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.
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.
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.
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 early life prediction of ageing and chronic disease risk. This theme brings together scientists, social scientists, philosophers, bioethicists, lawyers and health professionals, plus policy makers and the public, to help build healthy futures for all in an equitable manner.
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.
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.