UWA Public Policy Institute

Providing informed leadership by maximising the policy impact of UWA research in Western Australia, Australia and the Indian Ocean region 


UWA Public Policy Institute logo

The UWA Public Policy Institute (UWA PPI) is a bridge between academic research and government, public and business needs, delivering real-world policy impact at state, national and regional levels.

Drawing on UWA’s distinct geographical advantage as Australia’s Indian Ocean capital city, and by championing an evidence-based approach to policy-making, we also create fresh opportunities for UWA to collaborate with countries across the region.


What we do

  • Run a dynamic public events program
  • Produce and disseminate reports
  • Provide expertise to policymakers
  • Organise private roundtable discussions

People working together around a table


Public events program

Our events span a range of diverse and provocative topics, including mental health, environmental protection, and Aboriginal cultural heritage. Members of the community are warmly welcomed to attend, actively participate, and contribute to discussions.

Upcoming events

Coastal Futures: Planning and Adaptation in a Changing Climate

Albany coastWe're hitting the road to speak with regional south-west WA community about the climate change impact on coastlines, small regional economies and vulnerable communities.

This two-day series of events is organised in collaboration with the UWA Oceans Institute and the UWA Wave Energy Research Centre.

Members of the public are invited to register for the public event below.


Private Session | Aspects & Updates in Coastal Futures

Monday 21 June – 12.30 to 5.00 pm
Kalyenup Studio, Albany Entertainment Centre

This invitation-only session for key regional stakeholders will feature talks by and engagement with experts from coastal impacts, environmental protection and policy, renewable energy, regional development and planning, as they relate to coastal communities.

Our expert presenters include:

  • Professor Christophe Gaudin, Head of the UWA Oceans Graduate School and Director of the Wave Energy Research Centre
  • Professor Fiona Haslam McKenzie, Co-Director of the UWA Centre for Regional Development and Board Member of the WA Environmental Protection Authority
  • Cheryle James-Wallace, Regional Officer of the Wagyl Kaip Southern Noongar, South West Aboriginal Land & Sea Council
  • Professor Ryan Lowe, Program Lead in ARC Centre of Excellence in Coral Reef Studies and Wave Energy Research Centre
  • Dr Karen Paiva Henrique, Postdoctoral Research Associate in the Department of Geography and Planning at UWA


Public Event | Coastal Futures – Planning and Adaptation in a Changing Climate

Monday 21 June – 5.00 pm to 7.00 pm
Kalyenup Studio, Albany Entertainment Centre
Book tickets.

Keynote + Q&A | Weather Patterns in Coastal Futures
Our keynote speaker is Dr Nick D'Adamo, Officer in Charge of the Perth Programme Office of the UNESCO Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission. His expertise in meteorology will put rising sea and air temperatures, and associated weather patterns, in the context of regionally relevant applications such as agriculture and coastal protection.
Informal Break-Out Time | Community Interaction
Following the keynote, the community will have the opportunity to directly interact with the experts from both sessions. We will be picking up key discussion points from the stakeholders and invite community input into concerns and ideas. How should Albany and the region prepare and adapt to our changing world? Grand challenges need creativity, consideration and collaboration at all levels. Bring your concerns and ideas to the table, and join our experts as we discuss big questions for the Great Southern region.


Seminar and Field Trip | A Regional Perspective

Tuesday 22 June – 8.30 am to 12.30 pm
UWA Great Southern Marine Research Facility, 55 Proudlove Parade

This invitation-only early morning seminar will offer 'A Regional Perspective' of Coastal Futures. The seminar will be followed by an optional field trip to the Albany Wind Farm and Torndirrup National Park. Professors Christophe Gaudin, Ryan Lowe and Stephen Hopper will lead discussions on renewable energy, coastlines and important cultural and biodiversity values of the region.


Logos for UWA Public Policy Institute, Oceans Institute and Wave Energy Research Centre



Going Further, Faster cover

Going Further, Faster –
A Policy Agenda for WA 2021 

This report, published at the start of a new parliament, contains timely, evidence-based ideas and practical proposals to meet many of the most pressing current and emerging challenges for WA. 



The Preparedness Report - Climate change and the challenges facing universities and professions

This publication brings together 10 contributions from leading researchers and practitioners that look at the implications of climate change for academic disciplines and professional bodies: their responses to, as well as their responsibility to adapt in the face of its challenges. 


View all publications

Advisory Board

Our Advisory Board is comprised of state, national, regional and international leaders.
Professor Stephen Smith, Chair of Advisory Board

Stephen SmithProfessor Smith was Federal Member for Perth for the Australian Labor Party from March 1993 until September 2013. In a distinguished career spanning 20 years in the Australian Federal Parliament, Professor Smith served as the Minister for Defence, and prior to that, as Minister for Foreign Affairs.

In opposition, Professor Smith held a range of Shadow Ministerial positions including Shadow Minister for Trade, Shadow Minister for Resources and Energy, Shadow Minister for Communications, Shadow Minister for Health, Shadow Minister for Immigration, Shadow Minister for Industry, Infrastructure and Industrial Relations and Shadow Minister for Education and Training.

Professor Stephen Smith has been a Professor of Public International Law at the University of Western Australia since 2014.

Following upon his retirement from the Australian Parliament in 2013, until recently Professor Smith was a member of the EY (Ernst and Young) Oceania Government and Public Sector Advisory Board (2014 - 2017) and Chair of the Asia Desk of Perth Law firm Lavan (2014 – 2017). He was on the Board of Hockey Australia from November 2013 to November 2016.

Professor Smith is currently the Chairman of archTIS, a Member of the Board of LNG Marine Fuel Institute, and a member of the Board of the Perth USAsia Centre.

Professor Dewi Fortuna Anwar

Dewi Fortuna AnwarDewi Fortuna Anwar straddles the world of academia, political activism and government. She is a research professor at the Center for Political Studies-Indonesian Institute of Sciences (P2P-LIPI), and Vice Chairman of the Board of Directors of The Habibie Center (THC) in Jakarta.

Dewi was the Kippenberger Visiting Chair at the Centre for Strategic Studies, Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand from 1 October to 30 November, 2018 and a Distinguished Visiting Professor at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS), Nanyang Technological University, Singapore from 1 August 2017 to 31 July 2018.

From 2010 to 2017, Dewi served as a Deputy Secretary to the Vice President of the Republic of Indonesia (For Political Affairs, October 2010-May 2015; For Government Policy Support, May 2010-February 2017).

She has written widely on Indonesia’s democratisation, foreign policy, as well as on ASEAN regional political and security issues. Dewi sits and has sat in a number of national and international advisory boards. She is currently a member of the Governing Board of the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) and a Board Member of Shift Project based in New York.

Dewi obtained her PhD from Monash University, Melbourne, while her MA and BA (Hons) were from the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London.

The Honourable Colin Barnett

Hon. Colin BarnettHon. Colin Barnett is the former Premier of Western Australia (September 2008 to March 2017) and former member for Cottesloe. He was elected to the Western Australian Legislative Assembly for the seat of Cottesloe in 1990.

Mr Barnett has also served as the State’s Treasurer, as well as holding various other portfolios in Western Australia’s cabinet. Prior to entering politics, he lectured in economics at the Western Australian Institute of Technology and served as an executive director of the Western Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry. Mr Barnett holds an economics degree from The University of Western Australia.

Professor Gordon Flake

Professor Gordon FlakeProfessor Gordon Flake is the founding CEO of the Perth USAsia Centre at The University of Western Australia.

Professor Flake has built an internationally recognised profile over 25 years in think-tank expertise and leadership in Washington DC. He relocated to Perth in 2014 to establish the Centre and build a broader world-class Indo-Pacific strategic community. 

Prior to joining the Centre, Professor Flake was the Executive Director of the Maureen and Mike Mansfield Foundation, a Senior Fellow and Associate Director of the Program on Conflict Resolution at The Atlantic Council of the United States and, prior to that, Director for Research and Academic Affairs at the Korea Economic Institute of America. 

Professor Flake is one of Australia’s leading authorities on the Indo-Pacific, with a particular specialisation on Korea having spent nearly three decades focused on the Korean Peninsula and Northeast Asia. Professor Flake has edited several volumes and authored numerous chapters on developments in the region.

Professor Flake holds a number of strategic leadership roles, including currently serving on the United States Studies Centre Board, the UWA Oceans Institute Advisory Board and as Fellow of the College at St Catherine’s College at UWA. He has previously served on the Board of the United States Committee of the Council for Security Cooperation in the Asia-Pacific (USCSCAP) as co-Vice Chair of the Board of the US Committee for Human Rights in North Korea, on the Advisory Council on the Korea Economic Institute of America, and on the International Advisory Board of the David M. Kennedy Centre at Brigham Young University. 

He received his BA degree in Korean with a minor in international relations from Brigham Young University (BYU) in Provo, Utah. He completed his MA at the David M. Kennedy Centre for International and Area Studies, also at BYU. He speaks both fluent Korean and Laotian.

Winthrop Professor Carmen Lawrence

Winthrop Professor Carmen LawrenceAfter training as a research psychologist at The University of Western Australia and lecturing at a number of Australian universities, Dr Lawrence entered politics in 1986, serving at both state and federal levels for 21 years.

She was, at various times, WA Minister for Education and Aboriginal Affairs and was the first female premier and treasurer of a state government. Dr Lawrence shifted to federal politics in 1994 when she was elected as the Member for Fremantle and was appointed Minister for Health and Human Services, and Minister assisting the Prime Minister on the Status of Women. She held various portfolios in Opposition, including Indigenous Affairs, Environment, Industry and Innovation, and was elected national President of the Labor Party in 2004.

Dr Lawrence retired from politics in 2007 and is now Professor Emerita in the School of Psychological Science at UWA and President of the Conservation Council of WA.

Ms Jennifer Lawrence

Ms Jennifer LawrenceJennifer Lawrence was appointed CEO of Brightwater Care Group (Brightwater) in 2016 and is a strong advocate for change and innovation in the aged care and disability care sectors. She joined the organisation in 2003 as General Manager, Care Operations and most recently held the position of General Manager, Disability, Research and Risk.

Prior to moving to Brightwater, Jennifer held a number of executive roles in the private pathology industry, both in Perth and interstate.

With a strong focus on innovation and technology, and considerable strategic development and management experience, Jennifer also has a strong clinical background in medical science.

During her time at Brightwater, Jennifer has been responsible for overseeing the building of new aged care infrastructure and a $20 million redevelopment of the Oats Street rehabilitation service site. She also established the Brightwater Research Centre and has published and presented research internationally.

Jennifer is a graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors and a member of the Australian College of Health Service Management.

Mr Shivshankar Menon

Mr Shivshankar MenonAmbassador Shivshankar Menon is currently a Visiting Professor at Ashoka University, India; Chairman, Advisory Board, Institute of Chinese Studies, New Delhi; Distinguished Fellow of Brookings India; Distinguished Visiting Research Fellow at the National University of Singapore; Member, Board of Trustees, International Crisis Group; and a Distinguished Fellow, Asia Society Policy Institute, New York.

He was previously National Security Advisor to the Prime Minister of India, January 2010 to May 2014; Foreign Secretary of India, October 2006 to July 2009; and has served as the Indian Ambassador or High Commissioner to China, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Israel.

In 2016 he published Choices; Inside the Making of Indian Foreign Policy (Brookings & Penguin Random House, 2016).

He has been a Fisher Family Fellow at the Kennedy School, Harvard University, 2015 and Richard Wilhelm Fellow at MIT in 2015. He was chosen one of the Top 100 Global Thinkers by Foreign Policy magazine in 2010.

Dr Marty Natalegawa

Dr Marty NatalegawaDr Marty Natalegawa served as Foreign Minister of Indonesia from 2009 to 2014. He is the author of Does ASEAN Matter? A view from Within (ISEAS Publishing, 2018).

He, inter alia, is serving as a member of the UN Secretary-General’s High Level Advisory Board on Mediation; ASPI Distinguished Fellow; the International Academic Advisory Committee of the Oxford Centre for Islamic Studies; the Southeast Asia Advisory Board of the CSIS, Washington, DC; International Crisis Group Board of Trustees; Prominent Research Scholar of the Bank of Indonesia Institute and Global Advisory Committee of the Jeju Forum.

He served in the UN Secretary-General’s High Level Panel on Global Response to Health Crises and UN President of the General Assembly’s Team of External Advisors.

He was Permanent Representative of Indonesia to the UN (2007–2009); Ambassador to the UK and also to Ireland (2005–2007);  and Indonesia’s Director General for ASEAN Cooperation.

He has been cited as “one of the most respected foreign policy and international security thinkers of his generation, both within Indonesia, in Southeast Asia, and in the broader Asia-Pacific region”.

Dr Natalegawa earned a DPhil from ANU, an MPhil from University of Cambridge, and a BSc (Hons) from the London School of Economics and Political Science.

Mr David Norman

Mr David NormanDavid Norman is Senior Policy Advisor to the Vice-Chancellor at the University of Western Australia.

In 2018, with the Hon Stephen Smith, he created UWA Public Policy Institute, which works to increase the translation of UWA research into evidence-based policy, and to increase the impact of UWA’s work in Australia, the Indian Ocean Region and the Indo-Pacific. David has worked in public and private higher education in Australia, the UK, Japan and Spain, and in government in the UK.

Ms Maria Osman

Maria OsmanMaria Osman M.Ed GAICD has over 30 years’ experience as a senior policy adviser on the intersections of gender equality, multiculturalism and human rights. She has worked in the government, community and university sectors as an advocate, policy adviser and strategist, speaker and mentor.

Maria has held a diverse range of senior State government positions including Executive Director, Office for Women’s Policy,  Executive Director, Office of Multicultural Interests and A/Executive Director, Community Building and Services in the Department for Local Government and Communities. In 2015 she was an official delegate to the United Nations 59th Commission on the Status of Women.

Maria currently serves on multiple national, state and community boards and committees including, Chair of the Humanitarian Group; the National Harmony Alliance for Migrant and Refugee Women; the Minister for Citizenship and Multicultural Interests Advisory Board: The Premier’s Supporting Communities Forum; the National Education Toolkit for FGM/C Awareness Project, and the Somali Women’s Association.

Professor Mamokgethi Phakeng

Professor Mamokgethi PhakengMamokgethi Phakeng (formerly Setati) began her term of office as Vice-Chancellor of the University of Cape Town on 1 July 2018, where she had been serving as Deputy Vice-Chancellor for Research and Internationalisation since January 2017. Prior to this appointment she served as Vice Principal for Research and Innovation at the University of South Africa (Unisa) for five years, after serving three years as Executive Dean of the College of Science, Engineering and Technology at the same university.

She holds a PhD in Mathematics Education from the University of the Witwatersrand and is a highly regarded B1 NRF-rated scientist with more than 60 research papers and five edited volumes published. She has been invited to deliver over 40 keynote/plenary talks at international conferences, and as a visiting professor in universities around the world.

She has won numerous awards for her research and community work, including the Order of the Baobab (Silver) conferred on her by the President of South Africa in April 2016. In August 2014 CEO magazine named her the most influential woman academic in Africa and in August 2016 she was awarded the prestigious Businesswoman of the Year Award in the education category.

Kgethi, as she is popularly known, is member of the board of the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls (OWLAG), trustee of the FirstRand Foundation and a member of the Board of the Dramatic, Artistic and Literary Rights Organisation (DALRO). In 2016 she was appointed by the then Deputy President of South Africa, Cyril Ramaphosa, to chair the Human Resource Development Council standing committee on Mathematics and Science Education.

Kgethi is founder of the Adopt-a-learner Foundation, a non-profit organisation that started in 2004 and provides financial and educational support to students from township and rural areas to acquire higher education qualifications.

Professor Shamit Saggar

Professor Shamit SaggarShamit Saggar is the Director of the Public Policy Institute and Professor of Public Policy at The University of Western Australia. He is also Visiting Professor at the Policy Institute, King’s College, London.

He was previously Senior Policy Advisor to the Prime Minister in the UK Cabinet Office; Associate Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Research) at the University of Essex; Harkness Fellow at UCLA; Yale World Fellow at Yale University; and Visiting Professor of Public Policy at the University of Toronto.

He is a Fellow of Academy of Social Sciences, former Chair of the Campaign for Social Science, and was awarded a CBE in 2017 for services to social science and public policy.

He takes an active part in public leadership roles at board level, spanning the Financial Services Authority, Solicitors Regulation Authority, Law Society of England & Wales, British Future, National Asylum Commission, Better Regulation Commission, National Consumer Council, Whittington Hospital Trust, Peabody Trust, Accountancy Foundation, Institute for Citizenship, Foreign Policy Centre, RSA Migration Commission and UPP Group Holdings Ltd.

He has also held advisory roles with Unbound Philanthropy, Demos, Policy Exchange, Institute for Public Policy Research, Policy Network and Fabian Society, and served as Special Advisor to the Commonwealth Secretariat and the House of Commons Speaker’s Conference on Parliamentary Representation.

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