The Past Year at RegNet

Despite the ongoing challenges of the pandemic, it has been an exciting year serving as RegNet‘s Director. Our 2021 annual report showcases the School’s many achievements, including how we continued to work together as a community. The full text is available as a downloadable PDF, and a preview of my Director’s welcome to the report can be found here:

Over the last twenty years, RegNet has committed to understanding and anticipating the major societal challenges of our time, offering robust research and nuanced analysis to help make sense of them. The events of the last two years highlight the critical importance of RegNet’s mission to produce innovative work that supports effective regulation and equitable governance.

2021 was an exciting year for RegNet. In addition to important scholarly publications, our experts provided timely evidence-informed commentaries in media outlets and public forums. Members of the Menzies Centre for Health Governance delivered a valuable assessment of Australian COVID policy responses and their impact on health equity. Our Justice and Technoscience Lab (JusTech) reported­ findings on how people have adapted to changing regulatory conditions over the course of the pandemic.

RegNet continued its external engagement with Dr Virginia Marshall’s participation at the United Nations (UN) Climate Change Conference (UNCCC COP26) in Glasgow as a delegate for the ­Pacific­ and Knowledge­ Holder,­ nominated­ by­ the Indigenous Peoples’ Organisation–Australia. Closer to home, the Centre for Restorative Justice, in partnership with the ANU Centre for Social Research & Methods, convened a public symposium on sexual assault survivor-initiated restorative justice.

We ­also ­celebrated­ many ­significant­ achievements this year. Professor Sharon Friel won a prestigious Australian Laureate Fellowship to support pioneering research on­ governing­ for­ planetary­ health equity.­ Distinguished Professor Hilary Charlesworth became­ the ­first­ Australian­ woman­ elected­ to the International Court of Justice (ICJ), and Distinguished Professor John Braithwaite received the 2021 Peter Baume Award, the highest accolade for ANU staff.

We were delighted to see the RegNet community grow ­in­ 2021.­ Associate­ Professor Lia­ Kent­ re-joined the School, winning a highly competitive Australian Research Council Future Fellowship for her project, Local responses to missing persons and post-conflict peacebuilding. We also welcomed Dr Benjamin Herscovitch, Dr Emma Nyhan and Dr Depi Susilawati on board.

Despite periods of lockdown, colleagues collaborated to advance a diverse portfolio of work. The uncertainty prompted us to reflect­ on­ the­ meaning­ of­ connection­ and­ disconnection. Although the global pandemic disconnected us in ways we could not imagine, we found new ways to connect. These reflections­ formed­ the­ basis­ of­ our annual conversations series event, which we held as three webinars in October.

2021­ wasn’t­ simply­ an­ opportunity ­to ­find­ new connections; we deepened them as well. With Hilary Charlesworth’s election to the ICJ, Professor Anthea Roberts took over as Director of the International Centre for Governance and Justice. She has already brought together different strands of RegNet work in new and creative ways. We look forward to sharing more about the centre’s next phase in 2022.

Beyond research, we expanded the School’s educational offerings. We welcomed another cohort of students into the Graduate Certificate­ of­ Regulation­ and­ Governance and launched two new programs, the Master of Regulation and Governance and a specialisation in Contemporary Regulation as part of ANU Master of Public Policy degree. We also developed a Graduate­ Certificate­ of­ Crime and Regulation and partnered with the ANU College of Science to create the Graduate Certificate­ of­ Nuclear­ Technology­ Regulation, both of which are accepting students for 2022.

Our activities received generous support from key Australian funding agencies and government departments, including several competitive external grants and three awards from ­the­ ANU­ College­ of Asia­ and­ the­ Pacific’s­ Asia ­Pacific­ Innovation­ Program­ (APIP).­ Of­ course, funding alone does not keep the RegNet­ ship ­afloat. ­Our­ wonderful ­professional staff worked hard as a team–often behind the scenes–to ensure things ran smoothly.

We are excited to share our achievements over the last year in this annual report and invite you to look at our plans for the coming years. You can stay up to date in real time by joining our mailing list, following us on Twitter or visiting us in person.

Thank you for your ongoing interest in the work of RegNet. We wish you well in the year ahead.

Professor ­Kathryn­ (Kate) ­Henne
Director, School of Regulation and Global Governance (RegNet)

Me modeling the annual report at our first School meeting of 2022 (photo by Yeet Mei Foo)

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