UNSW Canberra Cyber collaborates on social science project

2.12.19

Academics from UNSW Canberra Cyber were a central part of a project providing an Australian academics perspective on a United States Survey that delves into the social and behavioural sciences and how targeted research in this area will strengthen intelligence assessments.

In March 2019, the United States National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine released a report entitled A Decadal Survey of the Social and Behavioral Sciences: A Research Agenda for Advancing Intelligence Analysis (the Survey).

In response, the Academy of the Social Sciences in Australia has been commissioned by the Australian Government’s Office of National Intelligence (ONI), on behalf of the National Intelligence Community (NIC), to provide an Australian perspective, with a particular focus on its 10-year vision, and to examine the capacity of the Australian social science research community to offer insights in relation to this agenda for its own national intelligence sector.

An Expert Working Group engaged more than thirty experts from intelligence studies, cyber security and broader social sciences disciplines.

A workshop was held on October 29 comprising ten Australian intelligence agencies to present the findings from the ASSA study. The findings suggest that social science understandings can add value to making good sense of the security environment.

It further argues that Australia has distinctive comparative advantages in social science, through global excellence, as well as those relating to the region in which we live.

Finally, it provided four key recommendations for facilitating better mutual understanding and engagement as between official agencies and independent research scholarship in these fields.

The workshop has created a strong basis for ongoing work on social cyber through structured liaison between the national intelligence community and the Australian social science research community.

Interested UNSW cyber and social science researchers should contact Glenn Withers or Greg Austin if they would wish to be involved with the ONI and ASSA follow up. Cyber issues were specifically identified as involved in four of the six core concerns for future social science insight for the intelligence community.

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