugging' devices for victims of family violence

Click to watch

Deakin Science and Society Network

To meet the great challenges of this century, scientists and humanities and social science researchers need to work together. No single academic field can bring about the changes we need to see in the world. Bridging disciplinary divides is the key to finding new solutions to the problems we face.

Our work

Climate change, habitat and biodiversity loss, food and water security, and global health are among some of humanity’s biggest challenges. These issues are interconnected and require social researchers and scientists to work together to develop solutions. The Deakin Science and Society Network reaches across the disciplinary divides of our universities and institutions, and the divides between research, policy and practice. We emphasise the effective communication and translation of research, as the benefits of knowledge can’t be fully realised unless information is shared widely across different audiences.

The Deakin Science and Society Network supports science-literate social research and socially-engaged science that makes an impact.

    Research Themes

  • Environmental Challenges

    Theme leaders: Associate Professor Euan Ritchie and Dr Tim Neale

    Human cultures and the environment are deeply intertwined, from local ecosystems to globally. Current pressures, including climate change and widespread biodiversity loss, mean it is vital we better understand how we are shaping and being shaped by our surrounds. The Environmental Challenges theme brings together ecologists, anthropologists, psychologists, historians, economists, educators, legal scholars and others. Through collaborations and conversations across these disciplines we will address environmental issues and linkages including: biodiversity conservation; energy; mental and physical health; natural hazards management; and sustainable resource use.

  • Healthy Futures

    Theme leaders: Professor Sarah Mcnaughton and Associate Professor Dominique Martin

    Advances in biomedicine and public health have helped to extend human lifespans in many societies and made it possible to prevent and alleviate illnesses and injuries that devastated previous generations. However, our greater longevity, climate change, conflict and rapid changes in human lifestyles pose novel challenges. New technologies also raise questions about cognitive enhancement, genome modification and determination of death. This theme brings together scientists, social scientists, philosophers, bioethicists and health professionals, plus policy makers and the public, to help build healthy futures for all.

  • Indigenous Knowledges

    Theme leaders: Professor Emma Kowal and Professor Tarquam McKenna 

    Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples have developed diverse and complex knowledge systems deeply embedded in local environments. Recognising Indigenous ways of knowing is crucial to developing long lasting solutions to ecological, social and health crises affecting Indigenous communities and Australia as a whole. The Indigenous knowledges theme brings together Indigenous and non-Indigenous scholars working at the interface of science and Indigenous knowledges on questions of environment, sustainability, livelihoods, health and wellbeing.

  • Data Cultures

    Theme leaders: Dr Leonard Hoon and Associate Professor Radhika Gorur

    Contemporary societies are saturated with data, with almost every aspect of professional and social life now digitised in some way. This ‘datafication’ of society promises enormous benefits as well as challenges. Bringing together researchers in artificial intelligence, data science, human computer interaction and IT with sociologists, anthropologists, artists, and policy scientists, the ‘Data Cultures’ theme engages with intelligence and machine learning systems; data ethics; wearable, intimate and surveillance technologies; social media, “fake news” and the democratisation of data.

  • Future Earth

    Theme Leaders: Professor Brett Bryan and Dr Joshua Newton

    Future Earth is an international research and development organization dedicated to finding long term sustainability solutions for humanity and the environment. Future Earth brings together the world’s researchers with leading thinkers in business, public administration, the humanities and social sciences and the community to build the cooperation, trust and tools to create long-term solutions to global challenges. Future Earth Australia is a national peak initiative that enables Australian scientists, governments, industry and NGOs to collaborate and engage with international networks and programs. Future Earth Australia aims to coordinate and leverage sustainability research relevant to the eight focal challenges identified by Future Earth globally – water, energy, food for all; decarbonize socioeconomic systems; safeguard natural assets; build healthy resilient cities; sustainable rural futures; improved human health; sustainable consumption and production; social resilience to future threats – as well as other key challenges for Australia and the Oceania region.

    Deakin University is proud to be a founding member of Future Earth Australia and work towards the shared global aspiration for sustainability embodied in the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

Convenors

Professor Emma Kowal

Professor Emma Kowal

Convenor

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Dr Timothy Neale

Dr Timothy Neale

Deputy Convenor, Collaborations

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A/Prof Euan Ritchie

A/Prof Euan Ritchie

Deputy Convenor, Communication and Outreach

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SSN Spotlight: Space Ethics and Planetary Defence

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SSN Spotlight: 'Debugging' devices for victims of family violence

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SSN Spotlight: Materials Science meets Political Science

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Making Futures: thinking differently about our world