An assessment of the role and impact of universities on wider society in Australia suggests that social science research does not have much impact on the formation of public policy.
“It may seem a curious thing to politicians, public servants, industry, the media and the public that much research carried out in Australian universities does not seem to have much influence on public policy formulation.
“This problem seems particularly acute in the social sciences, and in areas where social science knowledge plays a key role, such as business schools.
“Peter Shergold of the University of NSW (and former secretary of the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet) has recently raised the issue of the role and impact of universities on the wider Australian society. He rightly asks why, despite all the research they do and the papers they write, so few university academics are engaged with real-world issues.
“Is this because academics prefer to stay securely locked up in their ivory towers, preferring to avoid the dirty contaminating world of politics and policy formulation? The answer in most cases is no…”