Who we are
Established in 1996 and funded in partnership by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) and ANU, DPA is the leading international centre for applied multidisciplinary research and analysis concerning contemporary state, society and governance issues in Melanesia and the broader Pacific. Situated within the Coral Bell School of Asia Pacific Affairs, DPA seeks to set the international standard for scholarship on the region.
In 2018, 22 years since its inception, DPA comprises over 60 research active scholars, with a staffing profile of 21 academics, bolstered by 15 emeriti or honorary appointees and 26 PhD scholars. DPA’s strengths lie in its critical mass of expertise and knowledge, the applied and long-term nature of its research, its extensive engagement with policy communities in the region, its demonstrated commitment to research training and research capacity building, and its position within a leading international university.
The Pacific Research Program
DPA is a member of the Pacific Research Program (PRP). The PRP, launched on 1 October 2017, is a consortium led by DPA and including the ANU’s Development Policy Centre and the Lowy Institute. Co-funded by DFAT and the consortium partners’ parent bodies, the PRP is a four-year program designed to be a globally pre-eminent centre of excellence for research on the Pacific that:
- Produces high-quality policy relevant research that is available, accessible and communicated to policy makers and program designers in Australia, the Pacific and from around the world;
- Plays a central role in fostering and facilitating a strong and vibrant Pacific-Australia-New Zealand-wide network of research on the Pacific;
- Is connected to Australia’s broader engagement with the Pacific and fosters a greater knowledge and understanding of the Pacific among the Australian community;
- Demonstrates a high degree of effectiveness in contributing to evidence-based policy-making and program design primarily in Australia and also the Pacific and around the world.
The geographic scope of the PRP is the Pacific region as a whole, though Melanesia is an area of particular interest in line with Australia’s geographic location and national interests. The sectoral focus of the PRP is on the intersection of politics, economy and power in relation to the region’s most pressing development challenges.
In collaboration with its consortium partners, DPA is leading the PRP’s research on Politics and Nature of the State; Geopolitics and Regionalism; Security, Stability and Resilience; and Gender, Social Change and Inclusion. DPA scholars are also contributing directly to research on Economic Development in the Pacific, led by Development Policy Centre.