A group of Early Career Researchers (ECRs) from Griffith Business School recently embarked on a two-day ‘Canberra Showcase’ organised by the Policy Innovation Hub (PIH). Led by Professor Susan Harris Rimmer and Dr Ed Morgan, the trip aimed to provide the ECRs with first-hand insights into policy-making and reinforce the significance of research in shaping government policies.

The trip was a very busy few days for the 11 ECRs involved. Throughout the trip participants took part in a series of small-group meetings tailored to their respective research interests. These meetings, held with various departments including the Department of Employment and Workplace Relations, Australian Trade and Investment Commission (Austrade), Department of Social Services (DSS), Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, and the Office for Women, provided an invaluable opportunity for the researchers to interact directly with professionals working in their areas of interest.

The group also had the privilege of meeting esteemed policymakers, including David Smith, Federal MP for Bean (ACT). David graciously shared his time and provided valuable insights into policy-making and the political landscape, instilling confidence in the researchers by emphasising the significant value their work holds for policy development.

The group also had a productive meeting with senior public servants, Karen Sandercock and Dom English, from the Australian Government Department of Education, who expressed enthusiasm and support for the researchers’ efforts. Additionally, they had the opportunity to gain insights into current political considerations in higher education from Lachlan Cameron, Advisor to the Minister for Education.

Early Career Researcher, Lintje Siehoyono Sie, described the trip as a transformative experience that deepened her understanding of how research can shape government policies. Reflecting on the opportunity to engage with policymakers and government officials within Commonwealth government departments, Lintje said, “Meeting individuals like Tim Myatt, the Director of Visitor Economy Workforce at Austrade, was invaluable. His insights and expertise offered a unique perspective on the policy-making process.”

Another participant, Sera Vada, highlighted the value of the trip;

Not only was the Canberra Showcase initiative valuable in terms of reflecting on the impact of my research, it also provided an opportunity to network with other early career researchers within the School and share our experiences of navigating the post-PhD journey.”

Beyond the policy-oriented engagements, the researchers enjoyed educational and cultural experiences. They participated in informative tours of Parliament House and the Museum of Australian Democracy, providing valuable context on policymaking and government operations. Furthermore, they managed a quick visit to the National Gallery of Australia, Reconciliation Place, and the Aboriginal Tent Embassy.

Policy Innovation Hub Research Fellow, Dr Ed Morgan highlighted the value of the trip remarking, “The enthusiasm and dedication shown by the researchers was fantastic to see, and it showcased the immense potential they have in shaping policy. We are thrilled to have been able to offer such a transformative experience.

The trip highlighted that there are a lot of opportunities for researchers to influence policy, if they have the right skills. The Policy Innovation Hub is now busy planning training sessions to help researchers seize such opportunities.