University academics join Academy of Social Sciences

Professor Sara Davies has been elected to the Academy of the Social Sciences.

Professors Sara Davies and Martine Powell have been elected to the Academy of the Social Sciences.

The pair join Griffith University colleagues, including Vice Chancellor and President Professor Carolyn Evans, in the elected Fellowship of more than 650 leading Australian social science researchers.

Professor Davies is an International Relations scholar whose research focuses on global health governance and conflict-related sexual violence.

Her work in the School of Government and International Relations at Griffith Business School centres around situations where humans are at their most vulnerable, from the outbreak of disease, to gender-based and sexual violence in warzones, and forced displacement.

Professor Davies said she was honoured to be elected to the prestigious Fellowship.

“It means that my peers think that the work that I’m doing is worthy of the recognition, and it means that I add to the voices of more women in the Academy receiving this honour,” Professor Davies said.

“It is also recognition of the diversity of research that’s now being recognized by the Academy.

“When I first published on global health governance in 2007, it seemed liked an odd choice for an International Relations scholar. The COVID-19 pandemic illustrates why we need to invest more knowledge in the diplomacy and politics of infectious disease outbreaks.”

Professor Martine Powell

Professor Martine Powell is the Director of the Centre for Investigative Interviewing, a research and training hub based within the Griffith Criminology Institute.

An expert in forensic interviewing, Professor Powell has established evidence-based methods of teaching interviewing skills.

She has pioneered many innovations, including a standardised method of assessing interviewer performance, an avatar who plays the role of a child in practical exercises and a system for tailoring interview protocols for people of different linguistic and cultural backgrounds.

“I am honoured that my colleagues have elected me to the Academy,” Professor Powell said.

Professor Powell said investigative interviewing was a highly specialised skill, and that her election to the Academy recognised the body of science that underpins recommended techniques.

“Knowing how to elicit the best evidence from people is not intuitive. Despite the best of intentions, interviewers often stray from being relatively passive receivers of information and shape people’s accounts.

“Closing the gap between recommended and actual practice is the most talked about issue in my field and the focus of our work.”

The Academy of the Social Sciences in Australia (ASSA) is one of Australia’s five learned Academies and was established in 1971.

Each ASSA Fellow is elected by their peers for a sustained and internationally distinguished contribution to their field.