From research to policy

If you are in Melbourne on Thursday evening then don’t miss out on our first From research to policy panel discussion. We have four great speakers this month including: Dr Joan Staples, Dr Kate Raynor, Dr Crystal Legacy and Dr Melanie Lowe.

Where? RMIT, Building 80, Level 10, Room 18
When? 4PM to 6PM

About Joan…

Dr Joan Staples is a political scientist, whose research focuses on the role of civil society in the democratic process.  She has had a career in policy and advocacy covering environmental issues, Indigenous and consumer affairs, and international human rights.

Joan will speak from the point of view of how 12 years ago she negotiated moving from active involvement in policy, to writing for academia.  She will highlight (a) the differences between the two, (b) how to ensure academic work is robust in the policy environment and (c) why she thinks the current political environment is in need of academic input.  She will also describe how in the past academics informed her advocacy work – for example, when she was ACF lobbyist in Canberra during the Hawke Government.

About Kate…

Dr Kate Raynor is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the University of Melbourne. Her research focuses on housing, particularly in relation to the partnerships required to deliver affordable and social housing and the perceptions surrounding higher density housing in Australia.

Kate supports the Transforming Housing Research Partnership, an interdisciplinary action research project based within the Melbourne School of Design. This role involves work in research, advocacy, industry engagement and industry training and capacity building aimed at increasing housing outcomes for very low to moderate income households in Melbourne. Through this project, her work is focused on creating research-industry collaborations and directly influencing government policy.

Prior to becoming an academic, Kate worked in digital communications and community engagement companies using 3D modelling and online communication tools to support large-scale infrastructure projects

Kate’s presentation will begin with a discussion of the importance of translating research to policy and practice – both for professional reasons and to avoid existential crises. It will then briefly canvas some of the literature on barriers to research-to-practice translation and the awkward role of ECRs in this area.  Kate will then focus on her own work with the action research group, Transforming Housing, to share some of the success stories and lessons learned from an explicitly advocacy-based research project.

About Melanie…

Dr Melanie Lowe is a lecturer in public health at the Australian Catholic University, Melbourne. Her research spans the urban planning and public health fields, examining how to plan healthy and liveable urban environments. She works collaboratively with multidisciplinary teams of researchers and policymakers to strengthen the consideration of health in urban policy and planning. From 2014-15 she was a founding National Co-chair of the Australasian Early Career Urban Research Network.

Dr Lowe will explore how to strengthen the translation of research into urban planning policy and practice, with a focus on planning healthy and liveable communities. She will outline evidence on research- and practice-side barriers and enablers of research translation and explore how policy frameworks can assist researchers to understand policymaking processes, and better tailor research translation strategies to the political and policy context. She will use illustrative examples from her own experience of research translation and conducting policy-relevant research.

ECOCITY World Summit Conference, 12-14th July 2017


It is the start of another year and AECURN is very much looking forward to getting involved in some of the key urban research conferences happening across Australasia. First up, we have the ECOCITY World Summit Conference to be held in Melbourne from July 12 – 14 2017. This conference will address a number of unprecedented ecological, economic and social challenges and opportunities facing the world’s cities. It will bring together scholars and practitioners from across the world to discuss these issues together and there is already strong support for the conference from a range of international associations and Australian governmental organisations.

The conference offers a fantastic network opportunity for ECRs and PhD candidates researching the urban disciplines and who are looking to engage with scholars and practitioners. AECURN is currently discussing what it can do for it’s members at this conference- so please stay tuned for event details. Updates will be posted on this website, as well as AECURN’s social media sites (FB and twitter).

Please consider submitting papers and/or presentations for consideration through the website call for contributions that is closing this week on Friday 17th February 2017. Early bird savings are also available now. Student fees are also available for full time students only, however there is a limited number of student registrations so please book early!

For additional information please visit the Summit website – or contact




Upcoming Event: AECURN QLD 8th April

Hi QLD AECURN members!

We thought it would be good to arrange a get together for Queensland AECURN members, both for a bit of networking but also to canvas some ideas of what you, the members, would like the State Chairs to organise over the next year. We’ve got a few ideas to get feedback on, but it is better if the ideas come from you.

Date: Friday 8th April 2016
Venue: The Ship Inn, Southbank (we’ve booked a corner of the outside area)

Time: From 5pm
RSVP to (so we can get an idea for numbers)

The Ship Inn is at the Griffith University end of Southbank, close to Southbank station (buses and trains), Mater HIll station (buses) and Southbank Ferry terminal.

Hopefully this makes it fairly easy for everyone – although I know that those on the Gold and Sunshine Coasts (and further afield) always have a challenge.
We’ll make sure there’s a sign up so you can find us easily.
We hope to see you there!

Ed and Nigel
Queensland Co-chairs

P.S. Non-Queensland people who happen to be in Brisbane that day are of course more than welcome too.

Upcoming Event: WA Lecture 8th April 2016

Topics covered: 
– Forming a research team
 – Securing funding
–  Creating space and time for collaborations
– Making a difference!
8 APRIL 4:00 PM
Webb Lecture Theatre, Geography/Geology Building 225
University of Western Australia
(Networking drinks to follow)
To RSVP and for further information contact:
This event is co-sponsored by DEEtalks, School of Earth and Environment, UWA
Professor Petra Tschakert is a leading academic on climate change adaptation research. Her work engages multiple actors, from international agencies to local communities, in finding innovative ways to approach the complex challenges posed by climate change. Prof. Tschakert is the Centenary Professor of Rural Development in the School of Earth and Environment and
School of Agricultural and Resource Economics, at UWA. She was Coordinating Lead Author of the Fifth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC 2014).

Call for Nominations for the AECURN Board 2016-17

AECURN is calling for nominations for the 2016-17 Board, which will be elected at AECURN’s AGM on Thursday 10th December, 5:00pm (Room TBC),  Being an AECURN Board member is a terrific opportunity to build your network across Australia, New Zealand and internationally (through our connections with other ECR groups in America and Europe), and is also a great service to our discipline and the future of urban research. Current Board members are welcome to renominate, and we also strongly encourage new people to consider joining the Board. Many of the positions can be shared between two or more people, to spread the work-load and encourage involvement. Nominations are being sought for the following positions (see attached Position Descriptions for further details):
  • National Chairs (3 positions)
  • State Chair(s) (at least one for each Australian state and New Zealand)
  • Treasurer(s)
  • Secretary/Secretaries
  • Social coordinator(s)
  • Website administrator(s)
  • Newsletter coordinator(s)
To nominate, please send an email to, stating:
  • Your name
  • Institution and role (e.g. PhD student, research fellow, lecturer etc.)
  • The position(s) you wish to nominate for
  • Three to five sentences on why you would like to sit on the AECURN Board
The deadline for nominations is Friday November 27th 2015.

Upcoming event: AECURN SA

Navigating the ECR experience: tales from those who have been there. 

Whether your research relates to housing or heat islands, transport or tourism, planning history, sustainable futures or anything else ‘urban’, come along and meet other PhD and early career researchers.

This event is an opportunity to talk with urban researchers who have recently negotiated the ECR path and found their own foothold in the academic environment.

How did they do it? What tips will they share? 


Hans Pieters, PhD Flinders, UniSA Planning

Julie Nichols, PhD UofA, UniSA Architecture

Host / MC:

Anna Leditschke, PhD Scholar

When? Tuesday October 13th 2015 from 5.30

Where? West Bar 58 North Terrace (UniSA City West Campus)

RSVP via facebook event invitation or email

AECURN SA – In Conversation with Hans and Julie

Australasian Early Career Urban Research Network