Deputy Secretary of the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet, Dr David Gruen, has launched a new ANU bureau for economic policy research in the Asia Pacific region, announcing a commitment to fund the project for 10 years.
The Asian Bureau of Economic Research (ABER) will work with 45 partner organisations from countries across Asia on economic policy issues facing the region.
Dr Gruen said the project comes at a key time for Australia.
“There is greater uncertainty in the global economy than in almost everybody’s living memory,” Dr Gruen said.
“Asia has been at the centre of global economic growth and dynamism but the headwinds are strong.
“Australia needs to deploy all networks, associations and linkages to maximise the influence and opportunities that we now need in the region.”
Dr Gruen drew attention to one of ABER’s first major research projects released last week, the Chinese Investment in Australia (CHIIA) Database.
CHIIA is a joint project between ABER and the Australian Treasury and is the first comprehensive public database tracking Chinese commercial investment in Australia.
Dr Gruen said CHIIA serves as a strong example of a collaborative project between ANU researchers and government agencies, one he hopes to see more of. He also praised the work of project leaders Emeritus Professor Peter Drysdale and Dr Shiro Armstrong.
“We in the government value this systematic collaboration and close interaction with the university community,” he said.
“We are trying to build more ways to interact systematically with ANU and researchers nationally and as usual Peter is leading by example.
“The 10-year project is funded through DFAT with an initial $3.9 million grant over five years.
“DFAT’s central role in this is important for its success and DFAT has opened the project up to broader Australian government input into helping shape the medium-term research priorities.”
ABER was launched at a public forum event at the ANU on Wednesday 24 October.