Statement from the Vice-Chancellor on current academic discussions

Informal discussions have been taking place among groups of Flinders researchers about the potential for collaboration with the Copenhagen Consensus Centre and this has attracted some attention in the media and the wider community.

Let me say at the outset that Flinders has not formed a position. The discussions within our academic community have been across a range of relevant disciplines and have included the relative merits or otherwise of any such engagement. Such discussions are entirely appropriate in the context of our University.

We have in turn sought information from the federal government, to inform those conversations across the university community.

Debate will no doubt be vigorous – I believe our staff will rigorously assess the facts of this matter, independent of the many motivations that could cloud this issue.

Flinders has a strong record in a number of research areas relevant to the discussion about a potential collaboration.

If a group of academic staff within the University were to propose to pursue this particular opportunity to engage with the CCC, we expect it would be with the intention to build on already active programs of engagement with the issues that could be investigated.

Underpinning this is the notion of academic freedom being applied to seek solutions to some of the big issues of our time.

One of the roles of a university is to encourage the pursuit of policy excellence and innovation.

As Vice-Chancellor I am entirely comfortable that these discussions should be taking place. I encourage staff and students to have their say.

Our founding Vice-Chancellor, Professor Peter Karmel, once said that Flinders University “should experiment and experiment bravely”. This is a philosophy of which the University can be rightly proud as it encourages us to tackle some of the world’s most difficult problems. This is precisely what universities should do.

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