Bell School wins more than $835,000 in ARC funding

Bell School wins more than $835,000 in ARC funding

30 October 2015

Academics based at the Coral Bell School of Asia Pacific Affairs at The Australian National University (ANU), have won more than $835,000 for four projects in the latest Australian Research Council (ARC) funding round.

Announced by Education Minister the Hon Simon Birmingham, the Bell School won one Discovery Early Career Research Award (DECRA) and funding to three Discovery Projects.

The success of the School in attracting competitive research funding to projects reinforces its high-calibre researchers, and relevance of its projects in dealing with solutions to real world issues, crises and questions.

The breadth of the projects highlight the Bell School’s excellence as a world-leading centre for research, education, and policy analysis in the international, political, societal, diplomatic and strategic affairs of Asia and the Pacific.


Nick Cheeseman, research fellow at the Department of Political & Social Change, who won a DECRA for his project on the role of torture in Asian societies.

This project aims to explore how torture occurs in Asian countries of political, economic and strategic importance to Australia. Torture is by many accounts routine practice for police and security forces across Asia. How is torture possible? What role is it playing? By documenting where, when and how torture occurs, this project aims to determine what torture constitutes and analyses the politics that enable it. It is anticipated that information from the project could be used to develop effective interventions to address torture. The project also anticipates contributing to policy-oriented debate on whether torture can be eliminated, or merely suppressed.

Joan Beaumont, professor at the Strategic and Defence Studies Centre, who won a Discovery Grant from her project on Australia and the Great Depression.

This project aims to produce an innovative history of the Great Depression by examining how Australian responses to this crisis were shaped by the earlier traumatic experience of World War One. In both crises the structures of Australian society remained intact, despite great social distress and political upheaval. It remains an unanswered question as to why this was so. Addressing this question, the project intends to increase understanding of the impact of war on Australians and the sources of the resilience of Australian political and social structures. The project's outputs will be designed to reach a wide public readership.

Luke Glanville, fellow at the Department of International Relations, who won a Discovery Grant for his project on the history of states protecting people beyond their borders.

What, if anything, do states owe to vulnerable people beyond their borders, be they seeking asylum, needing humanitarian assistance, or requiring protection from mass atrocities? This project plans to take a historical approach to answering this question. There is a long and rich history of thinking about duties to vulnerable strangers and foreigners, but the contemporary literature on global justice and the ‘responsibility to protect’ is largely blind to it. The project aims to redress this by producing a history of the idea that states have duties to assist and protect those beyond their borders from mass suffering. It then aims to examine how this history can inform our understanding of present-day debates and dilemmas.

Joanne Wallis, senior lecturer at the Strategic and Defence Studies Centre, who won a Discovery Grant for her project on hybrid approaches to stability and order building in Melanesia.

Australia is engaged in programs that draw upon local socio-political practices and institutions to assist its efforts to stabilise and build states in Melanesia, referred to as a ‘hybridity’ approach. Australia has successfully restored stability in its immediate region, Melanesia, but its attempts to build stable liberal democracies have had modest results. This project will advance policy understandings to improve the efficacy of Australia’s state-building efforts and promote social cohesion and stability in our neighbourhood. This will potentially encourage local self-reliance in Melanesia, reducing dependence on Australia’s development assistance.

This funding contributes to the overall ANU success in the latest ARC funding round, with more than $44 million for 83 projects, representing more than any other Australian university.

Read more information on the ARC funding received by ANU.

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